Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Contemporary America.

The website I have chosen to represent contemporary America is google.com. I believe it represents the want and need for convenience many America aim for today. America is country where everything and anything is available nearly 24/7 for most of the American people, 24 hour fast food drive throughs like Mcdonalds and KFC, 24 hour supermarkets and shops, many companies work 24/7 to get the latest magazine on the shelves or the newest toy out sooner. What ever the time, you are very likely to be able to get what ever you need when ever you like. With google you are able to search almost anything and find out anything you want. You can type almost anything and it will come back with millions of results that somehow reflect what you searched for. For example if i was to type America into google 1.28 trillion results come back and i am able to search through millions of websites to do with America. 

America also represents the biggest and most successful things in the world. Not only does America have one of the largest land area, but it also has one of the largest populations, one of the largest economies, the most successful companies and businesses, the most successful people, celebrities, musician etc. and google.com is no different. Google is one of the most visited websites, if not the most visited website in the world, with close competition from websites like facebook.com and youtube.com which are also American based websites. 

Monday, 23 May 2011

contemporary America

http://www.nra.org/home.aspx

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

U.S - China relations

http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/us-chinese-relations-new-direction-part-i

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.


The article I have chosen is a useful source in highlighting the building rivalry between America and China. The issue is that with China's cheap labour and other factors mean that Chinese companies are quickly becoming a large threat to America's companies. This is why smaller business's such as the sock makers Wigwam Mills inc. will go to great lengths to keep their Chinese rivals from getting an advantage over them technologically, by not allowing even unused equipment be sold to Chinese companies. Most people seem to see the blame as landing on the American Government and multinational corporations for the problems and for not doing anything about it when they could. Now predictions suggest that America's economy will continue to decline, as China's continues to rise. The reasons for the larger corporations allowing this to happen could simply be down to the amount of money they make from their interests in China. "Only last week, Yum Brands Inc, the owner of the KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell fast food restaurants, reported its operating profit was 75 percent greater in China than in the U.S. in the first quarter." This coupled with China's constant desire for expansion means that in the long term America's economy seems set to lose out.

American-Chinese relations.

http://eurasia.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/01/05/top_risk_1_turbulence_in_us_chinese_relations

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.

9/11 commemoration video.




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

American - Chinese Relationship

http://www.americanmanufacturing.org/blog/changing-our-dysfunctional-relationship-china

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

9/11 Tribute video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vqLMAOxw8Q

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.

The Relationship Beteween the US and China

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/7130310/Analysis-the-worsening-relationship-between-America-and-China.html

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

9/11 Memorial Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oj-GkDJpr2Y

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.

9/11 memorial video



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

Review of 'Crash'

'Crash,' a 2004 film directed by Paul Haggis, centres on racial tensions in Los Angeles. Characters from multiple races feature, with seemingly equal screen-time given to whites, Persians, African-Americans and Hispanics with a small focus on a Korean couple. The characters are drawn together by events that unfold over a mere twenty-four hour time period, with each one being guilty of, or indeed a victim of, racism. Racial preconceptions are examined, with them gradually being broken down and revealed as misconceptions.

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

Crash film review

Crash is a film released in 2004 and directed by Paul Haggis. The characters are from different backgrounds and races in order to represent the widespread make up of the American population. From the start of the film is clear that racism is the main subject as most of the characters perform at least one act of racism, either minor or major throughout the course of the film. As the film employs an ensemble cast, each character has roughly the same amount of screen time allowing us to see the actions they perform and what happens as a result. By doing this, it shows that every act of racism and similar hateful acts have a consequence such as the black woman refusing to be rescued out of a burning car by a white cop because he had sexually molested her earlier in the film. The film also attacks racial stereotypes, showing how wrong they are. This is displayed in a scene in which a white woman played by Sandra Bullock wanted her locks changed again even though they had just been changed, because she thought that the Hispanic locksmith was a gang member, it eventually turned out that he was a devoted husband and father. Another point was to show the hypocrisy which people can show in regards to race. This is portrayed by the relationship between two white cops, where the younger of the two was so appalled at the racism the other one took part in that he decided to patrol the city on his own. However, he ends up assuming that the young black man in his car was going to shoot him, so he killed him, when in fact the black man didn’t have a gun, making him an even worse person that the person he was appalled at.

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 Kabbalah Centre

http://www.kabbalah.com/

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.

The website outlines 5 key principles of Kabbalah;
·        Sharing is the purpose of life
·        Awareness and prevention of our ego
·        Awareness of the laws of cause and effect
·        We are all one
·        Feeling uncomfortable for others can bring positive light to our lives.
The website explains that following these 5 key teachings will lead to a feeling of fulfilment in out lives.

The Kabbalah Centre claims to teach universal principles that apply to all faiths and religions. The website explains that they teach people the tools to understand the world and understand why things happen to you. These teachings can possibly bring together people and groups of different religions. This idea of many groups coming together is the basis of American identity; the coming together and mixture of many different cultures and religions.

Madonna, journalist?Kabbalah has become known to many people because of the increasing amount of high profile celebrities that follow it. Celebrities such as Madonna, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and Gwyneth Paltrow have all been found to follow the teachings of the Kabbalah centre. They have also seen to wear red braided bracelets which are supposed to ward of looks of ‘evil eyes’. This has popularised the Kabbalah centre and it’s beliefs because celebrities are following it. Like many things celebrities do, Kabbalah can be seen as becoming fashionable.  

Although not one of the largest religious groups in America, Kabbalah has become known to many people, mainly as a result of it becoming a popular belief among high profile celebrities. However, it does have the possibility to bring together many different religions which is the basis of American identity. 


Tuesday, 3 May 2011


The Church of Ekankar is a very new religion originally founded in 1965 by Paul Twitchell. Its headquarters are based in Minnesota, USA. They seem to be loosely associated with Christianity in their references to "God" although they seem to see god as more of a nondescript divine being, rather than one associated with any particular faith. Interestingly they have adopted the Hindu and Buddhist ideas of reincarnation and Karma, believing in past lives and the idea that the soul continues to exist after the body is dead. The basic beliefs of this church are that light and sound ore gifts from god and that it is possible to traverse different plains of reality through soul travel.

They believe very much in the importance of family and especially children. They believe that children are important in that they have an innocence and a an unbiased outlook on the world which is lost by the time one reaches adulthood. Therefore they believe that there is a lot to be learned from children and they are an important part of their beliefs. This kind of focus on the family is a very American feature of the religion. As is the fact that membership requires a yearly donation of $130, or $160 for a family pass.

They don't seem to be confined to America however they seem to have followers all over the world, some as far as Asia and Africa. I terms of defining America, ECK certainly follows the American phenomenon of ordinary people creating their own religion, and then making money from it. The idea that if somebody doesn't like the religions that are on offer for them, they can simply create their own, is a very American one. Some of the more recent ones such as ECK seem to be moving away from any Christian affiliation and tend to be more spiritual beliefs, taking elements from lots of religions.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Religious Groups in America - Amish (Mennonites)

Religion in America is evidently very important to the majority of the population. Religion plays a part in everyday life for many Americans, with multiple, recognisable "extreme" religious groups synonymous with the country. One such religious group is the Amish Mennonites. The Amish are now mainly situated in the north-east of the United States, notably in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and southern New York as shown by the population map above. You can see they are starting to spread westwards into Indiana, Illonois and Missouri.

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

Religious Groups in America

Native American church

http://nativeamericanchurch.net/Native_American_Church/NATIVE_AMERICAN_CHURCH.html

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.

American Faith... The Mormons

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the official name of the religion commonly called the Mormon Church."


Mormons are very devout Christians, devoted to the Church and family life. They believe that every one of us are spirits who lived with God before birth and will live with him after we die, therefore our time on earth is God's test for us to experience the happiness and pain of living in a human body. During this time one must be devout to God and follow his rules in order to go to Heaven.


Mormons feel that the family is very important and many Mormon families will have a lot of children. They believe God arranges us into families for increased safety and happiness. Mormons tend to live in communities around their Church, it is a very community orientated religion, especially in Utah, we don't tend to find communities like this outside of America. In terms of American Identity, faith is important, it gives people an identity in a melting pot society. America is a young country and many search for historical identity, and find Jesus.


Extreme Christianity or devout religion in America can often be viewed with fear. The idea of devoting one's life to God and living within a very religious community is often suppressive in modern day. Many view the Mormon Church as a cult and a dangerous organisation to people's minds due to a somewhat controlling nature. The Mormon Church is a Missionary Church, it sends preachers around the world in order to share God's message and their Church's views with others. In such a modern country like America, it is incredible to find pockets of devout religious communities within it. Communities of people who reject America's commodity culture for the Church and family. In some senses this is a good thing, when so many question the lack of values in many people today. Often in America, we are left viewing the extremes within society.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

How the Garcia Girls lost their accent.

The two stories I am going to use are Antojos and Daughter of invention. 

garcia girls presentation

The two stories i'm choosing for my presentation are the rudy elmenhurst story and a regular revolution

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Stories for Presentation

The two stories I will look at for the presentation are 'The Four Girls' and 'Trespass.'

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Pro and Anti South West Border Control.

Pro Immigration
http://randysright.wordpress.com/2010/04/26/mexicans-say-southwest-u-s-belongs-to-them-shouldnt-need-permission-to-enter-u-s/

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.

Anti-Immigration.
http://www.americanimmigrationcontrol.com/

This link is to the website of the AIC, the Americans for Immigration Control, an organisation that are against illegal immigration from Mexico. They also believe illegal Mexican immigrants should be deported back to Mexico and increasing measures to prevent illegal immigrants from Mexico getting in to America. 

The two websites have obvious differences when approaching the issue of South west American immigration. An obvious difference is the language used when describing them. The AIC uses language like 'aliens' and 'sneak'. The language used by the AIC appears to dehumanize illegal immigrants from Mexico because using words like 'sneak' suggest animalistic type of behavior like a snake for example, they seem to be taking away the characteristics of the illegal immigrants that would make them appear inferior to an American. The same sort of language was used during the slave trade to justify the capturing of African people, who were described as savage, another animalistic term. The first website does not use any language like that used by the AIC. It also begins to justify Mexican immigration into America by explaining their beliefs. 

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Pro/Anti Latino immigration

Pro immigration

http://civilliberty.about.com/b/2009/08/04/latino-immigration-and-ethnic-profiling.htm

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.

Anti immigration

http://www.articlesbase.com/environment-articles/how-giving-amnesty-to-illegal-immigrants-is-the-wrong-thing-to-do-59117.html


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.

http://www.articlesbase.com/environment-articles/how-giving-amnesty-to-illegal-immigrants-is-the-wrong-thing-to-do-59117.html

South-West Border Immigration

Anti-Latino Immigration
http://www.azpolice.org/main.asp

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.

Pro-Latino Immigration
http://immigration.about.com/b/2010/04/24/sb1070-is-not-the-answer.htm

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?

Pro and Anti Latino Immigration to the United States

Pro-Latino Immigration: http://www.naleo.org/ National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO)

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.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wdcxvP4tyE

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

African-American Separatism.


http://www.noi.org/muslim_program.htm


This link is to the list of requests by the Nation of Islam, an organisation set up to assist African American people  in becoming independent and to improve the social, economic and mental condition of African American people.  

On their website they have a list of 10 request some of which are asking for equality and freedom, for example their first request is that they want complete freedom. This can be seen as perfectly understandable, however, it doesn’t say to what extend they want freedom, they say complete freedom, but does that mean freedom from punishment, freedom from the laws of America? They do not specify to what extent they demand freedom too.

Another request they make is for equal education, that on it’s own is understandable, however, their idea of equal education is for African American children to have their own schools and colleges, for the schools to have their own teachers and for the schools to be able to teach what they choose to teach the children. And they request that all equipment needed for the school for example books, is to be paid for by the government. This is an example of an ideal of African American separation, they don’t want their children to mix with children of other races. Also, it goes against their second request which is to become equal, this does not seem to want black children to be equal to white children, but for black children to be an exception.

Their final request is for no interracial marriages, this is another example of a want to be separate from other races and the message it gives out is for African American Separation. 

From an interview by Minister Louis Farrakhan who is the current leader of the Nation of Islam, he states that their main aims is that unless their requests are met, for example; all African American people to become completely free, have equal justice and equal opportunities, then the Nation of Islam will demand a state or piece of land for them to build their own society. This suggests that they only want African American Separatism only as a last resort, that if they are not able to become free and equal under what seems to be their standards then they should be separate. However, their demands and their idea of equality have strong ideas of Separation already, for example separation of races in education


Tuesday, 8 March 2011

http://www.newblackpanther.org/newsite/home2.html

The New Black Panther Party are a very militant, black supremacist group led by Dr. Malik Zulu Shabazz. They claim to be a continuation of the original organisation, yet the surviving members of the original black party stress that their policies have become a lot less radical and they have no affiliation with them. The "10 Point Platform" of the NBPP states that they believe that the African-American community should be completely separated from white American Society. Among other things they demand that black men and women in America be exempt from paying taxes or doing any kind service in the army. They also believe that all African-Americans currently in any of the countries should be released to be tried fairly by a court organised by the black community.

Under point 7 they state that they will defend the black community by using their right to bear arms. Points such as this do echo the beliefs of the original black panther party during the civil rights movement, however the original black panther party have said of them that they "denigrate the Party's name by promoting concepts absolutely counter to the revolutionary principles on which the Party was founded". They have also been hit with scandal when they were widely accused in the media of attempting to prevent voters from entering a polling station in Phillidelphia, although they have strongly denied this. The incident was captured on video by several people http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4MTQVMatW0 and to be honest seems to have been blown very much out of proportion by the media. Dr Shabazz has been called both a freedom fighter, and a racist anti-Semite. He is clearly a man of very strong beliefs, whether the militant tactics that were used in the 1960s are relevant to his cause today is questionable.

African American Separatism

http://www.essence.com/relationships/commentary_3/commentary_jill_scott_talks_interracial.php

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.

Black Separatism

This image depicts Black Separatism at its most disturbing form. Black and White people are not to be mixed in any form of society, which means separate toilets, water fountains, seats on a bus and even in school. A black person in this part of American History is a second citizen, there is no equality and minorities are treated with grotesque disrespect.

Within the image, the fountains themselves speak loudly. The fountain for the whites holds a status, it is a much more substantial fountain with a white china basin, the fountain for blacks is a steel basin. This difference in aesthetics depicts an aspect of black segregation in the United States. The idea that the black woman isn't good enough to drink from the fountain for white citizens is also barbaric, this concept of contamination from a different race is an ideology held in many parts up until the 1970s and even held today among some groups.
The second image depicts almost an even more disgusting concept. These children have been set up to protest by their parents and have inherited racist views and ideals. They feel they cannot go to school with a black person when their own literary sense is to be questioned. It is possible to believe that these boys may still hold the same values about people of other races. In the south today, there are many white supremacist groups such as the KKK, Nazis and Skin Heads. These often spill into youth gangs in America today rather than lawful organisations.













African-American Separatism: Black Nationalist Beliefs

The following website outlines the beliefs held by Black Nationalists - those people who favour separatism over assimilation with Caucasians. http://www.realitynews.com/archive/570.html Black Nationalism appears to be based on a sense of "racial unity" as opposed to specific cultural beliefs/practices or ethnicities. The ideology therefore relies on "Pan-Africanism." (N.B - "Journal of Pan-African Studies" : http://www.jpanafrican.com/index.htm - 'The Journal of Pan African Studies is a trans-disciplinary peer reviewed scholarly journal devoted to the intellectual synthesis of research, scholarship and critical thought on the [collective] African experience.')

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

Immigration in American schools.

http://www.orange.k12.oh.us:16080/teachers/ohs/tjordan/pages/whatthenthisamerican.html

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

Teaching of Immigration in American schools

http://www.waterfordschools.org/215910123103744467/lib/215910123103744467/amstds.pdf

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.

Ellis Island: 19th Century Immigration

This website, Ellis Island History is for students by students. It is an interactive way of learning the history of immigration to the USA. However, there are not many available academic sources, most are about US government, revolutuion or geography.

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.

http://library.thinkquest.org/20619/Eihist.html

Teaching immigration in American schools.

Through researching how American schools typically teach the subject of 'immigration,' it seems that this topic is not implicit in the American education system - it was difficult to find a school where issues concerning immigration make up a large part of the History curriculum. When trying to find how a K-12 school taught this subject, the lack of information and depth of study was important to note. The following link does, however, show how a California school (the West Cottonwood Junior High School) teaches the subject. The fact that the entire module of work is designed to only take up between seven and ten hours of class time potentially demonstrates how much the issues surrounding immigration are taught in American schools. http://score.rims.k12.ca.us/activity/immigration/

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

The Makah people.

http://www.makah.com/index.html

The Makah tribe are a native American people who are located in the most north westerly point of continental United States, in Washington state. Because they were situated so close to the sea they used marine life to provide their wealth and survival. From the sea they used the fish to eat both at that time and to preserve it by drying it and eating it weeks or months later. They also ate porpoise and seal and used otter fur to trade as well as use it as chafe guards which were worn under the clothes. A further use of the sea was the whaling industry which was and still is something the Makah pride themselves on. The Makah used nearly every part of the Whale; the meat and blubber to eat, the oil was sold and was very profitable, and bones were used for things like combs and war clubs. 

The website presents the Makah as a very successful group. This, they claim, is down to ''their ability to adapt, survive and flourish.''  (Native Peoples of the Olympic Peninsula) An example from their website which suggests success by adapting is their ability to adapt and survive following a substantial amount of the tribe who were wiped out as a result of diseases like influenza, whooping cough and small pox being brought over by the European settler. And as it was a disease the tribe had never encountered before, thousands of tribal members died. They claim this resulted in old ways being lost. However, the tribe has survived and has adapted their ways because of it.

The Makah still claim on their website to be successful and still pride themselves on their ability to adapt and survive. The Makah still profit greatly from fishing and whaling as they did centuries before, but they also have adapted to modern day lifestyles and own various shops, restaurants and hotels to encourage tourism to the area. The Makah seem a people who have been successful in adapting to modern influences of the Europeans as well as influence from the western world today. But they have also kept traditions of fishing and whaling that their ancestors lived by. 

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Powhatan Tribe

http://www.powhatan.org/

The Powhatan are a tribe originally occupying the New Jersey area. They have since spread out across the U.S. During the 17th century they were largely wiped out first by foreign disease, then by war and famine. Yet they try very hard to keep their culture and their language alive today. From reading articles written by their chief, Chief Roy Crazy Horse, they seem to be an extremely proud people, very proud of their heritage and very reluctant to allow it to die out. In 1982 the Powhatan Renape Nation negotiated an agreement with the State of New Jersey to take over 350 acres of state owned land in the town of Westampton. Today the Powhatan take a large role in the community and schools attempting to educate people about their culture.

Interesting the Chief also explains that the famous legend of Pocahontas was part of the Powhatan tribe. However he sees the Disney version of the film as being largely falsified, and doubts that the real life Pocahontas, who's real name was Motoaka, ever really saved the explorer John Smith's life. He claims that John Smith actually reported that when starving he was taken in by the Pohatan people and treated as an honoured guest. The Chief instead believes that John Smith made this story up after her death. She did in fact marry an English man and move to England for a period, but it was not John Smith, it was a man named John Rolfe who forced her to wed him while she was being held captive, in order to gain her freedom. The Powhatan people seem to therefore see the version of this story which has been popularised by Disney, as being offensive to their culture. "It is unfortunate that this sad story, which Euro-Americans should find embarrassing, Disney makes "entertainment" and perpetuates a dishonest and self-serving myth at the expense of the Powhatan Nation." - Chief Roy Crazy Horse.

The Klamath Tribes

The website of the Klamath Tribes, found at http://www.klamathtribes.org/ , includes details on three separate tribal groups (The Klamath, Modoc, and Yahooskin) which are united under one collective name, with common aims. The Klamath Tribes can be found in the Klamath Basin of Oregon (the second most north-westerly state in the U.S.)

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."
-Mission Statement
On the front page of the website, there is a link to the casino, run by the Klamath Tribes - the Kla-Mo-Ya Casino (http://www.klamoyacasino.com/), situated in Chiloquin, Oregon and opened in 1997- highlighting their modern day, economic success.
The 2000 Census revealed that only minimal members of the Klamath Tribes actually live on reservation land (The Klamath Tribes recently entered into an agreement to repurchase the 90,000-acre (360 km2) - of Mazama forest, courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klamath_Tribes); with only nine people residing on its territory, five of whom were white people. It seems clear, therefore, that anyone who wants to be, can be a member of the Klamath Tribes, with no (or little) importance placed on an individual's heritage or blood line.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Seminole Tribe

http://www.semtribe.com/



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.

The Apache Indians

http://www.wmat.nsn.us/

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

Representation of Women and Work

This image provides a look at the role of a woman in the workplace around the 1950s.

The woman in the image is a smiling character, obviously trying to sell the jobs as a happy environment. However, it portrays the domesticated role that many women would be used to in the home. Washing dishes, cleaning, cooking and being a housewife. The woman in the image looks satisfied with her role, but it is a mundane, boring work. It adopts the attitude of the time that that's probably all women could do.

After WWII, many women came out of the workforce, allowing their husbands to go back into work and the male role as the provider of the household, while the wife cared for the home and the children.



This image portrays the idea of why women work, a very old fashioned viewpoint but true to the time of the early 20th Century. It presents the view that a woman's main concern is her family and home life. Of course this is a fair point to make, if a woman has children, they should be their first priority. However, this does affect men too. Parents hold a great responsibility to care for their children.
This image does not tell us women need to work in order to support themselves or get ahead, it tells us she works in order to better her and her husbands standard of living or earn a little extra in order to help the husband. There is an increase throughout the 1900s of working women and an enormous increase over the past 60 years after the equal rights movement and the suffrage of women. If one in five or six married women worked in 1940 it has increased hugely, if now women make up around 50% of the workforce in the US. However, as we read in Nickel and Dimed, men and women have different roles and responsibilities in the workplace in many cases. Most women in low wage America hold jobs such as cleaners, waitresses and shop assistants, where many find male managers. There is still an unfairness in gender and the workplace.


American Masculinity

Psychology Today's article by Ray B Williams presents the American Male Crisis, or the male crisis that many western countries are experiencing. Williams draws from the under-achievement of boys in school and the change in expectations of role of the husband. On average, women read more than men, do better in school and only make up 40% of University applicants across America, Canada and Australia. With a female dominated education system it leaves men out of education and often out of work. The workforce as a whole is 50/50 between men and women according to Williams. This, he feels has repressed men in the 21st Century.

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?


http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201007/our-male-identity-crisis-what-will-happen-men