Wednesday, 25 May 2011
Monday, 23 May 2011
I chose the National Rifle Association as the website because I feel it represents many aspects of contemporary America.
One aspect it represents is Patriotism. Patriotism in present day America is still very strong as a result of things such as American flags flying outside houses and everyone standing up for the National anthem being a common occurrence. This is despite many recent events which have made people outside America to view the country negatively, such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The website displays patriotism through a number of different means, such as the NRA logo displaying the Eagle, (a symbol of America and it’s power) and by stating on it’s website as being “America’s foremost defender of Second Amendment rights”. Protecting the constitution which defines America and it’s way of life is another example of patriotism.
This can be linked to another aspect of contemporary America which the NRA represents, which is the country’s strong defence of the constitution as a whole and refusal to have a total revamp of it. An example of this is that although the constitution was created over two hundred years ago, America still continues to live by it without many changes, despite life in present day America being a stark contrast to what it was like in the past. This refusal of major change can also be related to a current event, such as the shooting of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona earlier this year. Despite that being a result of someone who was mentally unstable being able to purchase a gun and shooting, causing many deaths and injuries, there was no change, or even major discussion in government about changing the laws regarding guns, and instead the main discussion to come out of this event was about the possible restriction of violent political imagery. The fact that the shooter is deemed to be mentally unfit to stand trial, but was still allowed to buy a gun displaying the lack of restrictions regarding gun control in America is shown in the following article in the Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rep-louise-slaughter/unfit-to-stand-trial-yet_b_867128.html
Therefore the NRA website which attempts to display the positives for allowing Americans to own guns, protecting their constitutional rights represents the aspect of contemporary America in which they still live by the American constitution, despite the problems it can be linked to.
In conclusion, the NRA website represents the defence of the American constitution and patriotism, which I believe are two main aspects of contemporary America.
Wednesday, 18 May 2011
This article, published in January of this year, focuses on the developments made concerning Sino (China)-U.S relations since Obama's last visit to China since November 2009 that, it states 'until [that] week [had] been perhaps the worst [...] in two decades [...] since the Tiananmen incident of 1989.' A meeting between presidents Barack Obama and Hu Jintao succeeded in 'stabilising the world's most important relationship.'
A key determining factor seems to be a necessity for both parties to restart positive, pro-active discourse and 'reset the tone.' The summit seemingly lead to a 'detailed joint statement [seen as] a step in the right direction, setting out common positions and perspectives on a range of issues.' More contemporary issues were discussed such as intelligence services, internal security and the Chinese military. They appeared to agree on issues surrounding human rights, with President Hu accepting that a lot still needs to be done.
The United States has the world's largest economy, with China having the second largest. The two countries are major trade partners and have two major common interests - the fight against terrorism and the spread of nuclear weapons (nuclear proliferation). The act of recognising the fact that 'full respect and dignity befitting the leader of the world’s second largest economy' should be given to President Hu by the American side seems implicit in the development of the 41 point statement agreed by both sides.
This is an article on American-Chinese relations from the foreign policy magazine website. The article suggests that 'the world's most important bilateral relationship' has already reached it's peak. It explains that the Chinese leader; Hu Jintao was unwilling to form a G2, similar to the current G8 including the USA, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Canada and Japan, and the G20 which includes 20 of the top major economies. The article goes on to suggest the relationship between America and China will only begin to deteriorate form that point. Further suggestions made by the article are that China are unwilling to play a major role on the world stage, however that in the years to come their role will have to grow.
At the end of the article it includes an interesting figure which says 44% of Americans believe China is now the world leading economic power, with only 27% believing it is America who is the leading economic power.
This commemorative video for the events of 9/11, posted exactly 5 years after the attack, does not just pay it's respect to the people and the families of the people who died in attack, it also in part pays tribute and remembers the fire fighters and rescue services who risked their lives to save the people trapped in the two building as well as pays tribute to the people of New York who were also victim of the 9/11 attacks. The video ends with a speech given in the wake of the attack which enforces the idea to the people of America that they have to stick together, with the final words being ''we are going to live our lives as Americans''.
Tuesday, 17 May 2011
The above article on the Chinese – American relationship is from a website called American Manufacturing. As it was created on the 1st January 2011 it is up to date with most of the current issues.
Throughout the article, the writer is bias towards America, as the reasons he states for China’s continued rise to power is through “ill-gotten gains” such as trading with anyone despite their intentions or due to America’s treatment of China such as negotiating a weak-deal when China entered the World Trade Organisation. He expands on this by stating many ways in which China have benefited from America such as President Nixon opening relations with China during the Cold War. This displays that he thinks because of previous Presidents trying to be friendly to China, or being to complacent over their potential, China are now serious competitors to America.
This shows bias however, as the author doesn’t mention at all the possibility of an American decline, which, along with China’s rise, would have allowed them to become serious competitors to America. By leaving this out, he is stating that due to America’s “friendly” relationship with China”, letting them getting away with things and not being strict with them, China are now powerful, and that if America starts treating China like any other country, and focuses on them as competitors, thewn America will soon become the only superpower once more.
Also, as expected from an article from American manufacturing, the manufacturing element is analysed, using facts such as “America losing 2.4 million manufacturing jobs and opportunities to China” and China about to pass America as the top manufacturing nation this year
In conclusion, the article believes that China have rose to dominance as a result of complacency on behalf of America, and gives China no credit for their rise therefore it displays bias. In regards to the future of the relationship, the author mentions Obama as being the President to change things, and that under his guidance, if America starts looking on China as serious competitors instead of having a friendly relationship with them, then America’s power will be restored.
Monday, 16 May 2011
The video found at the address above focuses on the 343 members of the New York Fire Department who lost their lives on September 11th 2001 attempting to save members of the public. Images of the horrendous attack on the World Trade Center towers are interspersed with more uplifting photos of the American flag, members of the FDNY and some people who were successfully rescued.
It is inevitably expected, and indeed evident, that the 11th of September 2001 is remembered solely for the two planes that struck the two towers in Manhatten and the office workers and plane passengers who lost their lives. It is therefore vital hat the message that this video promotes is highlighted - many people who would have surely been killed, survived due to the efforts of the members of the fire department. If it is at all possible, it is important to gain something positive from that horrendous day nearly ten years ago. This video salutes the 343 firemen and women who lost their lives in the attempt to save others.
Approximately 3000 people died on that day - a figure that would undoubtedly have been higher if it weren't for the efforts of the emergency services. By understanding the courage and bravery displayed on that day, it may be possible for a glimmer of positivity to come out of something so hideous. That day was surely the worst in American history, but the unity and sense of a collective cause has proven that the terrorists will never win.
This article depicts the relationship between America and China and claims that that relationship is worsening, even more so in the past two years. In 2008, it had a 'friendly' relationship when Hillary Clinton first stepped into office as Foreign Secretary. A year on from that, this article is written, claiming that the Chinese remain in refusal to change their ways. Through Chinese trade with immoral nations and their ways of censorship, they are far from the democracy of the United States. On paper, it is impossible for these two nations to have any sort of relationship, but growing American decline and huge growth of China as a country and economy means that it is vital for the two powers to have an amicable relationship.
Wednesday, 11 May 2011
This video focus's on the people lost in the 9/11 attacks more than the attacks themselves. Instead of the more popular theme in 9/11 memorial videos on Youtube where graphic and shocking images of the attacks are shown alongside emotive music, this video is more focused on the aftermath. It focuses on the families who have lost people close to them. The repeating line towards the end of the song “love will find a way” suggests the video is more promoting hopefulness in moving forward rather than wanting to incite revenge or hatred.
Crash is not a film to be watched in the background while making dinner or chatting to your friends. It is not an easy film to watch, a constant assault of emotional and thought provoking scenes which will require your full attention and enthusiasm. However if you let it, it will surely leave a lasting impression. Its message deals with racism, though not the kind of extreme racism that the word suggests, it deals with the kind of everyday preconceptions that are subconsciously made due to a persons ethnicity. In some cases it confirms these stereotypes, and in others it knocks them down. Yet in all cases it attempts to show how being a victim of race based preconceptions does not stop the victims making similar assumptions themselves. In some cases knowing that they are victims of racial prejudice can breed further prejudice on their part.
This is all put across through a series of interlinking stories, well written and interesting characters, often culminating in some very thought provoking and evocative scenes, extremely well acted throughout. My only criticism of the film would be its relentless pressing of the message its promotes which can sometimes come across as unrealistic in its unsubtly, and therefore somewhat counter productive. That said it is a unique and powerful film which might just change your perceptions of people.
Tuesday, 10 May 2011
This memorial video was created for the fifth anniversary of the September 11th attack on the US. It depicts what happened and the fall of the twin towers and pays respect to those who were killed and the service men and women who saved lives and many of whom of lost their own lives trying to save others. It commemorates the day when the world saw evil, but also celebrates the good in mankind.
The above commemorative video of 9/11 is divided into two parts. The first half of the video contains haunting background music and many pictures of the Twin Towers during the attack. News clips and pictures of people jumping out of the buildings are all shown. Therefore this segment of the video is meant to make you understand how horrific it would have been for the people in the Towers when they were attacked, knowing that they had little chance of survival.
However the second part of the video has music which seems upbeat and is very patriotic. Instead of pictures of the buildings under attack and of people dying, there are pictures of the memorial services for the victims, and people holding American flags. As a result this segment is supposed to make people think about the consequences of the attack and that Americans are all in this together , in the fight against the people who did this. The Eagle is also shown throughout, and with it being a symbol of America, it increases the sense of American patriotism during this part of the video
In conclusion this video was interesting as unlike the others I found it was divided into two parts, which both remember 9/11 differently. The first part defines it as a horrific act which caused so much terror, pain and death. The victims are remembered during this, especially the fear they must have felt, which is displayed by pictures of people jumping out of the building being shown. The second part defines it as an event which resulted in an increased sense of patriotism, and that an attack on the 9/11 towers was an attack on the whole country. The patriotic symbols such as the Eagle and American flag portray this feeling, with the war in Iraq being a result of this terrorist attack against America.
Monday, 9 May 2011
The lack of awareness (one could argue ignorance) prevents the characters from seeing past skin colour, living conditions and material possessions. A well-off white woman (Sandra Bullock) flinches when she sees two black men in the street and with no valid reason accuses a Hispanic locksmith of being a gang member. The frustration of a white police officer (Matt Dillon) is intensified when he realises the health coordinator who he is talking to on the phone to get help for his sick father is named Shaniqua. And two black men, shown outwardly as crooks, who insist on not stealing from black people, hijack a car thought to be owned by a typically wealthy white person, before realising it is actually being driven by an Africa-American (Terence Dashon Howard).
As the film progresses, characters from different racial groups find themselves forced together and linked by occurring events, largely out of their control. A degree of realisation takes place, amongst all the characters, with Bullock's character, for instance, eventually realising that her Hispanic housekeeper is actually her only "real friend" as the film draws to a close. Dillon's police officer, portrayed largely as an overt racist, abuser of power and hot-head, is seen not only rescuing the light-skinned wife of Howard's character, who he had previously humiliated by performing an invasive body search for a simple traffic violation, from a burning car, but also caring for his ill father, perhaps explaining (albeit not excusing) his racist behaviour. We, as viewers, begin to understand the reasons WHY certain characters behave the way that they do, through the depiction of the ideological mindset, with the plot progressing and the characters developing enough to break down the prejudices that set up and define the film.
By incorporating a relatively diverse range of cultures into one setting, the subtle levels of racism can be explored, with the ramifications for the individual, along with the families portrayed. The film in no way will rid the world of racist behaviour, but I do not think it ever thought that it could. It does, however, begin to open a world up to people that they may never have seen before. Awareness is raised, and progress is made. It will not doubt leave the viewer with much to think about - with their own behaviour brought to the fore.
Saturday, 7 May 2011
In conclusion, the film crash is extremely powerful, showing the problems and affects of racism with characters that seem like they could be real. As a result of most of the characters lives interlocking with each other at least once, the affects of racism and their actions can be clearly seen, which makes it an even more powerful and emotional film. Although there are many critics of the film such as David White who said that “it’s really funny when Hollywood decides to tackle a serious moral issue and throw star-powered weight behind something that everyone but Neo-Nazi’s agrees on already.” This, in my opinion is the exact type of person Crash is aimed at, someone who believes that racism hardly exists outside the extremely racist groups. I feel that the film Crash is trying to show people that racism is still rife, however minor, in American cities, even well known places such as Los Angeles, and only when people know it still goes on and change their actions because it is wrong, will it finally be gone.
Wednesday, 4 May 2011
The main idea behind the teachings of Kabbalah from the Kabbalah centre is that goodness is the key to life and our aim in life to fell fulfilled, through happiness, rather than just short flashes of happiness. The teachings stem from Jewish teachings of Kabbalah but has become some what of a belief system of it’s own. They believe that following the teachings of Kabbalah will lead to a fulfilled life.
Tuesday, 3 May 2011
Monday, 2 May 2011
The website http://www.800padutch.com/amish.shtml (The Pennsylvania Dutch Country Welcome Center) examines the idea and views of the Amish and looks at how such a group can exist in today's modern world.
Mennonites (a group of which the Amish is are a part) are part of a Christian denomination, known as the Anabaptists ("re-baptisers.") They typically do not believe in traditional Christian practices (wearing wedding rings or taking oaths for example) but do believe in the literal translation of the Sermon on the Mount and the idea that baptism can only take place as an adult as one has to be able to understand what it means to be a Christian and provide their own declarations of faith.
The Amish are very family and community-orientated, believing that a large family is a gift from God. There seem two key concepts intrinsic to the Amish belief system - somewhat of a rejection of pride or arrogance and an importance weighted on calmness and placidity, better understood perhaps as "letting go" or "submission." This second idea links directly to the Amish's insistence to fight progress and resist modern technology. They reject any labour-savving technology which would potentially lead to less dependence on the community.
America is seen as a modern, progressive society - potentially the epitome of Western ideals and advances. The Amish shun such progression and therefore go against typically-American values surrounding individualism and advancement. It seems ironic therefore that their continued presence and relative success help define America as a land of extremes and reaffirm the positive sense that people do not have to fit in with an "ideal norm" to survive.
Tuesday, 26 April 2011
On the above website, it says that the Native American church was founded by Quanah Parker in the 1890s. It also says that “The Native American Church is the only representative of the North American Indigenous Culture that is recognized by the United States Government and the United Nations as an Earth and healing based religion”. This represents a mixture of American identity. As they represent the religion of the Native Americans, which were a large part of the American identity in the past but are also recognized by the government which is part of the current American identity.
They believe in spirits and honor “grandmother earth, grandfather sky and all their descendants “As it is an earth based religion, many of their ceremonies use natural herbs and medicines, especially peyote which seems to form a large part of their ceremonies and beliefs as their founder was saved and had a religious experience when using peyote
Another example is that on the homepage they say that they welcome anyone of any race, gender, social class etc and is also a part of “many faiths one family” which incorporates may other religions such as Sikh, Quakers and Islam. It also uses Christian symbols such as the cross in their ceremonies. This defines faith as part of the American identity, as it consists of many different beliefs and religions, which is similar to the immigrant identity of America, with people of all different nationalities coming over to live in one place.
In conclusion The Native American Church defines the American identity as that of the Native Americans to respect the Earth, and worship the spirits that created it. This is a contrast to the events in America happening currently and in the last century, with development of large cities etc, removing the green sprawling land which covered America before the settlers arrived. Therefore the Native American church represents the old American identity which their ancestors believed in, compared to the Present day where looking after the land is no longer a number one priority and is not a part of their identity anymore.
Tuesday, 22 March 2011
Sunday, 20 March 2011
Wednesday, 16 March 2011
This first website is for an article that outlines the beliefs of many Mexican people today. The main body of the article consists of statistics regarding the view of Mexican people on the rights Mexican people have to enter America. These statistics show that a higher proportion of Mexican people believe Mexican people have the right to enter the United States without permission from the US. A further statistic shows a high proportion of Mexican people believe the South West region of the United States rightfully belong to Mexico which would suggest why they believe they have the right to enter the country without US permission. This belief can be traced back to the Mexican-American war of the mid-19th Century. During this time American expansion was moving westwards to expand the countries borders 'from sea to shining sea.' Following a revolt in Texas, which at the time was part of Mexico, a treaty was signed to give Texas it's freedom.
Tuesday, 15 March 2011
Above is an article on Latino immigration and in particular the struggles the legal Latino population have as a result of the clampdown in illegal immigrants.
The main point the article attempts to convey is that legal immigrants are being discriminated against, and are being asked regularly to prove their US civilian status just because they are Latino as opposed to because people having actual evidence to suspect them . There are also reports of people being afraid to leave the country because they may not be allowed back in, legal citizens are being deported just because of their heritage and many illegal home raids were being performed.
The information does paint a vivid picture of the problems that legal Latino-American citizens are having as a result of the illegal immigrant population of the U.S. In my opinion this is very wrong and racist, as valid Latino-Americans are being discriminated against and treated differently from other citizens just because of the actions of other Latino people. The information on the illegal house raids I found especially interesting as it says that agents owning the wrong type of warrant, illegally break into the houses of targets and interrogate them, even though most of the raids end without arrest. Although this article is pro Latino immigration and there is no real evidence to back up the information on the house raids. If it is true, it seems to me that the frustrations that many Americans are feeling as a result of the large illegal immigrant population, is being taken out on people with Latino heritage and that they are all treated as guilty despite most having done nothing wrong.
Above is an article on the topic of whether an amnesty should be given to illegal immigrants or not. This article is a stark contrast to my previous article, as instead of looking at the struggles of Latinos’ living in America with sympathy, this article is totally against an amnesty and wants to send every illegal immigrant back to where they came from. The main point raised is that illegal immigrants should not be rewarded for successfully getting into the United States ,a nd that if an amnesty was given it would encourage many more people to try and make it over the border. The other point the writer makes is that instead of offering an amnesty, a huge effort should be made to rid the country of every illegal immigrant, which is easier said than done. He also argues that if the amnesty was for illegal’s who had lived in the country a certain amount of time, then many could easily fake documents etc to be able to receive an amnesty, as they had already broken the law to get into the country in the first place.
In conclusion, i agree with both articles, although the second article has an extreme view that every illegal should be ejected from USA regardless of circumstances, the point he makes about it being unfair for an amnesty to be offered is well made an plausible, however I also agree with the first article, as Latinos living legally in the United States should not be punished or discriminated against just because there are Latinos living in the country illegally.
This website is anti-illegal immigration. The Arizona Police Department deal with front line issues concerning Mexican illegals in Arizona, they are a good source to consider when looking at crime rates concerned with immigration. Especially when it comes to issues like drug dealing and smuggling. According to the APA, in 2008, 81,860 people were smuggled across the border, only 685 were then caught and deported. SB1070 allows police to ask for proof of identity when someone is stopped by police in order to try to catch illegal immigrants without correct paper work.
Court Rulings mean that only some of SB1070 can come into affect, this includes sections such as agencies are not permitted to prevent federal immigration law from coming into effect. Knowingly hiring illegal aliens is also against SB1070. The sections pending include the law for all persons to carry correct identification paperwork such as green cards or visas.
Illegal Immigration is a crime, and does lead to other crime. With illegal border crossing from Mexico comes smuggling of people and drugs and becomes a drain on society when those illegals attempt to filter into American society.
This website is anti-SB1070 as it "opens the door to racial profiling." The website claims SB1070 to not be the answer to Arizona's illegal immigration problem, stating the law to be an abuse of power. According to the website, the law undermines the freedom that is seen as so sacred to Americans. However, it is un-American for the Federal Government to step in and undermine the State laws. SB1070 is the State Government's answer to illegal immigration in order to attempt to prevent it or at least reduce illegal immigration. They have been heavily judged by the media and Federal Government for their decisions. Federal Government are out of touch with what is going on in South-Western States, so how is it someone in Washington can decide on issues for Arizona?
According to the introductory page of the website above, 'the NALEO Educational Fund is the nation's leading non-profit, non-partisan organization that facilitates the full participation of Latinos in the American political process, from citizenship to public service.'
The website has a number of opinions / plans of action that the organisation wants to be put in place, so the examples I have briefly summarised below:
- Election reform: The NALEO feel that it is vital that the Latino electorate have easy access to the electoral process, with focus being made on the accessibility of the process - the idea that bilingual pollworkers should be employed to lessen the negative effect of the language barrier.
- Health: The site recognises that the majority of Latinos have no or little healthcare provisions. They insist that ' state legislators, as stewards of state government, [should] oversee a vast range of health care systems and serve in key decision making roles to address policy issues related to healthcare...'
- Education: The point is made that any Latino child should have access to the same level of education as anyone else in America. The site wants educational leaders to expand and develop their skills to meet the requirements of Latino children, be this acknowledging potential cultural clashes in the classroom or accepting changes in the dynamic to personally keep teachers 'informed and focused on [their] objectives [as education suppliers].'
The website acknowledges that immigration has always been a key factor in the country, indeed that America is built upon a mergence of cultures, and that the practice of immigration will not go away. The organisation feels that any legal citizen, specifically the Latino minority, should have the same rights as anyone else. One of the key quotes seems to be 'Our nation continues to be enriched by the wealth of talent and skills Latinos bring to public service.'
The progress made by the Latino community is highlighted by the accomplishments made by some in high-power positions:
- In 1996, there were six Latinos serving as state officials. As of 2005, there are nine serving as state officials.
-In 1996, there were no Latinos serving in the U.S. Senate. In 2006, there are three Latinos serving in Congress’ upper chamber. ....for example.
Before the most recent Census, the organisation was keen to ensure that the Latino population was accurately calculated, as a way of, I'm sure, recognising the vast numbers and making provisions accordingly, and acknowleding the positive role they play in society.
Anti-Latino Immigration: Sharron Angle.
Waves of illegal aliens streaming across our border, joining violent gangs, forcing families to live in fear. And what's Harry Reid doing about it? Voting to give illegal aliens social security benefits, tax breaks and college tuition, voting against declaring English as our national language twice and even siding with Obama and the President of Mexico to block Arizona's tough new immigration law. Harry Reid: it's clear whose side he's on...and it's not yours.
Sharron Angle ran unsuccessfully as the 2010 Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate seat in Nevada, garnering 45% of the vote and this is one of her political adverts that has caused much controversy.
The main arguments surrounding the advert seem to be centred around the incitement of fear, an "us versus them" situation (with the "us" clearly being depicted by white people only.) There are many videos reacting to this ad., but the one that I feel summarises the negative opinion the best, potentially echoing sentiments of the "everyday voter" came on the U.S daytime debate/discussion show 'The View' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5QcQimu9Mw
...it has to do with the immigration law and the fear of illegal immigrants...you're not showing a bunch of Asian people being scared of the Russians coming over...it's all white people in the ad. ... [even] from a Republican perspective I think it's pushing the limits of what's right...it's using little kids to create fear...a knee jerk reaction with people seeing that and voting for her in fear of the incumbent...I'd like to see her do this ad. in the South Bronx...come to New York and do it
Wednesday, 9 March 2011
Tuesday, 8 March 2011
Jill Scott is a successful African-American singer and above is a link to her column in an edition of essence, which is a magazine, aimed at African-American women.
Her article is about interracial dating and how she was appalled that one of her friends had married a white woman. I found this interesting, as views like this were common in the videos I looked at featuring Black Panther members etc, and although they had an obviously more extremist view on black separatism than Jill, her view can still be attributed to being a supporter of African American separatism as she doesn’t want black people to marry white people. The fact that she said this is even more surprising that she is a successful woman who seems to be constantly in the limelight of the American public and therefore isn’t the typical type of person who would make controversial views like this as they may be worried about it affecting their status and music sales.
In the article she states that she “winced” when she found out that one of her African-American friends married a black woman. She says that she felt this because of the history of slavery in America, and as in the past a black man could be killed for looking at a white woman, it is now a betrayal of his ancestors to marry someone who isn’t black. This shows a total refusal to acknowledge how times have changed since slavery in America, and although there obviously is still racism around in present day America, it should still be seen as a step forward for the attitude in the country that black people can freely marry white women and most people aren’t bothered at all. Instead, Jill seems to want to focus on the racism in America fifty years ago, rather than acknowledging that times have changed and embracing the fact that people can marry whoever they want regardless of skin colour. Despite her defence of her view, saying that it isn’t separatist, I feel that it obviously is, and that just because it isn’t a more drastic view, such as total separatism, then she is allowed to say these things, and that if a white woman was to say that white men shouldn’t marry black women, there may have been a lot more uproar than there was over Jill Scott’s article.
Also below is a video of Jill Scott defending her views in a news interview.
Such a mergence of multiple cultures and the origins of an all-Black-encompassing group seems rooted in the slave trade. The article states that '[s]laveholders deliberately mixed together slaves of diverse linguistic and tribal backgrounds in order to minimize their ability to communicate and make common cause.' As a response to this, the African slaves, with very diverse backgrounds, learnt to communicate in a unified way, 'bridging ethnic differences' and therefore uniting against one common enemy - white people. Nevertheless, there were differing views on how Black Nationalism should be practised in contemporary America. Some Separatists insisted on a designated territory - some sort of territorial base, whereas others "merely" wanted separate establishments in American society - churches, cemetaries, restaurants and so on.
The article continues, discussing a collective sense of "Black Pride" that should be held dear and strived to maintain. Many Black Nationalists have views, for instance, on "Black Beauty," whereby they are critical of 'black acceptance of white standards' - the examples of straightening one's hair, or craving a lighter skin tone are given. It is not mentioned here, but Whitney Houston was openly criticised when she first became successful in the mid-late 1980s for pandering to white ideals, specifically around her style of music, with many critics likening some of her early hits to being "typically white." 'Black disc jockeys have chided her for "not having soul" and being "too White."' ('Ebony' magazine - May 1991: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1077/is_n7_v46/ai_10640593/ ) As we know, there was also controversy concerning Michael Jackson's drastic change in appearance. "In the 1960s, the phrase "Black is Beautiful" was coined, in conjunction with the infamous "Black Power."
The most forthright and outspoken advocates of Separatism were advocates of emigration or colonisation. The only way in which African-Americans could succeed was through the establishment of all-black settlements, totally going against the idea of assimilation. 'In 1815, for example, Paul Cuffe led a group of 38 African Americans to found a settlement in Sierra Leone,' with the idea of potentially laying the foundations for an independent black state.
It is important to realise that Black Nationalists agree on the needs for separation from white people, but the extent to which they agree differs greatly.
Wednesday, 2 March 2011
This website features an article which outlines the reasons for large scale immigration during the 19th and early 20th century. The article is split up into industrialization and immigration but both make links between the two processes. The article appears to present America as a sort of safe haven for the immigrants who came from Europe who were fleeing religious and political persecution. The article also presents the positive effects the growth in industrialization had on the immigrants. The article then briefly mentions at the end the negative effects of the large growth in immigration which was the over stretched resources like housing and employment.
The article appears to present a positive view of immigration to students. It does also give a balanced view of America as a result of immigration as it gives the negative attitudes some Americans had for example the racial, religious and ethnic prejudice some immigrants experienced as well as the inability of some cities to cater for the amount of immigrants that came over which resulted in over crowding with some families of saw 5 or 6 living in a single room. It also meant there was not enough jobs to cater for the large amounts of immigrants that came over. It also shows the persecution some Asian immigrants experienced at the hands of some Anti-Asian people towards the West of America.
In conclusion, I think it is good that the author has presented both positive and negative aspects of immigration in relation to the image of America. The article presents America as both this safe haven and this country who is willing to help immigrants, as well as the inability of America to cater for the immigrants.
Tuesday, 1 March 2011
Waterford high school
By looking at the American studies curriculum on the Waterford high school website, I eventually found a section on immigration. Although immigration is mentioned, it seems to be a very small part of their history curriculum. Despite this, by looking at the essential questions listed that they expect their students to know after study, it seems to me that they just look at how immigrants were viewed by Americans at the start of the 19th century. An example of this is that it says in the school’s curriculum that they have to “compare the historical attitudes towards old and new immigrants.” Although this would involve looking into the discrimination the immigrants to America suffered, which would give the students an idea of how hard it was to be a successful American immigrant at that time, it leaves out other critical points such as how hard the lives of immigrants were in America just to survive day to day as a result of things such as poverty
In conclusion, it was hard to find a school which devoted a large part of their curriculum to immigration, as shown in the case of Waterford high school. The fact that they only seem to spend a small amount of time on immigration means that a lot of the main points concerning it are left uncovered, and although Waterford High school focus on how immigrants were viewed by Americans, it leaves out the worst details such as the poor day to day lives most immigrants had. This leads me to believe that the curriculum is heavily biased as topics which show America in a good light such as the world wars are covered deeply, yet topics which show America in a negative light, such as the treatment of American immigrants are either totally ignored or only looked at for a small period of time.
The website tracks the history of Europeans coming to the island, previously known as Gull Island until purchased by Samuel Ellis. The students outline many facts and dates about contruction, architecture and cost. However contains little about the reality of Ellis Island, it fails to mention, many travellers who failed the '29 Question' Test or Medical Tests were sent back to wherever they came from.
In 1882, it claims that surveyers were brought in to assess the condition of the great hall and there were many damages and the building needed many repairs. However, this was not seen as sufficient spending of public money so nothing was done. In 1954 Ellis Island was shut down by the US Government, it is now open as a Museum.
The teacher notes featured on this page show that the pupils should have a modicum of awareness of the historical events, specifically in relation to the peaks of immigrant entry to America and the reasons why, with the 1840s and 1850s quoted. There are some figures given (the increase in population of New York City for instance), linked to specific events in given countries of origin - notably the Irish Potato Famine. The impact of World War I is mentioned, highlighting a decrease in the number of immigrants right up until the late 1940s.
Contemporary issues are then introduced, with more recent trends being highlighted - 'The current phase of immigration history began in 1965, when strict quotas based on nationality were eliminated. In 1978, the United States government set a single annual world quota of 290,000, and this ceiling was raised again in 1990 to 700,000. During the 1990s, immigrants have arrived at a pace that at times has exceeded one million new arrivals per year, and have settled in all parts of the country.'
Under the title of 'Issues to Consider,' the underlying sentiment seems to be that America cannot sustain a decent quality of living for the numbers of people entering for a better life. The hostilities caused by the many language barriers and differing social conventions and customs are mentioned, with one of the questions that pupils are required to discuss being 'How many immigrants should we continue to admit?'
It is worth noting some of the language that is used. The pupils can openly refer to immigrants as 'aliens' - admittedly, this term is used more openly in America when discussing this subject, but the negative connotations cannot really be ignored. One could argue that some of the language used is quite heavily loaded.
This particular scheme is intended for pupils in the 11th grade (aged 16-17) and they are further encouraged to research a little into the policy/legislation/legal debate surrounding this issue: 'For these reasons, it is essential that we examine current policies in order to assess whether they best serve the interests of both American citizens and of those immigrants who arrive with the belief that opportunities for a good life will be available here...'
The ways in which the pupils are assessed vary, with one of the key sections involving a debate whereby pupils take on a particular stance - they are actively encouraged to research extreme points of view (on both sides of the debate), which will develop their level of research. The primary assessment, however, seems to be concerned with identifying key historical trends in immigration levels, linking to key historic events and legislation (post-1875), with a comparison made to modern day, contemporary issues. The questions the pupils are asked to consider do seem to concern the modern day situation in the main, with the questions posed showing a slight bias, in my opinion, encouraging pupils to come to the conclusion that immigration, rightly or wrongly, needs to be curtailed.
Wednesday, 23 February 2011
Tuesday, 22 February 2011
They did, and still very much do, believe in striving to work hard, with success and survival their just rewards for hard work and high levels of productivity. '"Work hard so that people will respect you" was the counsel of (their) elders.' Historically, in the harsher winters, they survived due to their prudent reserves, harvested in more habitable climates. For years, three branches of tribal groups lived together, with everything that they needed to survive contained in the area that they inhabited. Things changed in the nineteenth century, however, when 'in 1826 Peter Skeen Ogden, a fur trapper from the Hudson's Bay Company, was the first white man to leave his footprints on (their) lands.' The website goes on to show a distinct level of dismay and anger when highlighting the effect of thousands of white settlers 'leaving their marks on the lands and the Klamath Tribes.' Decades of hostility seemingly occurred after 1826, resulting in the eventual loss of 23 million acres of Klamath Tribal land in 1864. They entered what is dubbed "The Reservation Era" but did still 'retain rights to hunt, fish and gather in safety on the lands reserved for (them) "in perpetuity."'
The picture painted about living on the reservation is actually surprisingly positive. It is shown that many members of the tribe took advantage of the new economic opportunities such as cattle ranching (which is still a key part of their activities today), with many people also taking up vocational training that was offered, and ending up with jobs at the Fort Klamath military post. In their words, 'The quest for economic self-sufficiency was pursued energetically and with determination by Tribal members' seemingly in any way that became available.
Times moved on and eventually, in 1954, the Klamath Tribes lost their federal recognition. The Klamath Termination Act was passed, and along with losing their federal recognition and all the associated supplemental human services, their 1.8 million acre reservation was also taken. However, just over thirty years later in 1986, they successfully regained federal recognition for their tribes. The land base was not returned to them and were encouraged instead to find ways to regain their 'economic self-sufficiency.'
Today, this strive for self-sufficiency has seemingly paid off. The tribe has approximately 3500 members and contributes 'about $25 million per annum to Klamath County's economy.'
"The mission of the Klamath Tribes is to protect, preserve, and enhance the spiritual, cultural, and physical values and resources of the Klamath, Modoc, and Yahooskin Peoples, by maintaining the customs and heritage of our ancestors. To establish a comprehensive unity by fostering the enhancement of spiritual and cultural values through a government whose function is to protect the human and cultural resources, treaty rights, and to provide for the development and delivery of social and economic opportunities for our People through effective leadership."
Monday, 21 February 2011
The above website is about the Seminole Tribe which have six reservations throughout Florida.
The first piece of text you see on the website’s homepage states that “The Seminole Tribe of Florida is a Federally Recognized Indian Tribe, the only tribe in America who never signed a peace treaty”. That this is the first piece of information on the home page shows that the Seminoles have great pride in the fact that their ancestors did not make any deals with the government and therefore chose to keep fighting This fighting spirit is also shown throughout the history section of the website, which displays facts such as, when the military actions against the Seminole tribe finally ended, it was most costly military campaign in the young country's history. Headings in this section such as “No Surrender!” and “Survival in the Swamp”, shows that the Seminole tribe want to display that their tribe didn’t give up and fought until they were overwhelmed. This therefore could indicate shame towards the other Native American tribes which did eventually sign treaties with the government and stopped fighting.
"This never give up spirit is once again shown on the website, in this case in the sections which talk about the current situation of the Seminole tribe and what they are trying to achieve in the future. These days, the battleground is often a courtroom, where the Seminole Tribe has proved a vigorous defender of its sovereignty. The proud, "unconquered" Seminole Tribal community remains, as always, a valuable legacy of Florida's rich and diverse heritage and a national leader among American Indian tribes striving for self-reliance. "
This paragraph taken from “the future” section of the site shows that the Seminole tribe are still fighting the government even if it doesn’t involve actually physical combat. An example of this is that they won the legal challenges which were made against their gaming which the Seminole people believe “opened the door for dozens of other American tribes to follow suit” and therefore gave them the opportunity to make a fortune. This amongst other things such as in 1967 Betty Mae Jumper of the Seminole tribe was the elected to the position of chair, making her the first woman to occupy this position in any tribe in North America, reinforces their statement that the tribe is at the fore-front of Native American Tribes Finally it is interesting that in the above paragraph the Seminole people call their tribe “unconquered” and make repeated statements that their tribe defends their customs etc yet the Seminole people have a good standard of living as a result of their hotels and gaming enterprises. Some people would view this as the Seminole tribe turning their back on their customs and community and therefore being “conquered”, not by the Americans they fought nearly two hundred years ago, but by the desire for money and to have a decent modern lifestyle
In conclusion, the Seminole website presents its tribe as being a type of role model and standard bearer for other North American Tribes. This comes across in the way they present their history and current situation, by repeating the acts of defiance their ancestors took part in, such as refusing to sign a treaty with the government, and the way their tribe has progressed, through winning landmark battles in court and by electing women as important members of the tribe.
This website evaluates the Apache Tribe today, a web page is a very modern form of communication for Native Americans when we look back at their history and connection with nature. Fort Apache is a reservation, this must not be forgotten when viewing the website. This is an area of land designated for Native American people to live on, away from civilised society. When the Europeans settled America they drove the native people off of the land and used up many of the resources of the natives who lived off of the land.
The website actually advertises tourism and visits to the reservation. It promotes family trips and outdoor activities such as camping and white river rafting. Arizona is a beautiful state year-round and is a very popular place to visit. However we do not think of an Indian Reservation as a holiday resort. It is almost ironic to imagine the poverty and hardship of Native Americans juxtaposed with a resort for tourists, but that is a popular way to earn money. Many Native Americans succeed in the tourist industry.
Alongside family activities, there is a casino, a very American Indian dominated business. This also has some irony, as they are a tribal culture who live off the land, are at peace with nature and lived quite simplistic lives. However, in modern America, people must do what they can to survive.
Wednesday, 16 February 2011
However, is this a negative statistic? Girls do well in schools, therefore earning their place in Universities rather than being born into the right gender for higher education. Women still do not have equal pay in the workplace and often still experience the glass ceiling. Which is something difficult to perceive in the modern world.
Williams feels that, "In a post-modern world lacking clear-cut borders and distinctions, it has been difficult to know what it means to be a man and even harder to feel good about being one." Gender roles still have some truth, and for many men, being the provider is still a very important role, many would feel de-masculated if their wives earned more or 'kept them'. Although many are happy to earn an equal amount and most families today find it a necessity to both work and contribute to house payments and bills. There are not many working adults who could afford to run a family home alone. So does it really matter if he has to change a few nappies or feed babies as well as have a career?