Dear Victims of Domestic Violence and the City of Oakland,
First, I am writing to Victims to let you know you are not alone and you are seen. I want to partner with you so people help you. Secondly, the City of Oakland, you should be more aware of the trauma that is not being seen because it is time to wake up and see the reality as well as take action to protect victims of Domestic Violence. If we stand up for what’s right in the community that will make our community feel safe and secure for everyone.
Based on the research, the public health issue that is being addressed is Domestic Violence because it can lead to mental, physical, and emotional harm to women. Thit can cause an increase in depression, creating traumatic scars, and suicide for the victim.
To begin, domestic violence can lead to Mental and emotional problems for victims.
Many women described doubting their sanity at times. Shaina is a survivor of domestic violence, who was interviewed by Healthtalk.org to share her experience to be aware of this issue. She states, ‘I felt like I was going crazy. …Because he made me believe I was crazy’(Healthtalk.org). This is saying that while in this situation of abuse she’s felt crazy or out of her mind because she might’ve been manipulated by the abuser that told her, she wasn’t worthy enough or to think that it was all her fault and she got herself into this situation. This leads to mental and emotional health problems because it can create fear and self-doubt that interferes with her daily life.
In addition, to mental and emotional health problems this can lead to another type of abuse; this is physical abuse. Physical abuse can leave traumatic scars, internal and external for the victim no matter what there will always be scars left behind, whether other people can see it or not. It will still be difficult to erase the pain that they have suffered. In this book “Safety And Security For Women” is about the health problems of women and the effects and impacts of women’s health. The Author, K.R. Mururgan, an expert about women’s health in India, says “women who have experienced physical or sexual violence by a partner at any time after age 15 are significantly more likely than other women to report overall poor health, chronic pain, memory loss, and problems walking and carrying out daily activities (Murugan).” This is explaining the conditions of physical abuse that turn very harsh for the victims health to move on with their life or basic activities because the abuser has taken the strength away from them. Also, this can be challenging for them because with scars and low strength they won’t be capable of finding themselves and recuperating their life. The feeling of weakness is your not able to feel anything in your body or feel soreness that tears them apart; can switch into suicidal thoughts. Finally, this can create “minor injuries such as scratches, bruises and swelling. More severe injury may occur if the abuse is frequent and harsh” (Meyer).
Above all, comes another serious concern. This conceren is that the victim develops depression that turns into a sadly way of ending the violence and abuse is Suicide. For victims when there is no other solution to prevent something harmful they can only think about self-harm or ending it instantly. From the health talk of women’s experiences of domestic violence, Stephanie explained, ‘…I feel quite ashamed about this actually, I did self-harm a couple of times as well, I have a scar on my wrist where I went at myself with a pair of scissors because I was just so upset with myself …for being in that situation and I wanted to hurt myself for it( Healthtalk.org ).”This is expressing hate and depression because Stephanie didn’t have the mindset to think about a solution that could be beneficial to her, rather she chooses to take the wrong path to hurt herself, not thinking or feeling the pain she is in physically. Only thinking about the abuse that she experienced that she has to take it on her own hands to do it herself and get rid of the pain that she has already been feeling for her lifetime. Suicide is a way of fully commiting to not being seen agian and wanting to be away from the abuser and not seeing that person ever again, This make them clueless, lost, and confused where the point of living is no choice. The pain will always get the best of them, they don’t want to wake up everyday being the same, so they have the thoughts of changing that with cuts and death. The oppressor is the main cause of a victim’s health problems and death. I realize why the tormentor can’t prevent what they are doing, that is causing damage to a person’s life, if this happened to a loved ones of theirs they wouldn’t be able to resist the anger because when someone they’re being put down they will want to help out getting them out of a unhealthy situation.
I created a survey to learn more about what the Oakland community thinks or have the knowledge on Domestic Violence. The total responses are 27 from my survey and most females took this survey and that surprised me, I thought there was going to be an equal amount between females and males. The health issue of Domestic Violence affects the community in many ways such as mentally, emotionally, physically, because these can lead to a serious situation that can lead to someone self-harming, attempting suicide and changing the mindset of a person, making them feel less of themself or nothing.
Domestic Violence affects the Oakland community because, we as a community, live together as neighbors, family, and friends, that come together and know that there are people that might be in danger. We should be a community that stands up for each other and prevents domestic violence. If we stand up together, we can have a greater opportunity to get together and decrease the rates of domestic violence and stop abusers. We should try our best to make this a safe, welcoming space. If we don’t do anything, people from other communities would think Oakland isn’t safe or just think that it’s not a community they would live in. We want people to recognize us for being resourceful and have empathy for everyone.
Figure 1: Is Domestic Violence a serious crime?
This graph shows that most surveyed people think that Domestic Violence is a serious crime that should be taken care of and letting me know that there should be an end to this. Also to know that this is serious and dangerous at the same time.To add on, most people think that Domestic Violence is a serious crime than the other 7.4% of people who don’t understand or aren’t sure if it is a crime or not.
This is significant because now we know that we have to inform the other portion of people in the green section to provide information or knowledge for them to know why Domestic Violence is a serious crime. With the information they’ll be able to understand and know why it’s’ considered a serious crime.
This argues that more people should be informed about Domestic Violence or have more resources for it because when people do have the knowledge of Domestic Violence being a serious crime they could be more aware of how dangerous it is in the community and that can help them be more cautious about their surroundings; you might not know if that person is in danger or not.
Figure 2: What will affect the victims the most, in this situation?
This graphs show that the victims going through Domestic Violence are more likely to experience all of the above rather than one abuse but being abused in many ways by the culprit.
This is important because not only being menatly abused but abused as, emotionally, and physically, that can be dangerous for the victim. Also, that can lead to health problems for them in their body, internal and external.
Figure 3: Why can’t the victims leave?
This bar graph is showing us many reasons on why the victims don’t leave the unhealthy environment of Domestic violence and be free at last.
This is important because now we have the community’s response and knowledge, to be informed on how to make a change in the system of working to manage keeping the victim safe.
Also, how to provide or approach the situation because it can put the victim in danger and find strategies to find a way to be in contact with them to be alarmed or cautious for their safety of the victim’s life or whether they’re putting themselves in harm.
Based on my survey data, it is clear that the community needs more data/facts about domestic violence and the word to be more spread out, so it can be talked about more because it’s not being talked so much that we as a community need to think of ideas to change and be aware of people’s safety.
Based on my research, I, as an upstander, organizer, and health advocate, will be able to improve the public health issue of Domestic Violence by organizing a rally, making an instagram account to spread awareness, and then build a foundation that’ll provide information and resources for the victim or for people that aren’t sure.
Aim #1 (Virtual)
My first aim will be to create an Instagram account that will only provide information, tips, quotes, real life experience, hotlines, anonymous calls or texts to interact virtually about any issues, and it will be effective because with these resources this will actually be able to help out someone to come out their shell and ask for help anonymously, that will make them feel secure to share issue or struggles about their life. This will make them feel like someone is there to listen, have empathy. Anonymous is secure for them or anyone because they aren’t pressured to share out their information, if they don’t feel comfortable.
The steps that I will take is to start by creating an instagram account first. Secondly, design it, make it humble, safe and sound for them to come and check it out, grabbing their attention to reach out and get the help they need. There would be no budget, only time and effort to make a difference.The information that I need from doctors, specialists, therapists, counselors, that can give me advice on what to say or share because I don’t want anyone to be offended or make the audience uncomfortable with what I share.
The obstacles that I expect is not gaining a large amount of followers that easily and that people would reach out for support.
Aim #2 ( If we weren’t in Shelter in Place)
My second aim is to organize a rally to spread awareness to the community to have a better understanding of why standing up for victims is acceptable because we are making sure that we have empathy for them and that we can make a change for the better in this society to expose the abusers to stop the abuse that impacts many people. These are the steps I would take.
First: Reach out to the school(Life Academy) to gather together. Second: make posters. Third: make a plan on where to begin and where we are going to stand(location). Finally: Get people’s attention and ask/answer any questions that people have in their mind.
The obstacles that I expect are not getting much attention from people and maybe being ignored. Also, not many people will join us.
Aim #3 (No Constraints)
The third aim is to build a foundation that will be a safe space for victims of Domestic Violence to release any emotions and to design rooms for victims so they don’t have to go back to the abuser. This foundation will provide counseling, therapists, and jobs so they can be motivated or have experience in the outside world because they might have been trapped inside as hostages in their own home. Also, food and medical needs that will be suitable for them to be healthy and physically active will be provided. I expect the obstacles to be not earning the amount of money that we need and not being able to get victims to come in and receive the help they want because they will probably be afraid to come or not be possible for them.
I will know that these aims worked successfully, when I have a victim tell me that this was life-changing and they have moved on from the past or left it behind. Also, if they are getting the help they want or need and if they are recuperating little by little. They will be taking huge steps to move on with their life or be safe on their own and not looking back at the negativity that’s been holding them back.
I will measure my success by managing my account and checking it every week to see the progress of it and to see if it is being shared or seen by people. For the rallies I will be attending because I could be the entrepreneur for the foundation to be more explicit on how this could be beneficial to not only the Oakland Community but others as well. The bigger, the better of an outcome for victims, so this will be useful to everyone.
To conclude, a multitude of victims of Domestic Violence are suffering from the worst experiences in their life that can’t be forgotten, hoping to get out and escape from the shadows of oppression and switch onto the side of liberation, freedom. Through this, they will find a lifestyle of strength again. If not one solution works we will move on to the next one to find the greatest solution of all to create an impact for victims to heal and get back up again to find themselves. We know we won’t get better in one day or a week. This will take years to cure but by then YOU will be able to fly away from the danger that won’t be following you anymore, disappearing through the winds as ashes crumbling up to pieces. Nowhere to be seen, You Are A Survivor! #VictimsFight #
Murugan, K. R. Safety and Security for Women. MJP Publishers, 2017.
“Women’s Experiences of Domestic Violence and Abuse.” Impact of Domestic Violence and Abuse on Women’s Mental Health, Healthtalk.org, 2019, healthtalk.org/womens-experiences-domestic-violence-and-abuse/impact-of-domestic-violence-and-abuse-on-womens-mental-health. Meyer, Cathy. “The Physical And Emotional Effects of Domestic Violence on Victims.” LiveAbout, LiveAbout, 14 July 2017, www.liveabout.com/the-physical-and-emotional-effects-of-domestic-violence-1102426.
Freedom, Liberty and The Constitution
When students go to school they do not expect to be in the line of danger or harm. Teacher’s obligation is to guard us as students. When someone invades the school, we should be prepared on how to act, and what protocol to follow. Here in Utah, public schools are allowing teachers to access certified training on how to operate a gun, and gun safety. Teachers are allowed to carry a gun on school property as long as it is stored in a safe location, and only accessible to them when nessecary.
Another question that has arisen is the concept of guns and gun control. There’s a difference between gun control and gun banning. Many left wing Democrats want guns to be banned 100% which is not plausible because our right to bear arms is a constitutional right. But many are asking for gun control. Which means that there are more rules set in place to protect people from the danger they may impose. Many people do not know that there are over 20,000 laws set in place already protecting people from gun danger. While there are still many laws, there is still room for improvement no doubt. But for someone to tell us that we need to ban guns is unconstitutional.
Why do people want net neutrality?
A big issue that involves all Americans with internet access is the issue over net neutrality. Net neutrality is the policy that makes all websites load and function at the same speed and allows access to any website. Since net neutrality became a thing in the early 2000’s many conflicts have occured regarding this issue.
I think net neutrality is an important aspect to basic American life. It lets individual people do what they want online with no interference from outside sources (unless it’s illegal). It’s an important part to our individual freedom and provides an example of what America should stand for, this being the protection of free speech and action.
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.
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.
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
Opinion on gun control
Youth Voices post 1
Why do people think that owning a gun is part of their freedom?
A major issue in modern America is the controversial topic of gun control. In recent years gun related violence has gone up and people are wanting more and more restrictions. It seems like gun control is a good idea that would benefit people but I personally disagree with it.
I believe it’s a good idea for people to own a weapon to protect themselves, others, and their freedom. For example if a family member is getting attacked and you have access to a firearm I think it’s a good thing to use that weapon to stop the attacker by hurting them or if necessary killing them. It’s cruel but it’s important to protect your loved ones. Also, as stated in the 2nd amendment to the Bill of Rights “A well-regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed”. This means that the right to bear arms is an important part to protect other rights in the instance where those rights are being violated or taken away. Many politicians nowadays want to take away firearms, the most prominent for me being democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke and his “mandatory buyback plan of high power firearms”. I really disagree with this as I believe it makes people vulnerable, especially in the instance where the United States government starts oppressing its people, which I think is happening right now.
Despite the protection a gun can offer how it’s used ultimately comes down to the person who uses it, but not everyone should have access to one. I think background checks are very important and I think that the more strict they are the better, but not so much so that few people have them. As stated it’s good to have one for your protection and to protect the people you care about or even someone in danger. However it’s never ok to use a gun, or any type of weapon, to attack innocent people. Whenever I hear about a shooting it disturbs me and I hate seeing how willing people are to kill random people. I also don’t like it because usually when this happens the weapon used is blamed rather than the person who used it. Guns and other weapons don’t kill people, people kill people. No matter what type a weapon is simply a piece of machinery and it doesn’t have sentience so it can’t decide what it does. I think this ideology of blaming what’s used rather than the person who committed whatever crime is a big factor of political division in the United States. I think these debates also push an excuse to take guns from people who put them to good use and make people vulnerable.
In conclusion I think a gun is an important part of preserving your freedom and protecting people, but not everyone should use them. How one is used is up to the person and I believe there are both right ways (protection of self and others, recreational use such as hunting) and wrong ways (killing random people, using a gun in a hostage situation) to use one. As long as you meet the requirements to have one I think it’s a good idea to own a gun.
Land of the Free
American culture, values, and creeds are all have different meanings to Americans. They are what makes you different from someone else, but there are values that everybody feels are important, freedom and equality. The ideas of freedom and equality have been around in American history since the beginning of this country. Many of our founding articles have been focused around these two core values.
Freedom. Freedom can take many different shapes or forms, but to an American, freedom means that there is no limit to what you can do. Americans value their freedoms and that the government cannot take those freedoms away. This idea of individual rights and freedoms goes a long way back. Before America was even founded, the would-be-Americans had the concept of freedom. Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, “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). The colonists believed that their natural rights, rights that every human being should have, were being taken away. This concept of individual rights and freedoms helped create the land of the free, America. In current times, our freedoms are what defines America. We have the freedom to achieve our American dream, the freedom to do, say, write, and believe whatever we want to. That is what people looking from the outside see. They see their bright, shining futures in our personal freedoms.
In America, we are still struggling with the idea of equality. Many minorities do not feel that they are getting treated the same, or getting the same rights that other Americans are getting. Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is a very memorable speech. The most being when he states “ … that government of the people by the people for the people, shall not perish from the earth”(Lincoln, 1863). Lincoln wants a country that is for every American, and ran by every American. That meant, no matter where or who you were, you would have the same rights as everyone else. As time went on, our value of equality has taken a downward trend, but the civil rights movement, women’s suffrage movement, and very recently, the gay rights movement has brought up the notion of equality again. The civil rights movement, lead by Martin Luther King Jr., showed that equality should be for everyone. This idea that everyone should be equal, sparked the women’s suffrage movement, which led to many important changes in society. Both movements attempted to gain equal rights for everyone no matter their gender or race. The American value of equality is not only meant for Americans. Immigrants that come to America to escape their previous governments unjust and unequal treatment of certain minority groups (Binkowski). Even if you aren’t American on paper, the belief of equality surely does make you American.
Every American has the right to have different values, creeds, or culture, but that in it of itself is a core American value. To be able to believe in what you stand for is a part of freedom, and freedom is an important part of what makes someone feel genuinely American. Differing beliefs can lead to some disagreements between people, but everyone should have the right to be treated equally under the law no matter what gender, race, or religion you believe in. That is the basic concept of equality and how it is viewed by Americans. Being an American shouldn’t just be legal documents or social security numbers, it should be a feeling of being free from the shackles that bind you to a life of inequality and injustice. That’s what it means to be American.
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.
When the constitution was written, our Founding Fathers knew nothing of the change that was going to be brought by the next couple hundred years. America grew into a nation that was one of the first to protect the freedom of people around the world. And although there are many values and cultures that Americans share, our American Creed is to promote equality and freedom at home and around the world. This is supported by past government policies like the Monroe Doctrine, current events like the United Auto Worker Strike, and currently proposed policies like the Equality Act.
Named after President James Monroe, the Monroe Doctrine is “the best known U.S. policy toward the Western Hemisphere” (“Milestone Documents”). Also known as the Big Stick Ideology, the policy comes from President Monroe’s 1823 annual message to congress, where he warned the dominant European powers to not colonize developing nations in North and South America (“Milestone Documents”).
In 1865, the U.S. used the Monroe Doctrine to support Benito Juárez’s revolt against Emperor Maximillian, who was a puppet ruler installed by the French. The Monroe Doctrine was also subtly employed in the Cuban missile crisis when John F. Kennedy used the U.S. Navy and Air Force (along with negotiation) to intimidate the Soviets into backing out of Cuba (“Milestone Documents”). Although these events were in self-interest, both of them helped people in nations with corrupt, or foreign rulers, to gain more freedom, and experience less foreign intervention.
All over the nation, United Auto Worker (or UAW) members have been on strike at GM factories. They are striking for “wages, health care benefits, temporary workers, job security and profit sharing” (Stelloh et al). Temporary workers are being hired by GM to fill spots on short notice, but sometimes working for years with lower pay and worse benefits than a regular employee. This defeats the purpose of a “temporary” employee, and is a major reason why the strikes continue (Stelloh et al). But mostly, “This is about standing up for us, the families and the communities that are affected” (qtd in Stelloh et al). When fifty thousand workers band together for increased rights and opportunities, the nation benefits as a whole. This is a perfect example of our American Creed of equality in modern politics.
Passed by the House of Representatives in May of this year, the Equality Act is a civil rights amendment to other civil rights acts and laws that would make discrimination with respect to “the gender-related identity, appearance, mannerisms, or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, regardless of the individual’s designated sex at birth” (Bachman) illegal under the law. Until the Equality Act is passed by the Senate and the President, it is still completely legal to fire someone or deny them housing because they are gay, transgender, or even pregnant.
Currently, the bill is awaiting a vote in the Senate, but with our current Senate the bill will take a long time to be passed. Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, has decided not to vote on the bill, causing any bipartisan support to grind to a standstill (“The Equality Act Passed the House. Here’s What Happens Next”). However, the bill is still incredibly important for our equality and freedom as Americans, as it protects the rights of everyone regardless of their sexuality or gender.
Some may say that America has never been the freest country because of our past history of slavery, and civil rights transgressions, and to that I would agree. Only when seen through the lens of modernity has America become the paragon of protecting the equality and freedom of those at home and around the world.
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.
The Values of Parents and the Effects that those Values Have on Their Kids
The Values of Parents and the Effects that those Values Have on Their Kids
The book My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult touched base on the fact that the values of Americans can be very different among each individual. Picoult was able to convey this idea through the Fitzgerald family in her novel. In My Sister’s Keeper, Anna Fitzgerald realized that she is tired of being a donor for her sister Kate, who has Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia. She is sick of not having any control over what is done to her body and is ready to take back the rights to her own body. She decides to go to the lawyer, Campbell Alexander, and says to him “I want to sue [my parents] for the rights to my own body” (Picoult 19). Her parents are the ones who have forced her to be Kate’s stem cell, bone marrow, lymphocyte, etc. donor without ever asking her if she is okay with this. Sure they definitely had the right to assume that Anna would automatically agree to being Kate’s lifetime donor because it meant that her sister would be able to live. However, after so many surgeries and transfusions and what not, anyone would get tired of going through so much pain and seeing such little progress in the person that they are supposedly “saving.” By suing her parents, this was the first time in Anna’s entire life in which she decided that her life was more important to her than her sister’s. Regarding the question “What are American values?”, this novel addresses the fact that different parenting styles and values of parents can lead to varying effects on kids.
A common value of most American families is the idea of nurturement. Nurturing someone is when you give encouragement to someone and care for someone. It is the job of parents “to nurture their children and raise them to be nurturers of others” (Lakoff), and with the act of nourishing comes “two aspects: empathy and responsibility–both for yourself and your children” (Lakoff). In My Sister’s Keeper, the Fitzgerald parents did an excellent job of nurturing their sick and dying daughter, but failed to give any sort of nourishment to their other two kids, Jesse and Anna. Jesse and Anna were extremely affected by this. Jesse ended up getting involved in risky behaviors, such as drugs and alcohol, at a very young age, and Anna felt so invisible and unwanted her whole life that it led to a lawsuit against her own parents. What Anna and Jesse both have in common is that they learned at a very young age that they are much less of a priority to their parents compared to Kate. These kids’ parents put Kate so much higher on the totem pole that they failed to recognize that Kate’s illness was not only affecting her negatively but was also negatively affecting her brother and sister.
Along with a lack of nurturing from her parents, Anna exited the womb and immediately had some of her basic rights taken away from her. As soon as she was born, she was denied certain freedoms and equal rights that she should be guaranteed. She was denied her freedom by being required to be Kate’s donor at anytime for anything that she needed, and she was denied her equality when her parents took the rights of her body into their own hands as soon as she was born. Anna was refused the rights that she is supposed to be promised through the Declaration of Independence, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights” (U.S. 1776). These rights were partially absent in Anna’s life because of the values of her parents. They believed that a person should do whatever is needed and whatever is possible to save another person’s life. In an ideal world, this kind of thinking would make complete sense and would seem so loving and caring. In the end, this idea got to their heads and eventually spiraled out of control. Having Anna be Kate’s donor at her own consent is one thing, but having Anna be Kate’s donor from the second she came out of her mother and continue to be her donor throughout her life without ever having a choice or say in whether or not she wanted to go through such horrible pain is a whole other thing. Basic rights such as equality, freedom, and fairness are very important to almost all Americans. However, in the Fitzgerald family the importance and value of these rights were slightly off because of their unfortunate circumstances.
Throughout the novel My Sister’s Keeper, Jodi Picoult was able to successfully portray the differing values of the Fitzgerald parents. Making sure Kate stayed alive was their number one goal, and they did whatever they had to do to meet this goal. However, because of Kate’s life and health being at the top of their list of priorities, their other two kids, Anna and Jesse, were left in the dust to fend for themselves. This caused Jesse to get into drugs and alcohol and it caused Anna to sue her parents. The Fitzgerald’s had to adjust their values to fit their circumstances, but unfortunately doing that led to some major consequences. Overall, the values and parenting styles of every parent are guaranteed to have an affect on their children, whether it is a positive affect or a negative affect, like in the book My Sister’s Keeper.
Picoult, Jodi. My Sister’s Keeper. Simon & Schuster, 2003.
Each American has certain values that they live by. A person’s beliefs and values differ based on the situation they grew up in and their parents beliefs. Two values that I think are very important to most Americans would be freedom and equality.
Having freedom is very important to Americans. However, before the Constitution and certain laws were made, not everyone had the same freedoms. Our founding fathers decided to make it law because they knew how important freedom was, in the first amendment of the Constitution it says “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). This guaranteed rights and freedoms to people which were not available to them before.
Another value that is of high importance to Americans is equality. Equality has not been the same as it was when our country was just beginning. There was little to no equality for people of color and woman. For example, at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the three-fifths clause was created, which meant “African Americans as individuals are considered three-fifths of a person”(Article I, section 2, of the U.S. Constitution of 1787). As time has passed, equality for all has changed drastically. A prime example of equality would be in the Declaration of independence. It states “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” (Jefferson, para 2). This founding document of the United States holds Americans to the standard of treating all people equal to one another.
Freedom and equality are what makes America so different from other countries. Without these, our values would be much different. It is freedom and equality that let us base our different opinions and values off of.
“The Constitution of the United States,” Amendment 1.
Jefferson, Thomas. Declaration of Independence. Adams, John. Franklin, Benjamin.
“The Constitution of the United States 1787,” Article I, Section 2
American values can be different for many individuals. There are two in general that I believe every American cherishes the most— equality and freedom. Equality and freedom are two factors that allow a community of people of any race or religion to feel welcomed.
Freedom is a word that identifies America. Freedom allows individuals in this country to have the right to speak up or fight for what they think is right and not be punished. We as Americans try to “speak out when nations violate their citizens’ rights” (Gilpin 2). Freedom is the first amendment of one of the defining documents of America, The Bill Of Rights. It says in the document that Americans have the freedom to press, petition, religion, assembly, and speech. Having freedom as an American is very important.
Equality is another defining value of America. It holds a strong meaning and history for the American people. Americans believe in the statements everyone “‘is created equally’” and that everyone “ has the same rights” (International Student Guide). Everyone’s interpretation of equality is different and this could be because of past experiences. Equality is so important to Americans that there are “laws that protect this ‘ right to equality’ in its various forms” (International Student Guide).
American values are cherished and valued by every American. They have these values because they know they are kept secure by law. Equality and freedom are two values that people from around the world come to America for.
The “Land of the Free” Doesn’t Exactly Feel Like It
Americans are supposed to live in freedom, we toss our flags to the wind and shout it from our rooftops. But we sleep on the issues. We let all the unrest bubble and burn at the bottom of the pot. “There’s nothing we can do,” I’ve heard people whisper. “That’s just the way it is.” That’s not true. We are fighting and scratching and biting everyday for our right to live. If this is truly our country, if this is the place that crawled off of the battlefield at the end of the revolution shouting that we’re free, then we can always change something. We were built on freedom, but some don’t acknowledge that everyone deserves the right to be safe and happy. In other words, everyone deserves the right to be free. So what’s stopping them? Well, to put it simply, we are. Regrettably, the same things that made our country what it was are the things that are tearing us apart. Even though we’ve put some rules in place,we’re still not there.
The preamble of the Constitution starts with the words “We the people”. We the people. Not “We the able-bodied white straight Christian people who believe that we’re the superior race because we were told so by our parents and are clearly too naive to even question that.” No, it’s “We the people.” While not everyone who is able-bodied, white, straight, and Christian is like that, that’s still a thing we see coming to light in this recent day and age. If we truly want freedom, we need to accept that others are different. That some people aren’t white, and some people aren’t straight, and some people are Muslim, and some people are disabled.
There’s also freedom of religion. In the first amendment it’s stated “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” Some people believe that this is a Christian country, but that isn’t true. Muslims, Jews, Christians, and all the others are allowed to live in America.The first amendment clearly states it. Even if there was a religion that was focused around killing people or something, the people in that religion wouldn’t be arrested for their religion, they would be arrested for committing murder. Wars over religion shouldn’t be happening. It’s like if someone asks if your favorite color is blue, and you tell them that no, it’s red, and then they get mad at you and tell you that all people whose favorite color is red should have been killed off by Hitler in World War II. So yeah, freedom of religion is important if we don’t want half of the planet dying off because they don’t all believe in the same thing.
Our history shows that we’ve always wanted freedom. When we were on the brink of war with Britain after they imposed unfair taxes on us, Patrick Henry delivered the famous line “…give me liberty, or give me death!” This line then spurred the people to action to take our freedom from the British. What’s life if you’re not free? When Martin Luther King stood up for African American people across the nation, gaining all sorts of rights for them, they all had that beautiful taste of freedom. Three years ago, when gay marriage was legalized, people rejoiced because they were finally able to celebrate their love on paper, in a ceremony, surrounding by friends and family.
So with all of this, I believe that Americans believe in freedom. But many have a skewed idea of it. They think that owning guns with limited controls is freedom. They believe that keeping America white, straight, and Christian is freedom. They can’t see the other side of the story. American culture is wars. A war made to cut us off from those who loom over us. A war made to free people that have been beaten into submission. One kind of pointless war that involved a tornado and the white house burning down. Wars that we were roped into unintentionally as the world turned and fought and we were caught in the crossfire. A war in order to prove that those with darker skin deserve those rights talked about in the Constitution. Wars to keep us all safe. Wars fought with weapons and wars fought with words. Those wars are the ones we’re focused on today. We’re in a war right now, and we’re fighting to get out. We’re always fighting for that state of absolute freedom to live against people who think someone is lesser than them because of their skin color, or religion, or their gender or sexuality. So I know we’re going to win this war, because people don’t give up their spirit so easily.
1.Why am I aggravated so easily ? ( anger, thoughts, control, inner peace, mindfulness )
2.Why am I so addicted to my phone ? ( boredom, no life, communicating skills, shy, zombie)
3.Will I ever learn self love ? ( esteem, encouragement, #begoodtoyourself, positive mindset, )
4.When will I stop being a lazy bum ? (health, boredom, motivation, #schoolisboring)
5.When will I realize that not everything will be perfect ? (real reality, acceptance, patience, grass is greener)
6.Will I ever open up ? ( communicating, trust, true friendship, freedom )
7.Will I learn to be patient / not to give up ? (grit, frustration, impatient )
8.Will I learn to control my big fat smart mouth ? ( tone, self control, sarcasm, )
9.When will I learn to have a positive attitude? (optimism, sunny side, glass half-full, patience, )
10.Will I ever face my fears ? ( self esteem, brave, triumph, dread )
10 Question About the World
1.Why is the world such a dangerous place ? ( discipline, laws,unstable,viperous )
2.Why are things over priced ? ( taxing, living cost, bigger city, competition )
Is the world really more dangerous/violent, or does social media make us believe it is? (perception, marketing, capitalism, fear, confirmation bias)
4.Will the world ever accept people for who they are ? ( acceptance, tolerance )
5.Will health care ever be cheaper ? (affordability,budget,low-cost,infirmity)
6.Will we learn to keep the earth clean ? ( Neat, pollution, health, responsibility, extinction )
7.Will a woman ever be president ? ( equality, misogyny, the future is female, )
8.Will the world really end ? (termination, confine, foundation)
9.Will our future be nothing but technology ? ( new inventions, the end of natural world,
10.Is heaven and hell real ?( religious beliefs, culture)
Will I Ever Open Up ?
Will I ever open up ?
Do you have an issue opening up or are you someone who lets everyone know your life? Opening up and being myself is the hardest obstacle in my life right now. Why? Because my entire life I’ve been done wrong, people treat me terribly, my parents, my friends, and people I look up to. Since I was 9 years old I’ve kept things to myself, things that happened at school, at home, as well as things that were said to me. Seems like no one cared or weren’t interested. I have a huge trust issue at times: when I have opened up, people showed me why I shouldn’t have. Trust is a big thing and I trust nobody. Too often, people lie so much when telling the truth is so easy. Some people are just so evil that when you tell them things you don’t tell no one else and the second you fall out your business is everywhere. Now everyone has their opinion about you. I’ve had that happen so many times, I have such a big issue opening up because know one cares. The things that run through my mind or that have happened to me nobody would understand or care enough. Opening up is something I can not do. I would have to truly trust you and that takes a while. I hope I can find someone I can trust because keeping everything to myself is so hard.
The Risk of the Anti-Vaccine Movement
The effectiveness and risks of vaccines are becoming more and more feared by parents with young children, leading to massive health risks for the children and many around them. In an article titled “Vanishing vaccinations: why are so many Americans opting out of vaccinating their children?” , the author links growing rejection of vaccines to the problem that, “Today, however, vaccines are becoming a victim of their success–many individuals have never witnessed the debilitating diseases that vaccines protect against, allowing complacency toward immunization requirements to build.” In the past parents were concerned with the unlikely risks that vaccines provided, because they had seen the terror of having the diseases that became preventable. However, because vaccines became so pervasive in society, people came to forget the diseases and rare cases of vaccines harming children were overexposed. Massive waves of bad information intrude the modern parent’s life, leading to them wrongly seeing a vaccine as a health hazard, and not as a preventative and helpful action.
With this new wave of anti-vaccine parents, medical institutions and the government are pushing to inform parents of the benefits and misconceptions of vaccines in hope that they will choose to protect their children. One such institution is The Federal Health and Human Services who provides accurate vaccine information in ” Five Important Reasons to Vaccinate Your Child”. In the initial part of the article they state, ” Some diseases that once injured or killed thousands of children, have been eliminated completely and others are close to extinction– primarily due to safe and effective vaccines.” in hopes of reminding people of how much vaccines improve the general well being of the public. Not only does this article discuss the health benefits of vaccinating your child, but also the financial risks that run with not vaccinating your child. By refusing your child a vaccination, you risk them contracting a preventable disease whose treatment could be expensive. This article does a great job of providing concrete ways vaccines protect your children.
The irony of not vaccinating your child is that you are trying to protect the health of your children, but instead you are endangering them to diseases that are null and void with a couple simple shots. This issue is a fairly modern one because overexposed and misinformation has the ability to spread fast through technology. The government is stuck in debate of preserving the freedom of these parents versus protecting the general welfare. This comes not only from risking the health of the child, but also those in society who are more susceptible to catching these diseases such as the elderly, sick, and too young to receive vaccines. Because of this, the government still allows a way for parents to opt out of vaccinating their children, but the route to that is by no means easy. The government hopes that by making the parents jump through hoops that they will consider their choice a little more deeply. Hopefully as more accurate information about vaccination passes around, the anti-vaccine movement will die off.
This Is a short story on how supportive my family is towards my decision.
How to raise kids into healthy young adults?
There isn’t any magic formula to parenting. There are countless factors going into raising a kid with innumerable decisions that have to be made in trying to decide how to handle your children. One parenting style that I see more and more of in the modern age is the coddling “helicopter parent”. While the helicopter parent strategy seems fine on paper it can do a lot more harm to kids than what good it does, most kids with some degree of helicopter parents will likely have some disdain for their parents’ invading behaviors. Young people in these situations often have little to no privacy, they have no freedom to do things on their own, and their parents are constantly breathing down their necks through monitoring their location, their texts, and their activities. This overbearing style of parenting produces young adults with many issues in taking on independence and looking out for themselves overall, so how should parents be acting alternatively?
A GoodTherapy.org article puts it quite well in saying, “In order for teens to grow up, they need to have the opportunity to experience the freedom of making their own decisions (age appropriate) and the opportunity to learn from mistakes. When parents place a certain level of trust in their teen, the teen will be more likely to respect the parents as well as their rules.” Parents should be overseeing their children, but as they move into becoming teenagers and becoming adults they need to have experiences that let them learn real lessons for themselves. They have to be allowed to make mistakes and learn from them. They have to get stung to learn how to avoid painful or stressful situations. The skills and knowledge that young people acquire during this time in their lives are lessons that they can use for their entire lives, and will come real handy during their transitions into adulthood. In order for young people to slowly become adults they have to at some point begin to be treated like one, if they are denied any real responsibility throughout their youth they will be dependent and frankly unable to care for themselves properly when the time comes.
A 2017 Business Insider article outlined some of the traits that the parents of successful kids have in common. The list includes things like giving your kids chores, teaching them social skills, setting high expectations, teaching grit, etc. It also includes things like higher socioeconomic statuses and attaining higher education levels, things that aren’t available to all parents, but the other items on the list are things that really do check out for having positive effects on children. There is no recipe for producing well mannered and confident kids, but there are definitely actions that can lead children in the right direction, and parents should be taking advantage of every such opportunity. The fate of the next generation is greatly effected by the actions of the parents, and the world isn’t getting any friendlier, so parents really have to be on the top of their game.
WHAT A ROUGH THING TO HAPPEN!!!
After reading the first three chapters of Victor Rios’ Street Life, I feel ambitious about the events he is telling his audience. In looking at the imagery he uses to tell his story, I noticed that he uses visual, auditory, and kinesthetic in the first three chapters of his autobiography.
The first type of sensory detail I want to focus on is visual imagery. In chapter 1, Victor Rios had finished giving his speech in front of the Los Angeles Convention Center and started talking a little bit about his childhood. The sensory detail that follows is ”I am supposed to be out on the streets of Oakland, California, shooting up heroin or snorting meth with some of the guys I grew up with, who are stealing and robbing to get high”(Rios,3). The effect this has is to show that the drugs he was exposed to and his friends that he hung around those were the only options he had based on his community.
The second type of sensory detail I want to focus on is auditory imagery. In chapter 1, Victor Rios was finishing up the speech that he was giving. The sensory detail that follows is ”Entire rows of people begin to stand. Suddenly, like fans celebrating a home run at an L.A. Dodgers game, the entire audience is on their feet! A standing ovation!”(Rios, 2). The effect this has is to imply how welcomed he felt and how he had a sense of belonging.
The third type of sensory detail I want to focus on is kinesthetic imagery. In chapter 2, Victor Rios was describing what his mother went through when she was 13 years old in Mexico City. The sensory detail that follows is ”…hit him in the head with a steel rebar. The guy fell on the ground; my mother’s cousin grabbed the man’s pistol and unloaded the entire clip into him”(Rios,6). The effect this has is that the author wants to show how angry the cousin was by getting revenge on the abuser and making him pay for what he did. The author feels like the abuser got what he deserved.
Overall, Dr. Victor Rios wants me to understand that not to be ashamed of your past because your past can always change what your future is going to look like. Also, Victor wanted us to realize what his mom went through when she was in Mexico City while she was in her teens. Finally, the author explained what his mother went through trying to abort him in prison.
What Makes an American?
America was designed with an intent that neighbors would encourage each other to practice their beliefs, especially if their beliefs varied because it would mean the Founding Fathers’ efforts hadn’t been made in vain. So long as citizens were free to form their own opinions and practice their own religion, they would have succeeded. Arguments would act as the test of the degree to which the nation was truly free.
When asked to describe what America is and what it stands for, a majority of people say, “freedom.” America is known as “The Land of the Free,” and of course, freedom contributes to what makes America a great nation, but freedom alone cannot distinguish America between other nations. America is not the only free nation. In fact, a study conducted by Freedom House in 2016 found that, of 195 countries examined, 87 were free. America may have been the first, but it’s not the only country standing for freedom. The Declaration of Independence states, “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…” This statement alone proves that America was founded with the intent of allowing each individual to live and worship as they chose based on the rights given to them by their Creator. This was the ideal that was meant to be upheld in the country. No other ideal, democracy nor freedom, can be present in the nation if tolerance is absent because tolerance has always been the first concern. In 2017, former vice president Joe Biden wrote, “Reclaiming our values starts with standing up for them at home — inclusivity, tolerance, diversity, respect for the rule of law, freedom of speech, freedom of the press. If these are the democratic principles we wish to see around the world, America must be the first to model them.” Biden recognizes that tolerance produces democracy and freedom. Freedom alone cannot represent America because freedom cannot be present alone.
What does it mean to be American? Asking a person what it means to be American means asking this person where they have come from, what they have lived through, what they have lived for, and how they want to continue living. Each of these questions plays an important role in shaping an American identity. Americans, by definition, come from varied backgrounds, ethnicities, communities, and experiences which in turn produces variety in morality, political views, and objectives. We are a nation with broken homes and “Brady Bunch” families; with solemn ministers and ground-breaking scientists; with conservative legislators and liberal legislators. Taking this into consideration, we as a nation should expect the opposing views that exist in the world of American politics. The only way for a consensus to be met is to agree that Americans, by nature, ought to have opposing views. We should cherish them as they are a result of our unique foundation. We should eagerly debate one another on topics in the hopes of learning something new and reaching a common middle-ground. We should be delighting in our right to disagree and our freedom to live according to the values we individually possess. Americans are frustrated by opinions that differ from their own rather than grateful for the perspective these opinions offer. We are a nation that has forgotten to appreciate the differences with which America was constructed from the beginning.
Stereotypes Affecting American Values
The United States of America started out as immigrants from places all over the world trying to start a new life, with new culture and new beginnings. The words on the Statue of Liberty, “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” clearly express this very American sentiment. If our ancestry is rooted in the immigrant experience, then why do we continue to have a difficult time accepting new cultures into our society today? A core American value is equality, yet we still struggle applying it to our lives in all ways. Immigrants are not receiving the equal opportunity that people born here receive. Equality is a major American value, yet we don’t always honor it, specifically when we are faced with people that are different than we are. There are many reasons why living up to this American value is so difficult. Stereotypes, the political atmosphere at the time, and our own implicit biases all play a role.
“An Adventure in American Culture & Values”, from UNC Charlotte, identifies equality as one of the major American values. It states that, “Americans uphold the ideal that everyone is created equal” (Beane, Para 4). Many immigrants to the United States surely don’t feel equal.
Funny in Farsi written by Firoozeh Dumas, tells the story of her family’s experience immigrating from Iran to California. They experience many hardships with being foreigners at the time, but they also recognize the kindness, generosity, and new freedoms that differ from Iran. Acceptance was a struggle for this family. Her father didn’t get jobs because of the Iranian Hostage Crisis at the time; when traveling on airplanes people would nervously look at them thinking that they were terrorists; and when Firoozeh won a French speaking contest the other contestants believed that she cheated because it couldn’t be possible for an immigrant to win something like that. The prejudices that Firoozeh’s family have faced, have been documented in many ways.
An article in the New York Times, “Racial Bias, Even When We Have Good Intentions,” reported on a study from the University of Chicago that looked at how stereotypes affect equality in the workplace. They sent in the same resume to employers that had job openings, but changed the names on each of them so some of them had stereotypical African American names and others had stereotypically white names. They found that the same resume with a “white” name was fifty percent more likely to get the job. The most important thing I took out of this article was when the author stated, “Ugly pockets of conscious bigotry remain in this country, but most discrimination is more insidious. The urge to find and call out the bigot is powerful, and doing so is satisfying. But it is also a way to let ourselves off the hook. Rather than point fingers outward, we should look inward — and examine how, despite best intentions, we discriminate in ways big and small” (Mullainathan, Para 24).
Stereotypes divide our society immensely, and sometimes it is even subconsciously. Harvard University is doing a study on implicit biases called “Project Implicit.” They created a series of tests that are categorized based on gender, appearance, sexuality, race, religion and political views. They show you pictures and adjectives and you have to quickly associate that group with a photo or word. After you take the test, it shows how you feel about these social groups by how quickly you respond. This proves the issues we have in our society today and the stereotypes and biases that are in our heads every day without our intentions. When I took the test, I was very surprised by my results. I did not consider my own biases, and I see now how they might affect my perceptions toward immigrants in this country.
Over time our perceptions change. A long time ago we had issues with Jews and the Irish coming into our country, and then it was African Americans, and then Iranians, and now we have issues with Syrians and Muslims. Nowadays, Iranians like Firoozeh’s family, aren’t the target of inequality.
Despite all of the issues in our society, people come to this country for a reason. And one of those reasons is equality. Compared to other countries, the opportunity to make something of yourself as a minority in the United States is potentially more reachable. In Funny in Farsi, Firoozeh talks about feminism and the clash between gender equality in Iran versus the United states. If Firoozeh never immigrated to the United States, her life would be incredibly different. As a woman in Iran, the standards are not very high. You are expected to look beautiful, marry young, have children, and become the perfect housewife. She most likely wouldn’t have been able to marry her French husband, graduate from a prestigious university, or pursue her dreams as an author if she’d stayed in Iran.
The value of equality has been a cornerstone of the American value system since the beginning of this country. People come here to escape religious and racial persecution and it remains a place for new beginnings. Although politics, stereotypes and implicit biases make it difficult for immigrants to enjoy full equality, it remains a value that our American society strives for.
Bartholdi, Frédéric Auguste. Statue Of Liberty. 1875, New York City .
Protesting Shall Continue
Athletes’ protest is completely respectful and acceptable. I read an article where an NFL player claims that the action of other players kneeling or sitting during the national anthem is disrespectful and should never be done. However, This is not disrespectful because no one is disturbing peace. It is, in fact, a form of peaceful protest.
Procon.org gives a view from both sides of the debate. So, even though I am all for the kneeling, the website gives great understanding on why some may find kneeling inappropriate. They say that kneeling is disrespectful to members of the military because instead of showing appreciation, we are going against them. Kneelers are not directing their frustrations to troops, but to the issues that the country’s (that they are fighting for) major issues that are being swept under the rug. Why should we show pride and honor to a flag that represents a corrupt country that goes against its own beliefs of freedom and equality ?
The First Amendment states that “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.” People being punished for refusal to stand is just another reason to protest. If we, as US citizens, are granted the freedom to protest, then why are protesters losing their jobs, & being expelled from school ? This just goes to show how contradicting America really is and how we really do not have all the freedom that is claimed .
Karen Hunter tweeted “as long as we stay ‘in our place’ everything is fine” This quote is very powerful and speaks truth. Everyone is aware of the racial injustice and police brutality in our country. It has been an issue since forever ago. Every time there public protest on the topic, its a problem. Officials want to keep the problem as discrete as possible. They want the public to remain silent about the problem, that way , nothing changes. Systematic racism will remain if awareness isn’t raised.
There are many different opinions on what American values entail and what the American dream is. To me, individuality and equality are the most important values. These two values may seem contradicting at first. How could you value individuality and equality? These two values have to work together. As a society, we are still growing in social and moral ways in order to achieve equality, so in order to be independent citizens, we have to know that equality exists.
The article, “The Changing American Family” , backs up my claim of individuality and equality being key values. This covered a lot about American families and how they are not just the typical husband, wife, and kids anymore. It states, “Families, they say, are becoming more socially egalitarian over all, even as economic disparities widen. Families are more ethnically, racially, religiously and stylistically diverse than half a generation ago — than even half a year ago (Shiller, para 8).” This statement further proves the individuality that is widening in our society. In the sentence, “Families, they say, are becoming more socially egalitarian over all, even as economic disparities widen”, it shows how citizens are becoming more accepting of each other and are starting to believe more in the principle that all people are created equal and have equal rights.
This topic is also talked about in the article, “An Adventure in American Culture & Values”. This post made a list of some of the major American values in our country today. A few of them were individuality, privacy, equality, and informality. When talking about equality, it states, “U.S. Americans uphold the ideal that everyone “is created equal” and has the same rights. This includes women as well as men of all ethnic and cultural groups living in the U.S. There are even laws that protect this “right to equality” in its various forms (Beane, para 4).” Although we do have many rights and freedoms, we still have a lot of social equality to work on as a society.
The American dream can be achieved with equality and individualism. In the article, “The Transformation of the ‘American Dream’”, the New York Times talks about the controversy of the American dream. It states, “…in the 1930s, it meant freedom, mutual respect and equality of opportunity. It had more to do with morality than material success (Angier, para 3).” Many citizens believe that the American dream is purely materialistic, but we need to remember the core issues of our country and bring back the real dream, which is a society where every person gets equal opportunities.
Without the values of equality and individuality, our country would not be the same. We would be missing the culture, the diversity, and the opportunity to pursue our American dream.
I think the question of “What is Justice” may sort of push students toward argumentative essay writing or moralistic fiction over, say, descriptive poetry or whatever else they may want to write. I’d love to hear what students want to do without any restrictions, which leads me to my second point. At our international school, we often ask students to tell their migration stories– we ask this a lot. They have written graphic novels, made stop motions, engaged in many advisory discussions, written personal statements, and in continuously asking students to talk about one aspect of their lives, we only see a small dimension of who they are and don’t get to see a variety of their interests and experience. I wonder the same about “what is justice” I am sure students have really important things to say about justice and i know it will make me feel good and interested to hear about their thoughts on justice, but, uh, should writing be about what the students want? Maybe we can not use our students as objects of our professional fulfillment as teachers and let them express their selves however they please.
Oppression and Society
In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, We have two characters trying to become free. Huck, who is running away from society, which he views as oppressive and controlling, and Jim, an escaped slave running to freedom down the Mississippi River. Through chance, they meet up, and our unlikely duo travel down the river, with various misadventures along the way. However, their two journeys are fundamentally different. First, in the way that they are oppressed, and second, in the result of their shared journey
Firstly, Huck’s oppression is not nearly as real as Jim’s. His problem with society is that there are too many people telling him what to do. From Miss Watson and the widow Douglas to his father, even though they are on opposite sides of society, they are both seen as forcing him to do things. Miss Watson, who forces him to go to school, learn religion, and be proper. Pap, on the other hand, is forceful since he physically abuses Huck, extorts him for drinking money, and locks him inside the house while he is gone. To Huck, these are equally bad, and he deals with these problems by running away from them down the river. However, these are not really problems, as what Miss Watson is doing is actively good for Huck, even if he doesn’t see it that way. His father on the other hand, is clearly bad, but not something that cannot be dealt with. If Huck just waited for the custody settlements to be worked out, then he could have gone back to Miss Watson. Jim, on the other hand, as a slave, is actively beaten and forced to work. He is excluded from society, and is not treated as human. Rather, he is treated as property, as a tool to be used, or a farm animal to do work. Even though his owner, Miss Watson, is a kind and godly woman, she still keeps him as a slave, as well as his family. Under her, he felt that he was treated fairly, but once the idea of the unknown came about, when he overheard that he might be sold, he was afraid, and ran away. At the most basic level, Huck is escaping from the known, although twisted through the eyes of a child, and Jim is escaping from the unknown, as well as from forced bondage.
Jim and Huck also differ in the result of their journey. At the end of the book, we learn that in Miss Watson’s will, Jim was set free, so he is now a free man. His goal now, is to become a part of society and earn enough money to set his family free. Huck on the other hand, refuses to integrate into society, and reject’s Aunt Sally’s offer, claiming that “I can’t stand it. I been there before.” (Twain 260) He shows that even though he goes on a huge journey, and sees so many distinct aspects of humanity, he is still the same rebellious child that he was at the beginning of the book. Jim, on the other hand, has not changed internally either, but his relationship to society has changed greatly. He goes from being excluded altogether, to being considered a member of society, albeit one that is racially targeted and excluded. This is a massive change in how he is part of society. Huck, on the other hand, makes the exact opposite change. He starts as a part of society, although he does not want to be, then leaves society for the Territory, which is implied to be the West. In the end, they both find freedom in their own way, from their own oppression by society. Huck is free from any civilizing forces, as he will most likely be living out west on his own, and Jim is no longer a slave, and his new goal is to free his family.
These two characters are remarkably different, and were both excluded from society in separate ways. However, they both end up going on a journey together, and experience changes that will affect them forever. Although they share many experiences, and even kindle a deep friendship for one another, they differ fundamentally in the nature of their oppression by society and their freedom from it.
The Idea of Freedom
14 May 2017
The idea of freedom
In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the two main characters Huckleberry Finn and the slave Jim set out on a adventure to freedom. But what is the definition of freedom to both of these characters? What are these characters running away from? What messages might Twain be sending with the actions of these characters? These are all valid questions that we will be exploring today, using specific information from the book and adding my own personal opinion to the mix.
Huckleberry Finn is a 13 year old white boy who lives in St. Petersburg, Missouri. He is watched over by his two guardians, the Widow and Miss Watson. Huck used to live with this pap, Huck’s father who drink excessively and beats him on a regular basis. Even if pap was not the best fatherly figure, Huck claimed he liked living with his father more than living with the Widow and Miss Watson, due to the fact that they tried to “civilize” Huck by setting strict rules in the house. Twain writes “Don’t put your feet up there Huckleberry and don’t scrunch up like that Huckleberry-set up straight, and don’t gap and stretch like that, Huckleberry-why don’t you try to behave?”(2). Huck despises these rules imposed by Miss Watson, but he also dislikes his drunk pap. With these two facts in mind, we can see that Huck was running away from a society that tried to make him what he didn’t want to be, and from an abusive father who only cared about his next drink.
Jim is a black male who is owned by Miss Watson as her household slave. Referring to the time period this book is set in, which is years before the American Civil War, slavery is still legal in United States, and racial degradation against African-Americans is common in this society. The context of slavery is clearly within the book, with Twain using the “N” word numerous times, and making references to slavery, like when Twain writes “I hear old missus tell de widder she gwyne to sell me down to Orleans, but she didn’ want to, but she could git eight hund’d dollars for me, en it ‘uz sich a big stack o’ money she couldn’ resis’.”(39) This is when Jim explained to Huck why he ran away, in which he says that Miss Watson was planning on selling him to a slave dealer in Orleans. This is the main reason Jim decided to pursue his freedom. In a racist society where he is seen as property, he was about to be sold away, and he didn’t want that and ran away.
Twain is known for his humorous work, as shown with the satire in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. But what message was he trying to send with the actions of Huck and Jim? I believe that the message Twain was trying to convey to his audience was that two people, disregarding race, can accomplish goals by helping each other and with support. I believe this because throughout the book, Twain portrays Jim as more of an intelligent adult rather than a slave, with instances such as predicting the weather when Huck and Jim first met on Jackson island. Twain slowly whites out Jim”s racial status by showing his humanism and affection towards Huck in the book. A huge example is when Jim shielded Huck from the dead body that was flowing down the river, and we later learn that was Huck’s dad. Jim didn’t want Huck to hurt, so he did what a good friend should do.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has many topics that classes can discuss, like the idea of freedom. With information from the book and my own opinion, I discussed the topic of freedom and how it contributed to the book. Despite my own point of view, I would also like to hear what other students think about the topic.
Twain, Mark, Diane Mowat, Paul Fisher-Johnson, and Judy Stevens. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008. Print.
Over time, more schools are requiring students to wear uniforms. Teacher, parents and students have argued over whether or not it should be required. I have been required to wear a uniform for the past few years, however, I do know what it is like for it not to be mandatory.
Uniform has made mornings a lot easier for me. It is less stressful knowing what to wear the night before or when you’re running late. Uniforms save students a lot of time in the morning because they won’t waste time deciding what to wear. Schools that have uniforms have better attendance rates.
But, uniforms restrict the student’s freedom. Students won’t be able to express themselves. Not being able to express yourself limits the student’s creativity. The way you dress in the real world affects your future. However, it is also harder to enforce school uniforms in the upper grades, since some students dislike them. I speak from experience when this is said, because in one of my past schools, many students disliked uniforms. Students can express themselves through clothing, but having uniform restricts that.
In my opinion, both sides have pros and cons. It is up to you to decide.
Unique, Beautiful, and Independent
You are unique and beautiful just the way you are, don’t let anyone make you think you are a lesser person just because you’re not their definition of ‘pretty’.
Pretty comes in all shapes and sizes, but most people believe that the only way you can be or feel pretty is being a “white” blonde headed, blue eyed, skinny waisted, girl. A girl that wears things like dresses, and flats, or heels and skirts. Flowy shirts and shows everything off for everyone to see. That isn’t true, you can feel pretty by just being you. You don’t have to feel like you have to please a man everywhere you go. You are a strong, independent woman that can do anything for herself, and one that abides to her own rules, not the rules of a messy eater, or the “gentleman” you went out with last week for dinner, but ended up being another jerk. Just. Like. The. Rest. The real dictionary definition of the word BEAUTIFUL is either: pleasing the senses or mind aesthetically, or of a very high standard; excellent. This definition could not be more off. The real definition of the word beautiful is a tough woman that will not give herself up to a man. One that makes some ground rules on the first date, and if they don’t cooperate or care, really, she leaves them or lets them go. Because a man that doesn’t care about you was never worth the time of day you gave him. Or much less your love. When I think of Beautiful I think of all the women out there setting examples for the future generation, because if we don’t, who will? This was just to tell you how I feel about what some people think is “beauty”. You are unique and beautiful no matter what a magazine or a man tells you.
“Don’t be afraid to be both a masterpiece, and a work in progress.”
The safety pin stand up to trump article made me look at people different cause people actually care about other people then there self its a good feeling to know that people are inspired to take it this far and stand up to someone who is wrong but im glad that the color of your skin is also involved and thank God he’s making people look at stuff differently but i am also going to join in on this thanks to those who are making a difference……..
An important issue that I care about is immigration. It is a major issue in our country and I know a lot of people are worried about it.
I believe that we all are supposed to be treated equally as Americans and have the same rights as Americans.I think it’s unjust that Latin Americans should be kicked out of the United States. If this cause happens, it will affect families by separating them. Latinos come to the United States to have a better life, such as education.
If you don´t kick out Latinos I promise you that this country will be a great country. A country of freedom.
Please consider not kicking out Latinos.
Apprehension of Families
Despite popular belief, the majority of families and unaccompanied children migrating into the U.S. through the border with Mexico are not those from Mexico, but Central America. It is people from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador who are seeking relief from poverty and violence by immigrating. However, when these families and children have reached the border they are greeted by Homeland Security who is ready to detain them. This detainment is what is known as apprehension, or otherwise the arrest of removable “aliens.”
In 2016 the amount of apprehensions from Central America doubled when compared to the apprehensions of 2015, according to data collected by the CBP (Customs, and Border Protection). In the first half alone of 2016, there have been 32,117 families who have experienced apprehension instead of the protection they sought from the U.S. government. Despite the fact that these families are fleeing from gang and cartel violence the number of apprehensions of these people continues.
As the National Guard’s deployment to the Texas-Mexico border has been extended by the governor of Texas, it is expected that these apprehensions will continue to grow. Unlike the other states that share a border with Mexico, Texas experiences a greater numbers of families attempting to cross the border. About ⅔ of family apprehensions in 2016 occurred at the Texas-Mexico border, where the National Guard currently assist the CBP. This amount of apprehensions has lead to a backlog of cases, leading these families to spend weeks on end in detainment, instead of under protection from violence in their native countries.