Monday, January 23, 2012

For the people who need it.

It has come to my attention that some of the students in our class need a copy of actual exam. So here it is open for everyone. note on pg. 2 where i crossed out the terms, those terms are oppression, dominant ideology, SCWAAMP, LBGTQ, Privilege, Binaries, Ally vs Bystander, La mestiza.

Friday, January 20, 2012

More like 'Occupying' the park

     I’ve just come back from the Occupy Providence camp next to Kennedy Plaza in Downtown. I have to say that the camp wasn’t as disorganized as some people mentioned in class, because they had an entire schedule of things they had to do, things they were going to say, and had a booth which appeared to be the center of their communication for outsiders to visit. Throughout this blog I want to describe my experience at the Occupy Providence camp, tell you what they are fighting for and what issues currently matter to them according to an activist that I spoke to, and make connections to at least two of the texts from our readings.

    I want to start off by saying that I didn’t know what to expect. I went through the park and saw all the signs that were posted, while clinging to my iPhone as if someone was going to steal it. I did not feel comfortable being there because I felt as though I was too dressed for the occasion, and I was just wearing my regular coat and sweat pants. Just by looking at the people there you could tell they were there for a long time.  Which posed a problem because I was not able to tell who were activists and who were homeless people.

    I was amazed at the spectacle of seeing people living in tents at the burnside park, which is a novelty on its own. As I walked closer to the tents, I noticed that a handful of people were gathering at a booth( picture provided below). I approached the area and I asked if I could speak to a person involved in the organization of rallies, and meetings. I was led to a man by the name of Patrick, an activist who has been there for three months and 7 days.

    When I spoke to Patrick, he didn’t really let me know any of his personal history, except for the fact that his father was a very wealthy, “Partner at one of the largest accounting firms in the world.” I felt silly asking him questions like why they were there, because this movement  has been here since October, they have posters all over the place, and have banners that say, “1% control all of the wealth”. Although I was hesitant at first, I said, “ Hi how are you doing? I am a student at RIC, I was just wondering if I could ask you some questions about this movement, and what your fighting for.”

This is the conversation I had with him.( Not exactly word for word)

Me: What issues matter to you and the organization/movement right now?

Patrick: We all have issues, we face everyday. Is there an issue your referring to?

Me: I mean, if there is something that is a problem today that you are planning to address to the city, today, tomorrow, or this week?

Patrick: We have rallied and gathered at the city council to let them know that we want them to open a ‘Day Center’ for the homeless people. . . did you know there are more than 48,000 Rhode Islanders that are homeless due to things like foreclosures?

    At this point in the conversation, he received a ‘phone call’ on his cell phone from his father. He then told his father, “ Yes I’m still alive. . .No I don’t need any money.” The conversation he was having with his father made me think the worst. In my mind, I was saying to myself, “ Wow, while everyone here is freezing their @$$#$ off, this guy has daddy helping him out, with money. The same money that is not distributed fairly. . .” After he finished speaking to his father. I asked him

Me:  What is this movement fighting for?

Patrick: We are fighting for equal opportunity. The city looks at us like we’re cockroaches and scum. I am a rich man, my father works as a partner at one of the largest firms in Rhode Island, right there across the street. But. . .”

He never finished his sentence, and I didn’t care to ask at that point because someone mentioned the name Catherine and her being arrested. They said she was arrested in the park, and when I asked Patrick about it, someone yelled at him, “We’re not supposed to talk about that.” 

    At that point, I felt even more as an outsider than ever before. It was bad enough that they were looking at me in really funny ways, but then they couldn't talk to me about an incident that happened in relation to the movement, even though I said, “ I am not a reporter.” As I walked a couple of hundred feet away, and thanked Patrick for his time, I asked a man sitting on the bench, if he was an activist and he said, “ NO! I’m just sitting here enjoying the view of the park,” I couldn’t tell, because he was dressed like an activists, but as it turned out he was indeed a homeless man.

    Now that we have discussed my experience at the Occupy Providence movement, and I let you know what they were fighting for, according to an activist, let me tell you how it connects with what we have done in class. For my first connection I want to talk about equality versus equity. In class we said that equality was in fact giving the same treatment to everyone, whereas equity was giving help to those who are in need of it. I don’t  think the activist knew the difference, because he kept talking about equal opportunity, which is something we already have in the United States. Every citizen in the United States is allowed a free education, until college. At which point students are encouraged to apply to college to better their life socially, politically, and economically. This is a luxury that is not available in every country.

    To add to this, people are allowed to pick a major in a field in which they’d like to work for in the future. This means that people who come from very poor backgrounds, can become an engineer and become part of the top 10% of earners in the United States. I got the feeling from the activist that they wanted something to be given to them,  when we have to remember that if you want something in America, you have to fight for it.

     Although we are in a capitalistic, binary society where one persons benefit is some body else's oppression, we have to acknowledge that a medical doctor will not be rewarded the same as a waiter. Even though I’m making Patrick seem like a bad guy I don’t think he thought too deeply about his statement and actually meant to say there are institutions (ex. tax breaks for the wealthy) that are benefitting the rich and making the poor more helpless.

    Looking past my encounter at the park though, I think the occupy movement is similar to the feminist movement. At first women fought for rights, but as feminism progressed they fought for equity. This is evident in the video presented in class on Friday, where the film stated that women are getting 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man. In theory women have the same rights as men but this bundled with women’s presentation in the media, misrepresentation in the statistics, and other injustices to women make the situation inequitable.

    According to Anzaldua’s La concienca de la mestiza: towards a new consciousness, she said that to create a new consciousness(way of thinking) we have to mix different races, sexes, gender, and social classes. People are standing together in this effort to create equal opportunities for the less fortunate, but this movements population, at least in Providence, consisted of middle aged, men, who were white, and had low incomes( with the exception of Patrick). This is hardly diverse enough to make a difference in policy.

    Although according to Allen G. Johnson’s Privilege, Power and Difference he would argue these people have taken the right step, by addressing the problem to begin with. Johnson wrote, “The bottom line is that a trouble we can’t talk about is a trouble we con’t do anything about,” on pg. 13. People don’t like to use the words low, middle, or high class because as Johnson stated on pg. 39, “ For every social category that is privileged, one or more other categories are oppressed in relation to it,” which makes people feel uncomfortable because being labeled high class may make you look greedy, and oppressive. Like Anzaldua, I think Johnson would say the only problem with this movement is that is has failed to get the 1% to acknowledge them. Johnson stated that for there to be a difference in the treatment of other races, the people in position of power have to acknowledge that they are privileged because, otherwise the arguments are simply discarded.

    In conclusion, I feel as though if I had more time I would have had a better understanding of the Occupy movement’s goals. Perhaps I would’ve joined them, who knows? Although, what I do know is that the movement will have a hard time moving forward because I don’t think anything will change(at least any time soon). As opposed to women’s first wave of feminism, which had clear identifiable goals, that were realistic, reasonable and just. If you want want to see a real occupy movement check out this link, it shows how people like us (citizens) can make an economic statement.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Conflicts in Postfeminism World; Extended Comments

    The semester has come and gone in a short and intense three weeks. For the last blog point, I’m going to be using the extended comments format and I will be using Ariel Sansone’s, Food for Thought, blog point. Throughout this blog point I will be looking at the main points of Ariel’s blog and either agree or disagree with support from the text(Re)Engaging Students with Feminism in a Postfeminist World, by Meredith A. Love and Brenda M. Helmbrecht.

    To start off, Ariel quoted a passage from the text and wrote about their experience of disconnection they may have had. Ariel  wrote, “I am part of the so-called "third generation movement" where the same issues do not necessarily apply to people my age as they did people growing up in the 70s.” Concluding with, Ariel being able to see how racial discrimination and sexual bias has come a long way and that (Ariel)  is from a more tolerant and accepting generation. My only gripe with this is the idea professor Bogad mentioned in class about being grateful for being allowed to participate in the race (metaphor). Love and Helmbrecht on pg. 46 showed that although there are more women in college, they are still misrepresented in powerful decision making positions, hold fewer PhDs, and are paid 23% less than a comparable man. Society is showing us that yes women have made alot of strides, yet fail to mention the dark side that is prevalent in America.

    To go a little deeper in thought about this, the authors cited McRobbie 255 on pg. 47, who wrote, “ Postfeminist texts subtly communicate the idea that feminism is decisively aged and made to seem redundant.”  This is important because Ariel must see that just because feminism may seem like something unrelated to us, there is a connection. This is a not only a problem for everyone but specifically for women in general because the authors mentioned that the disconnect women today feel about feminism in the 70’s is resulting in women not engaging in social activism.

    On another point Ariel brought up,  Ariel wrote, “ Let's face it people are more concerned with actually getting money rather than how or why. We need to change our greedy. . .in order to embrace feminism.” On pg. 41 Love and Helmbrecht stated that women today are more preoccupied with the things they can buy and maintaining their image, than actually thinking about the positions of power they can one day hold. As a man, over the last few years I’ve noticed more women getting influenced by other women who flaunt their bodies on t.v. for money. They have not openly stated, "I look up to the belly dancer in the music video," but demonstrate it by going to the gym five times a week, wearing really short skirts and then showing their belly piercings. On the contrary, I don’t see women say, “I want to be like Hilary Clinton and Sarah Palin,” and open books of political science to empower themselves.


    Before I conclude, I want to express my opinions about the text. I think that Love and Helmbrecht were trying to say that there is a problem in feminism today. The problem though is not really in the ideology of feminism, it is in the generation of current students. They claim that popular culture is influencing the notion of the image of empowerment versus the real image of empowerment. Songs like “Stupid Girls” by pink is feminist, but are contradictions because according to Love and Helmbrecht it is sending a message that is exploitative and for commercial purposes, yet is the same image that tells women not to be concerned with image, on pg. 51. Let me finish by saying that, the best quote that I think summarizes the text best is, “ But, we hope that a pedagogy that seeks not only to teach students about feminism but also encourages them to engage and thus act might thwart the pull of post feminism and enable third wave feminism to make a mark in women’ lives today and in the future.”

I think this link helps define differences in the waves of feminism, but more importantly lets women know that feminism is not dead, and there is a need for women to acknowledge this. The article is called Defining The Third Wave.

 Comments: I think this article really nailed the problem with women not wanting to associate themselves with the second wave feminists. The idea being they are the man eating, violent women that are portrayed in the media. I think this article also illustrates the problem that women are not really seeing a problem in society regarding feminism which is affecting attendance in social activism. Overall a good read, but I have a question. What should be done in the media to get women to actively engage in feminism? if at all possible?

Wednesday's Heated Discussion

Hey guys,

After today's discussion, I still stand by what I say. Although I do have something to add. We should not be arguing with each other. Feeding into the notion of intersectionality, we are all part  of a  minority group.This includes people who are a women, homosexuals, African Americans,  people who are handicap,  and more. Some times it is difficult to keep our emotions out of the discussion because we feel as though we are being attacked.

If we have learned anything though, we should acknowledge that the United States should not hold binary values. Such as the comments like,  "There will always be a dominant group," when there doesn't have to be. After more than 210 years, we should've  been a melting pot (by now) with the classification of race as non existent, but that is farther then truth than ever before. 

If anyone felt uncomfortable, that was not my intention. I understand that you may feel like I was singling people out in my metaphors in class. But we have to keep in mind the differences between institutions and individuals. In class, someone mentioned that perhaps they don't understand where I'm coming from because they were not born like me (Mexican-American). My stance was universal for all people of minorities, because as for myself, financially I would be considered middle to upper middle class. When I mention that resources should be shared equitably this is coming from the hundreds of people I know, who were born into disadvantaged positions through no fault of their own.

Finally in class, someone mentioned that it is not fair to say race helped them get into college. Perhaps you or others may not see the advantage given, others  do see. With the statement that was said we have to notice that being white did not help anyone 'get into' college. But being white may have paved the road for the resources that were available to you from elementary school through high school. Kids in public schools with a predominately Black or Hispanic population are not concerned with grades in high school. They are trying to figure out if they will have electricity at home, because their parents didn't pay the bill. They have to try to finish their 10pg essay assignments in the library because they don't have access to a laptop.

The point I'm trying to make is that the economic structures in place are not balanced. The truth is, the rich are getting richer and the middle class and lower classes are getting poorer. If you agree that people should get what they deserve, and that this is foot race, then we are setting ourselves up for failure, as a society. Eventually as Ayvazian pointed out, in her text in relation to allies and oppression, everyone becomes a minority even the white, christian, heterosexual, male will grow old and then will become a victim of social inequality. If a class room full of college students can't see what Professor Bogad and Assistant teacher Eva have been saying all semester, then we may actually be taking a step backwards in social change.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Oppression is a disease that can only be cured by inoculation; Andrea Ayvazian; Connection Format

    Throughout the course of this class, there has been an ongoing theme. I’m not talking about the racism, sexism, feminism, or stereotypes but the solution that has been given for each. Andrea Ayvazian, author of Interrupting the Cycle of Oppression: The Role of Allies as Agents of Change, was on the same page as Allen G. Johnson’s Privilege, Power and Difference. In the paragraphs, I will summarize what Ayvzian text, give you connections with other work we’ve done, and describe why I think she is right!

    To begin I’m going to summarize the point Ayvazian was trying to make. She wrote that by having people become allies that we could decrease inequity, decrease violence associated towards minority groups (including sex, gender, race, religion) and promote positive role models for kids growing up today. According to Ayvazian, an ally is a member of the dominant group who works to dismantle any form of oppression from which he or she benefits from. She argued that people are more likely to hear other people out if they are part of the same group, which would bring about more equality. Then she said oppression works because of ideologies and violence against minorities. This combination creates an endless cycle that feeds itself and can only be stopped if we attack the institution as opposed to the individual. The example she provided was the one where women are more likely to ‘survive’ if the perpetrator of the violence is exposed through direct intervention, as opposed to teaching the individual women to defend herself. This in essence would reduce violence. Lastly, an increase in allies would make younger adults more aware of oppression and how to contribute. She argued that young adults in class rooms have a hard time naming white people who are anti racist, and by increasing their awareness they could provide positive role models for young adults, so that one day we can live in a “nonviolent army of allies” according to Ayvazian.

    Now that that you have the gist of the story let me show how it connects to our other readings. The fist example I have is of Johnson’s Privileged, Power, and Difference. He argued that although racism is a touchy subject people don’t like to talk about, we have to deal with it. What is more important is that this ties to the notion of allies, Johnson wrote that if the minority could do something about the situation they would have already, it is up to the people in position of power to make a difference. This ties to the notion of Allies because it requires people who are part of the dominate group to stand up and say, “No!,” to racism as Ayvazian would say it.

    Another way this text connects with other readings we have done in class, is in Anzaldua’s work titled La conciencia de la mestiza:toward a new consciousness. Anzaldua argued that the mestiza would breed a new form of consciousness that would result in less violence, and injustices. This ties to the notion Ayvazian was trying to make about providing positive role models. These role models would influence another generation of kids whom could change how the world would be in 10, 20, or 30 years. Although these two authors would agree on where the future should be headed, they differ in whom they believe will lead the charge. Ayvazian believes change would result from people who are part of the dominant group, hence the allies, whereas Anzaldua would argue that it is up to the people who are different to address the problem and inform others to reduce the fear of the unknown, which may be held by the dominant group.

    The next text I want to connect Ayvazian’s work to, is to Peggy Orenstein’s book titled Cinderella Ate My Daughter. Although Orenstein argued more than one point, her book mainly dealt with the values girls are associating themselves with, through various media and the potential problems it is creating for girls, women, and feminism in general. This may be a stretch but I think Ayvazian work connects to Orenstein’s book by the manner in which to reduce violence. Although Orenstein did not really talk about violence, she did write about the stereotypes children are learning through popular television. Boys are learning to be ‘a man’ through movies like “Hercules”, ‘Dragon Ball Z’ and other cartoons, which is projected through their anger towards women and society. Ayvazian argued that it is not the victims that need counseling after abuse though, but the institution by exposed direct intervention.

    Lastly I want conclude by saying that I believe in what Ayvazian and Johnson have been saying all along. For there to be change, people on the other side of the fence must stand up and say something. For example, I feel that the Occupy movement would be strengthened if they had more supporters who represent the 1% of the people who exercise their social, economic, and political power. It is easier to think of social reform as a metaphor. Think that racism is a sickness and society is the body, the main culprit is of the infection is the flu, who is the dominant group. For the body to get better the body needs inoculation of the flu or majority to cure or fix the sickness at hand.  Today, there are still some issue that need people from the dominant group to help those in need, such as the Dream Act movement, gay marriage movement, and Occupy movement.

    Before I leave I want to leave you with a good example of allies in the real world. On an article titled Look at All the Rich People Supporting Occupy Wall Street, I found a few wealthy people who are advocating for the 99%. Another article that I found that is similar is titled ‘Occupy’ protestors find allies in the ranks of the wealthy. But allies can be found in other movements as well, as you can see from the article labeled Celebrity Tough Guys that Support Gay Marriage.

Comments and Questions : All this reading has made me think about the situation in Rhode Island, regarding the Occupy Providence movement. I want to know whether the press it has received, has been considered positive or negative? What were the opinions of people considered the 1% in Rhode Island, regarding the movement? Based on the reading from Ayvazian, what could be done to strengthen Occupy Providence?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Women's economic inequlity, a feminist issue? Blog Point 5 Hyper Link

    According to Google, the definition of feminism is, “ The advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic inequality to men.” Another definition was coined by Su, at the 1996 anthology DIY Feminism Festival.  She said, “[Feminists are] just women who don’t want to be treated like shit.” After having read different stories, and looking at what determines class based on information from People Like Us and The Center for Working Class Studies(CWCS), I have determined that economic inequality is a feminist issue. It is a feminist issue based upon three things which include statistics, social class, stereotypes, and dependency.

    To start off, statistically speaking women are more likely to be have a lower income. According to the 2012 statistical abstract under the Expenditures, Poverty, and Wealth section from U.S. Census Bureau women are more likely to make less money than men whether a women had an education or not.  On Table 702. Money Income of people, of all the males ( 117,728) their median income is $32,184, whereas of all the females(124,440) their median income is $20,957. To make matters worse, even when women have attained a higher level of education there is still a disproportion of wealth between men and women. The median income annual of men with a bachelor’s degrees or higher is $92,815, whereas the median income of women with a bachelors degree or higher is $62,198. That is a difference of more than $30,000, despite women having equivalent education. This economic difference is important to note because income is an important determinant of class because it contributes to where you live, your lifestyle, the schools your children attend, and even the food you eat.

    Secondly, as I already mentioned before, class is determined by a number of different factors. According CWCS, determining your class status is hard because there is often a large bracket for what a middle class income looks like. For instance people who make between $28,000 and $90,000 may consider themselves middle class despite the large difference in lifestyles. So to get a better predictor of class you have to look at the type of job you have, the people you work with, your social or economic power, your education, as well as race, gender, and culture according to CWCS. In single parent homes women tend to make less than men and as a result will have less social power, less education, work with others who are similar to themselves, and will have jobs that are considered a ‘women’s job’(cleaning toilets at a Burger King). This is important to remember because the discrepancy of income has a far reaching effects on the inequality of treatment to women, as a whole.

    Finally, after I read some of the stories in People Like Us I came to realize that there are more derogatory terms for women in low income situations. Some of the stories that stood out the most, were about women working and trying to make a living, without government assistance. As a result they had less income and had to manage living with three or more kids to feed. Despite the economic difficulties they face, they are often seen as ‘trashy’ by the people around them and their own kids. When the man who came from the rich family left his family in pursuit of a lower income lifestyle, he didn't face an income problem but a problem associated to honor. Which in itself is associated to stereotypes because if a women is working hard she is seen as ‘trashy’, but if a man is working hard it is seen as  ‘honest work’. These differences perpetuate male dominance and women inequality, by also encouraging women that women don’t have to suffer and getting married as a way out, shows how society expects women to depend on men.

    I think I’ve said enough, but to recap women are economically at a disadvantage, which helps determine their social status, and as a result, women are treated unequally because of the stereotypes used to get women to conform to male dominance and dependency. As you can see, this is absolutely a feminist issue because everything I mentioned tied to the definition I mentioned which a women’s political, social, and economic inequality to men. With the differences between men and women I have already mentioned, it breeds unequal rights in different sectors of our culture for women.

Comments: I think it's a real shame that there is such a large difference in salaries/income between men and women. Most of the time being that women have the same education as their male counterparts, yet they still get paid less. To make matters worse everyone as young children are told that they can achieve anything if they put their mind to it, instead they should say, " If your a man, white, of an upper middle class backgrounds, with families that have legacies at Harvard, then yes, you become president." And yes I know there is a African American as president, and yes there are billionaire African American Females, But honestly how many of them do you know?

Friday, January 13, 2012

I Knew I Wasn't Crazy!!!

                                                      (picture provided by Flickr)

Guys and Gals, remember that time when I said I wasn't called back for almost all of my internships(not even to the interview stage) despite my academic credentials. Fortunately I did get an internship at Roger Williams Park Zoo, which I think is a result of their family/diversity orientation. But, not many are as lucky as I am, more than 300 Latino and Blacks were denied oppurtunites at Pepsi due to Pepsi's illegitimate screening process. You can find the article here at  Pepsi Pays $3 million in Racial Bias Case.