Monday, April 2, 2012

The above is a link to an article posted February 2012, that provides an insight into the trade relationship between the US and China. The Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping urges a greater cooperation on trade and security issues between the US and China labeling this as "new type of relationship between major countries". These calls were made at a luncheon event that took place in Washington DC. As this was a diplomatic visit taking place in the US and not in neutral territory, the Chinese would be likely to say statements that are aimed at pleasing and appealing to an US audience due to the potential for the two large trading partners to fortify the world economy. Relations between the two sides have said to be ‘fraught with tension over trade and economic issues as well as diplomatic and military issues.’ However as Muhtar Kent, chief executive of Coca-Cola Co. and chairman of the US-China Business Council, a sponsor of the lunch suggests “the United States and China have a tremendous opportunity to build stronger economies and improve the lives of people around the world…There is perhaps no greater opportunity for two nations to develop a mutually beneficial relationship that can have such a profound impact on so many lives.” Which is of particular interest as Coca-Cola in itself is found on a global level ergo view these transactions to enhance their business, on purely selfish terms, in my opinion almost relating to the American use of ‘Soft power’ a brief definition being ‘the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion or payments. It arises from the attractiveness of a country's culture, political ideals, and policies.’ Thus it seems the Americans either have the options of using these relations to their advantage, or to ignore an up and coming Global superpower.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Firefly: The Alliance

The television program Firefly is set 500 years in the future when only America and China survive and form one super- power called the alliance. The alliance fight the 'brown coats', those fighting for independence. They win and everything becomes regulated by this global super-power. As a result of this everyone can speak Chinese and English but these languages have merged. In Firefly characters fluently chop and change between the two languages.

Although the show does not explain why the alliance is based on American and Chinese power it is an American show and showing America as in decline or defeated by the Chinese super power would probably harm ratings. However I think the concept of America and China forming one super power is interesting and definitely couldn't be ruled out in the next 500 years.

US-China relations: What to expect after the elections. is an interview that I found with Yuri Tavrovsky, the Professor of international relations with the Friendship University in Moscow. In this, he is asked questions about US-China relations and what was to be expected after the forecoming elections. First of all, it is said that the positions between Obama and Jintao were to be quite different due to the fact that Jintao may not stay in office and that Obama has a fair shot of staying in office.

One point that I found fairly interesting was the fact that China is described as a very 'pro-american' country and that 350 million Chinese citizens are actually learning English and that the reasoning behind this is because of America, not England itself. This shows that China as a whole may be preparing to assimilate into an almost Americanised culture, which I found extremely interesting. This may also be because of trade and the fact that a lot of goods are imported to America via China as the labouring of the products are much cheaper and value.

However, despite the fact that China is making bilingual efforts in this way, it is said that America have appointed China as 'enemy number one' and a reasoning behind this may be because the American dollar is under threat by the Chinese yuan. This is in an obvious reference to the fact that the Chinese are becoming the economic superpower of the world and that this threatens America in such a way as their influence will be slightly dulled.

Also, it was said that in the G2 scheme, China does not want to join in a so-called coalition with America or Russia etc but to be a stand-alone country. This does not insinuate that the relations between China and the United States are becoming weak or starting to break down but that China is becoming so influential and powerful, that a coalition would not be needed, and in this case, desired.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

US-China relations could get worse
Here is a video i found that expresses the political conflict between the US and China. China has requested for Obama to not meet with the Dalai lama due to the liberation that China has over Tibet. China took over Tibet during the 1950s due to the cruelty of which the Dalai lama was inflicting on his people. People were mutilated and killed as punishment for crimes without Jury or trial, allegedly it got out of had. The video claims that it was less of a "shang gri la, and more like Hell on earth"recently Tibetan monks have been setting themselves alight in protest to the communist rule of china. With all this negative press in the news currently putting China in a bad light, China has requested that Obama doesn't meet with the Dalai lama
The news report tells us that US and China relations may drop if Obama meets with the Dalai Lama. the report tells the story as a political test of power by China to see if they have influence over the US . Obama is resisting against it and is going to see the Dalai Lama anyway like the presidents before him. This may decrease trade with China and inadvertibly effect the US economically.

America in Decline

The first issue addressed is the situation of Obama bowing to Hu Jintao on his visit to America. It appears he is succumbing to Chinese power over America. Reagan states that China is disrespecting America as Hu Jintao does not return the bow from Obama especially on American land. It appears many people feel that America shouldn’t welcome China onto American land due to a number of factors such as American debts, foreign policy and generally global power. The issue is what choice does America have not to welcome China when so much is owed to China through their borrowing and trade deficits especially if this is to continue. Global issues have also put a strain on the Chinese/ American relationship due to their actions pulling out of the UN decision on Syria. Reagan believes China have not paid the price for going against the United States. The issue of China constantly building their military force while America has to introduce cut backs also causes a rife in this relationship due to the fact that America feels threaten by another nation overtaking their control. It may also become an issue due to the fact that American and Chinese foreign policies greatly differ. For example China can begin to help countries such as Iran and Syria to build defence against the United States only adding to the problems of foreign issues such as terrorism.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Digital Idenitity - Keyboard Warriors (Anon)

My interpretation of the phrase "Digital Identity" is the identity you choose to belong to, whilst in the digital world. In today's highly digital society, things like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, MySpace, Blogger, Bebo and everything else are very common.
Every day, a huge number of us use a social networking site, and the best bit about it, is that we can choose what we want to broadcast - we can create our own personas online, because we can be who we want.
This obviously has its upsides and downsides.

Being Anon or Anonymous is a basic way of being online ergo has many pros and cons. For example People are a lot meaner when they know there are no consequences for their actions. Those who post anonymously are free to form malicious opinions, which can offend the writer of an article or another fellow commenter. The concept of being anonymous makes people more daring, and using websites such as ChatRoulette as an example, there is a familiar sight of men waving their genitalia at the camera, which most likely offends, but for some could be a positive aspect of anonymity if you are into that kind of thing…. However Anonymity also protects those who are in fear of persecution, which for me is something the internet provides freely. You are immune from physical attack and in most cases judicial power. This could mean that what you read online is the true nature of people away from social boundaries.

Many like to create personas to ‘troll’ other people, but offline are normal people. There are thoseof whom act the same offline and online, and those who create a scene and see posting on a forum as a game. Ultimately, the feeling of being anonymous gives users somewhat of a poetic licence to be outrageous, even if they are posting in a tight-knit community where people may know each other offline. I don’t think that being anonymous is a bad thing, as it is often hard to enforce any laws on the internet. As the internet is such a large place I think it will be hard to ever tame it, and I think that people will always want the right to be anonymous, not just online, but offline too. It promotes a freedom which we all have the right to and online groups such as Anonymous certainly prove this.

Digital Identities

Digital identities online in America are extremely prevlent in their society. Identities are paved and created firstly, through the utilisation of social networks. Social networking on sites such as Facebook, Tumblr, Myspace among others allow people to assert their identity to people that they already know or who have 'friended'. This is done through uploading photographs, setting status' and 'liking' pages, all of which can be seen by all the people in your friends list.

These identities that can be paved are not always concrete and can be created by the user (i.e. the identity that they show might not always be exactly who they are). For example, one can ommit their sexual preference or their nationality which can transgress from the idea of the hyphenated American.

These identites paved by social networking can be furthered by the mobility allowed through smartphones, wifi and 3G internet connection. This allows users to be able to connect to the internet, and thus their social networks, via their smartphones.

These devices create a digital identity through the actual hardware itself. This is because of the value placed upon items such as the iPhone or Blackberry. By buying this hardware, an American is able to fit into a circle of people who own these products. For example, BBM for the blackberry or whatsapp (free SMS service for smartphones). Also, because of the price of these sorts of phones, it may also say something about ones social standing/ the American Dream. By default, due to the constitution and the declaration, Americans have quite a stark preoccupation with success and the ownership of flash, new and innovative technology would act as a 'signifier' that they have achieved middle class status.

The dangers of digital identity

Technology allows Americans to live a new American dream. One that doesn't demand hard labour. Be it from investing in technological buisness' or becoming a youtube sensation, the digital age produces profit. This financial freedom has created a new opportunity and a new level of wealth in America. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are two of the wealthiest men in the world and they have created this wealth through technology and people's dependence upon it.

More than any other, digital identity is all about choice. To set up a profile on a social network all a person needs is an email address. They can essentially become whoever they want to be. Most people use social networks to connect with friends and organise events however, there are other uses for the sites. One aspect of facebook that is fast becoming a problem is trolling. Trolling is
when a person, normally using a fake name, posts antagonising slander on facebook pages. The most commonly talked about are the postings on memorial pages for children. In a recent trolling documentary a troll said that the reason he did it was for the kick he got when someone replied to the posts. This is one way that people use technology to express their identities without consequences. Another is cyber bullying. The Internet allows anonymity for criminals and those who wish to hurt people. The ever growing need to police the Internet is a worry in America. Issues of illegal file sharing and downloading are especially prominent in the news but they are far from the most harmful Internet crimes. The ability to create a digital identity is abused by many in the ways I have already described. However, surely the most sinister crime committed through the Internet is the ability to create a new identity in order to trap a child. This is a new fear that did not exist before the Internet. It is the only place that a parent can not watch out for their child. I think this growing abuse of the Internet is virtually impossible to police and will only become a greater concern to America and much of the world in the future.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Digital Identity

In a the modern world we live in we are more connected and closer than ever. This is due to the use of social networking, such as Facebook and Twitter. They more or less allow us to see what is going on with anyone and anything in the world. If i were to look up news in Istanbul that would not be much of an effort, whereas 20 years ago it wouldn't be worth the curiosity. Governments now must deal with this over exposure and as a result be more secretive. This can mean lying to the public by keeping a face up that is perceived as ethical. Facebook allows anyone to form an identity by editing their pages, showing their likes and interests, age, sexuality ect. Through this medium people can "know" people from just a click of the mouse. In theory this should make us closer but that isn't exactly true.
The interests someone might show on their page are just the interests they have that they wish to publicise, it may say that they like sport, but in reality the person might not be able to hold a 5 minute conversation about the topic, but they can if someone was to start talking about Star Wars. The chat feature on face book can be used to get to know people and the wall or timeline to show messages to a person for all. With all these easy and quick features it can be an effort for some to actually meet up in person. with the continuos development of easy to use networking the future will be a very different place. The side effects of the Internet and excessive use predicts a future of over stimulation from things the Internet can provide. When in truth that future is here already.
here is an article explaining that those who have easy access to the online community at a young age face dangers
health issues that come with constant screen use and Internet exposure include: obesity, eye damage, skin irritations, mental problems and bad posture .
Not only this but addiction is one of its biggest problems. Recent studies show the peoples need for dopamine is much higher and can only be obtained by hyper stimulation from things like online gaming and hardcore pornography. This is due to frequent use. studies show children (mainly boys) as Early as 12 seeing hardcore porn regularly. This can lead to impotence in later life as the need for more perverted material, can make there pleasure response numb, and disable them from having a functioning intimate relationships. Online gaming has got to the point were people have died due to excessive use. As games get more stimulating they become harder to not play, due to the intense levels of dopamine the brain delivers to the body from playing them. With the masses of money involved with online businesses the future is only going to lead to more exposure to dangerous materials. This creates a Distopian society that is not natural for humans, as we cannot evolve to this change quick enough, effectively making us cavemen living in a world we cannot function in, as our brains cannot support it.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Digital Identity

Digital identity has become ever more important in the modern day world. Technology will become even more important in years to come causing people to come even more reliant on the ease of technology. This is not always positive though.

Social networking sites such as Facebook have enabled people to be able to simply choose an identity. People can be selective to what they wish to disclose but also create a completely new identity. The freedom these social networks can give you tends to cause more negative than positive effects such as the many cases of bullying even leading to suicide in many circumstances. The negatives of this result in the many cases of mistaken digital identity. This has only added to the larger numbers of paedophiles creating a differing digital identity. Identity is no longer about appearance or personality but what we chose to indicate to people. Facebook is almost certainly an example of performance choosing how we want to be perceived rather than who they genuinely are.

Another digital identity available to Americans is simply the make and types of technology people rely on. For example there is a strict divide between those who have a Blackberry or Iphone, it is now seen as a status symbol and can also relate to symbolise your identity through displaying class divides. These devices can further create someones digital identity through apps such as Blackberry messenger or Whatsapp whereby profile pictures and statuses can display anything and everything you wish to tell your digital “world” about you at that certain moment. For example your mood, your relationship status and even your whereabouts which can create a friendship through nothing but what you wish to reveal. It can also result in criminal activity, there is examples of cases whereby people have posted on the internet the time they are on holiday only to return to find their houses have been burgled.

The number of digital identities available to Americans will only seek to increase as more and more examples of media and technology. Americans will end up relying on technology for every daily task causing them to lose even more of their identity and relying on their digital identity.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Class Struggle

The site above belongs to a group named the social alternatives, of whom are described as a ‘national organization fighting in our workplaces, communities, and campuses against the exploitation and injustices people face every day.’ Their slogan ‘Bail Out Workers, Not Wall Street’ highlights their attitude towards the US government, ‘We believe the Republicans and Democrats are both parties of big business.’ In contrast they campaign ‘to build an independent, alternative party of workers and young people to fight for the interests of the millions, not the millionaires.’

The aims of the Social Alternative include some of the following, ‘Raise the federal minimum wage to $12.50/hour, adjusted annually for cost of living increases and regional differences, as a step towards a living wage for all.’ Free healthcare, and a personal favourite being to shorten the work week ‘with no loss in pay and benefits - share out the work with the unemployed and create new jobs.’

Two other points worth mentioning, was the attitude towards the Tea Party movement - something they call an 'incredible phenomenon' with 'ludicrous and crazed ideas and leadership,' that only garnered support because they took advantage of the political vacuum created by an absence of any left-wing challenge to Obama. And also, their feelings towards the lack of unionisation in America - something they feel strongly attributes towards 'increased class polarisation' and helps the popularity of Occupy America, as it provides an important catalyst.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The 99%, The 1% and Class Struggle

The 99%, The 1% and Class Struggle is an article that I had found on the website The article was written by Alejandro Reuss in September 2011.

In this article, he points out the main focus of the idea of the 99% and the 1% and the movement '#occupywallstreet' and what they are trying to achieve. Occupy Wallstreet are a movement against the unequal distribution of wealth in the United States and how the economy, although in crisis, favours capitilism and the few people that are on top.

The article highlights that the classlines are evidently clear and describes these class inequalities as a 'losing streak at the hands of employers'. In other words, the people 'on top' are in utter control and in order to create maximum profit, creates a class struggle.

The above picture is included in the article written by Reuss and demonstrates the unfair treatment of the '99%'. It shows that the workers are putting in more work than what they are paid for, which can obviously lead to a class struggle. This is because they are putting in way too many man-hours for what they are being paid and are ultimately wasting time. This can lead to problems such as child-care and makes it more difficult for people in the 'poor' class, or what is known as the 'working class', to have a properly functioning family life.

It was also said by Reuss that: "...workers’ share of total income has fallen, and capitalists’ share has increased." Meaning that the top 1% riches are furthered by this.

Class: the big divide

The website I have found is a page from the New York Times. A team of reporters spent a year investigating class and the page contains their results. They are expressed in bar graphs, pie charts and personal accounts. In the personal accounts they ask for the person's self described class. They go on to talk about the person's job and background. It is interesting in that it allows the people to define their class themselves. It also has a section called 'where do you fit in?' in which you choose your occupation, education, income and wealth and tells you which percentile each aspect is and overall. This means it can calculate the percentage of the population who earn the same as you or lower. There is a section on how class works which allows you to see the wealth distribution in certain professions. The final section is an opinion poll on how Americans see class and how they fit into the class system. This section asks questions such as 'how likely is it that you will ever become wealthy' and 'compared with their social class growing up people said their class was' this section again is interesting because it is based on opinion.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Class System

The article looks at myths that surround social mobility in America. The idea that the American Dream no longer exist “If your daddy was rich, you’re gonna stay rich, and if your daddy was poor, you’re gonna stay poor” in reality the class you’re born into is the one you will remain with for the entirety for your life. The idea of hard work ensuring social mobility no longer exists. This is however difficult for many Americans to believe as the basis of American lifestyle and promise is that you can achieve anything you wish “the only limits are your own limits.” It is believed among many poverty stricken Americans that their poverty however is not permanent and that they will be saved by the American Dream especially once the economic downturn is over, although this opinion is becoming less apparent within these communities.

american eagle

The cynical views of the fate of many working class and lower class citizens is seen within this image symbolising America as a place of no hope and chance contradicting how America was seen up until late 20th century and early 21st century whereby poverty has increased. It is no longer a place for many in Europe to escape for freedom and prosperity. It also addresses that in many ways the issue of class struggle has overtaken the issues of race and discrimination in America. For example the struggles of African American communities they believe are no longer based on the issue of race but rather the economics issues that have. This image groups everyone together whatever race, gender or religion you are as they all are under the control of a “no chance” society.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Christian Science.
Christian Science is about love. Founded in 1879, by Mary Barker Eddy it addresses major issues about God, life and death, sacrament, good and evil, salvation and many more. It teaches from the Bible, encouraging people to see things from a Spiritual perspective as Jesus taught.

Today there are members in 130 countries and democratically run churches in 75 countries. From these numbers it is seemingly popular religion; however it is often confused with Scientology, faith healing, New Age practices, and Eastern religions. It has also been called un-Christian or labeled a cult. The site claims the inspiration it offers runs deeper than positive thinking. Christian Science teaches that it’s never God's will for anyone to suffer, be sick, or die. Instead, it shows how God is entirely good, and therefore ‘His will for each of us is only health and life.’

A particular area of interest on the site would be the relationship held between the Religion and Western Medicine. ‘ What do prayer, unconditional love, forgiveness, life's meaning and purpose, and spiritual practice have in common? They are five Spiritual Concepts Western Medicine Must Embrace. ’ The site clearly indicates that prayer, overall should be the main option regarding healthcare for Christian Scientists. Although, the website does state that members are allowed to choose the healthcare plan that they feel is right from them, there is a strong indication that mainstream healthcare is not preferred. Christian Science therefore can be seen to be a way out of this mainstream, capitalist system, especially for those on a low income who cannot afford healthcare. The group allows these people to feel as if something is being done about their problems without the worry of money.

Christian Science main focus is on positive thinking, love and progression. Positive thinking is something that is key to the American lifestyle; therefore it can form a link into the American Identity and ergo into the minds of Americans.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Westboro Baptist Church
The Westboro Baptist Church, also known as the most hated family in America, is an independent baptist church and is located in Topeka, Kansas. With around 40 members, the churches harmful and destructive views are not widespread and stay contained within the confines of a family and a few members that have chosen to enter into the church from outside the Phelps family.

This church gained wide media attention when the picketing of soldiers funerals and holding derogatory signs became more prominent. They have appeared on talk shows such as the Tyra Banks Show and even made it's way across the water the Jeremy Kyle Show, in which they were now allowed to enter the UK and had to make their appearence via a linked video camera.

The way in which their website shows their American Idenity is blurred in many ways. This website concentrates on one element of their belief system (that God hates gays and anyone that can live in a society where gays are out are called 'fag enablers'.) They do seem to concentrate, on this main website on soldiers and gays. Almost putting them together on one website. On here, they use excerpts from the bible in order to 'back up' their claims about how God feels about these two types of American. This church, however, has many different websites that they aim at many different parts of the world.

The fact that they say that God hates the world, America and Barack Obama shows that the Westboro Baptist Church pretty much rejects their American Identity. They do not celebrate their culture, their history or seem to do anything constructive within the community. All of which are quite strong American ethos'.

Westboro Baptist Church
The Westboro Baptist Church are an extremist church. The Church was founded in 1955. It is headed by the minister Fred Phelps and his family. Phelps was born in Mississippi and is a disbarred lawyer and a former civil rights activist. While studying at John Muir College he would preach against "sins committed on campus by students and teachers." During his time as a lawyer he fought many cases in favour of race equality. However Fred Phelps does not believe that everyone is equal. Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church are strongly opposed to Homosexuality. The website itself is called 'God Hates Fags', the WBC often picket the funerals of American military personal and claim that god hates America because of homosexuality. Their website contains schedules for picketing, anti-gay propaganda and bible quotes that they claim are anti-gay. I think the WBC define American faith because America has so many religions and denominations and the WBC represents how these facets of a religion can become extremist.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Polish Catholic Church of Massachusetts
This is the American faith group i found. It interested me because it is so niche. Its a Church for Polish speaking Americans that are Catholic. I then did some research into why there a market (for lack of a better word) for a Catholic polish church in Massachusetts. It turns out Polish settlers arrived 12 years before the pilgrims and established a community. upon arrival the settlers flourished and formed the first Bi Lingual school in America, teaching both English and polish. Today Polish is still taught and remains a part of the community and the Church celebrates polish tradition. This close comunity of Imagrents defines the American Identity as it shows that it is made up of lots of existing sub cultures and that their is space and acceptance for them to exist.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

American Baptist Churches USA

The first aspect that caught my eye when accessing the American Baptist Churches USA website was an article from Rev. Don Ng of the first Chinese Baptist church in America. This shows the diversity of the religion and its growing ethnic acceptance. This follows their belief “make disciples of all nations” which is highly relevant to America today with its large numbers of immigrants from many different nations. It can be seen as one of the more popular religions in America today with 1.3 million members and 5,500 congregations. They appear to be a very modern and future driven community stating “American Baptists seek renewal and revitalization. Informed by their history and tradition, motivated by contemporary needs and challenges” which I believe is refreshing within a religious group, especially with the aspect of integrating everyone and anyone into their society “we are in the forefront of creating a community of faith where people of every race, nationality and culture gather as one in worship, service and work” it is therefore seen as the “most racially inclusive Protestant body.” Martin Luther King is one of many famous Baptists recognised within the community and therefore symbolises their involvement in the African Americans community as well as in the civil rights movement as well as many others causes such as the promoting women’s independence. Their home page features an article on Black History Month reiterating their belief in equality.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

True Blood: AIDS Burger

When thinking of how to find a good representation of a gay/lesbian citizen in the United States today, I thought it would be good to look at an example which is mirrored in the views of another part of American Society. In True Blood, which is set in La (a Southern State) and the views towards homosexuality may not be as liberal as say CA or NY.

The main character of this particular scene (Season 1, Episode 5 - When Sparks Fly Out), Lafayette, is an openly gay African-American man who has the stereotypical femininity associated with a gay men. However, the build of this character diffuses the femininity. He is visably muscular and well built. In this particular scene, Lafayette transgresses this stereotype of the feminine gay and his approach to the comments from the 'rednecks' (which is how the waitress Arlene described them) in 'manly' and 'butch' manner.

The language used by the principal character in this scene can lend some idea as to the identity of gays in contemporary America. Like African-Americans, this scene uses the reappropriation of words. 'Faggots been breeding your cows, raising your chickens and brewing your beer long before I walked my sexy ass up in this motherfucker, everything on your goddamn table got AIDS.' The ownership of the word loosens the power that it holds in discrimination. The altercation ends in a fight, in which Lafayette ends up beating up the 'rednecks', also transgressing from the stereotype and lending some credence to the idea that gay men can also be masculine.

The 'rednecks' attitude towards Lafayette is shows typical characteristics of homophobia. The fact that they believed that they termed the burger as an 'AIDS' burger mirrors the idea that people believed that AIDS is a disease that can be caught from mere touch. Something which was believed at the time when it was highly publicised in the news. 'I'm an American and I have a say in who makes my food' indicates that these people don't believe that he is an American and that his sexuality sets him apart from everybody else in the bar. A view which would be all too common in the Southern states of America.
I found a video on YouTube that is a montage of people expressing homophobia. It makes the point of saying that homosexual behavior is damaging to society as well as the individuals that engage in that behavior. The video shows some of the more extremely ignorant views of Americans. These views however are still broadcasted on a massive level, as its news reports , campaign adverts, and interviews that are televised and expressing the view. Passive audience members would take what they are being told on and accept what is being said. What I can take from this is that the USA currently has conflict caused by a huge spectrum of views on homosexuality and is making a political scale problem. This video however is made in favour of the LGBT and points out the ignorant views of spokes people against the gay community


The video I have chosen is a clip from the American TV program The Chew. It shows same sex couple Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka take part in a Mr and Mrs type game called Chewlyweds. Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka began dating in 2004 and claim to have proposed to each other in 2005, although they kept this quiet until same sex marriage was made legal in New York. They have twins via a surrogate mother that were born in 2010. I think they are an excellent representation of a modern American same sex couple with children. Neil Patrick Harris is a very successful actor and magician. David Burtka is also an actor as well as a chef. They both have successful careers and manage to raise two children. This clip is especially interesting because the game they play is designed for married couples and would have been originally devised for same sex couples. The game is very similar to the popular TV show Mr and Mrs which, as indicated by the title, was a game show aimed at same sex married couples. Mr and Mrs first aired in Canada in 1963. At this time gay marriage was far from legal in the United States. For a modern same sex couple to partake in a game based on this clearly heterosexual show is a huge step and an achievement. The fact that this is done nonchalantly and without a second glance shows how far acceptance of gay identity has come in The United States.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sexual Identity

I thought this was very relevant to what we have been looking at over the semester due to his attitudes towards describing himself as gay. He did not come out as simply gay but a Gay American, he tries to signify that the idea of being an American unites everyone in one community but then gives yourself an identity through which community you chose to associate yourself with similar to those of a Latino or African American community. He also mentions the tense associated with the mixture of these two identities and how they can be connected together such as rights and way of life. He even mentions how difficult it is to show his pride and enjoyment in being gay but also his honour of being American which many would state cannot be achieved. America has many very strong anti-gay views and would state that you cannot be an honourable American if you are also gay. I think this interview portrays exactly how gays in America still struggle with being accepted and have not as Livingstone states “won the fight”. The fact that he has been the only openly gay state governor in American history says everything about the attitudes towards gays. Maybe “the struggle is clearly not what it was” for the everyday person but for those in high profile positions within society I think it may still well be.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Nickle and Dimed

This review really is in praise of Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickle and Dimed. It is described as 'clear and direct', something which I fully agree with. Nickle and Dimed's clarity may stem from the on-field and covert research that she undertook in order to write the book. The comment of the book also being 'direct' could be considered to come from the fact that Ehrenreich is extremely honest and candid with the ways in which she deals with the problems that she faces with the three employers she comes into contact with in the time that she was conducting this research. For example, the walk out in Key West.

Also the statement: "premier reporter of the underside of capitalism" is a credit to Barbara Ehrenreich and Nickle and Dimed. I agree with this statement because it really does offer a good insight into the poverty striken lives of real people, which even at the time was a real problem faced by many people. The fact that the book addresses health care, a place to live, the poor quality food shows that she explored and took into account all the problems faced by people on low and minimum wage jobs.

The book, in the earlier stages of the review, is described as 'valuable and illuminating'. I agree with this statement as I believe that the novel really does shed light on some of the problems that these workers face due to the wages and poor treatment that they recieve. Such as the lack of help that she recieved in Maine and the treatment also suffered at Wal-Mart.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Nickel and Dimed

This portrays a controversial image of the interpretation of Nickel and Dimed from many at the University of North Carolina, describing it by many as “liberal propaganda”. I believe it is untrue to state this as it promotes the improvement in American society rather than disregarding America itself. She would not be passionate about her country if she was not willing to undertake her experiment. It also highlights many people opinions of its reference to religion and Jesus. This article is stimulated by the choice of the university to use Nickel and Dimed on their reading list to which Allran the state senator and a religious member of the community states they should have stuck to the “classics” which I would strongly disagree with is it not better to use resources through which people can relate to and that are relevant to their society today? It talks in regards to questioning Ehrenreich by stating that many of those examples are helped by welfare but what happens in recent times of economic crisis when welfare is cut back and aren’t we supposed to be encouraged to be independent and not so reliant on the state? How are you if opportunities are not supplied? This becomes especially important in the case of the maid service who is charging customers $25 and only paying workers $6 can that be right? The article being written by a male I think has much to do with his attitudes it is unlikely that he himself would have to experience much of what is experienced in the book as much of the low paid and hardworking jobs such as waitressing and maid services are obtained by single mothers or struggling females, which I felt was very prominent when reading the book. He is also through his work unable to imagine the experiences of these people as I’m sure his job means he (luckily) never has to rely on welfare. I feel it is unjust and unfair for him justify his opinions like this.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Nickel and Dimed
This is the review i looked at. The reviewer likes the book as a whole, but says that the audience response was terrible. He points out that the middle class readers described the book as "shocking" and "eye opening" and that the fact that poverty in America is obvious. He didn't like how this sort of praise added profanity to the book. I think that the word "shocking" is used for the simple fact of making profit. The word shocking is used in a quote, from the Irish times, on the back of the book under the blurb. All products use quotes in a similar way to sell numbers, it makes sense to use the good quotes and not the bad ones.
The reviewer then talks of the problems with the experiment. He points out that Ehrenreich always had the option of pulling out at any time and that she didn't have to worry about the long term future real people living in poverty have to cope with. The reviewer makes the point of saying that the whole experiment was patronising to those in poor circumstances as well as inaccurate. I agree with this as you could get better answers from interviewing or surveying those living in poverty to get more of the truth about the lifestyles of the poor. You could even follow family's and single people coping with poverty in all demographics to try and find a better truth, but i think this would make for a less exciting read. I think whats appealing about this book (for middle classes) is that it is the active decision Ehrenreich made to put herself into such conditions when she didn't need to. It's like a really elaborate dare and Ehrenreich accepted, obviously audiences will want to see her fail at some point in the book, or if not expect it. It would be corrupt to think these sorts of things about real people in poverty.
The reveiwer sums up the book by highlighting the fact that it is patronising. I diddnt find it patronising i found it entertaining. You cant assume that Ehrenreich is on some sort of self rightous pilgramage and that she is pointing out a known truth and claiming it to be a discovery.
I think the reveiwer is upset about the target markets response for the book, they even say themselves that the book is well written, its just the topic of the book that they found unsavoury.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Yá'át'ééh! Welcome

This week I have chosen to study the Navajo tribe via the site . The reason as to why I chose the Navajo is due to their obvious relevance in today’s society, for example through the aspect of fashion, with many styles and colours originating from their tribes. The website itself offers a range of jewellery with natural earthy tones and pottery. Or through their size, ‘Now the largest Indian reservation in the United States, comprising as it does nearly ten million acres, or nearly fifteen thousand square miles.’

The site is dedicated to keeping alive the cultures, traditions and beliefs of the ‘Dine’, (pronounced deenay) a term used by the Navajo people due to them not actually liking Navajo. The Navajo were given the name Ni’hookaa Diyan Diné by their creators. It means "Holy Earth People". Navajos today simply call themselves "Diné", meaning "The People". The Tewa Indians were the first to call them Navahu, which means "the large area of cultivated land".

The website also offers information on the history, art, language, culture and legends; however it further offers a commercial aspect what with selling the mentioned jewellery, pottery, sand paintings, clothing and rugs.

I found the section on language was particularly amusing, a few examples out of the many offered, being;

Thank you. Ah-sheh'heh.
Yes. O'o.
No. Doh-tah'.
All right. Luh.
No good. Doh'yah ah-shon'dah.
I don't know. Ho'lah.
Where. Hah'dih.
Water. Toh.
Road or trail. Ah-teen'.
Automobile. Chih'dih. (Chug-chug.)
House. Hogan. Hoh-rahn'.
When. (Past time.) Hah-tahne.'
When. (Future time.) Hah-gho'.
How much? Doh quih'?
Dollar. Bay'soh.

The part of which most interested me was the legends of the Navajo tribes, what they present as being the ‘birth’ of the tribes initially one might scorn, however it does not much differ to that of Christianity and the ‘immaculate conception.’

i have looked at the Chickasaw tribe. the Chickasaw tribe is based in Oklahoma or what they are subheading as "the Chickasaw nation".
the site has features on the history, culture and morals of the Chickasaw tribe.
The Chickasaw's even have their, own TV channel , that seems race exclusive and features topics that are of Chickasaw concern. its sub heading is united we thrive. The site shows great pride in the Chickasaw way of life and is an attempt to keep Chickasaw morals going, after oppression from the immigration of white America.

Southern UTE Indian Tribe

The Southern UTE Indian Tribe is located in South West Colorado and the reservation on which they reside stretches across three counties (La Plata, Archuleta and Montezuma). The tribes council headquarters are also situated in Ignacio, Colorado.

The Tribes' economic situation does not appear as bleak as other reservations and tribes in the United States, this is because they seem pretty self-sufficient and proud of the different things they have on the reservation that would bring money in, like the Sky UTE Casino and Resort and the Southern UTE Museum and Cultural Centre. There is also another affiliated website (see more website links on the right hand side of the homepage) that is called the Southern UTE Indian Tribe Growth Fund. The aim of this group is to aid and oversee the buisness and ventures within the tribe, meaning that overall, the buisness accumen of the tribe has meant that they have managed to pull themselves out of the conditions and financial turmoil that other tribes in the United States may face.

Some of the architecture within this reservation looks new and modernised. The fact that these buildings look professional and well-done indicates and lends an idea that the Southern UTE tribe are not poverty striken and that, economically, they are managing very well.

Despite the fact that this tribe can be considered an 'economic success' and that they have achieved some kind of American Dream, they still hold on to some of the very foundations and grass roots of their culture. In the culture section of the website, they have tabs that link the user to different events that they are holding, such as Bear Dances. In this section of the website, they offer the general public to be able to attend, showing that this tribe has pride in their culture.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Native Americans-Seminoles

Their website includes a lot of the history involving the whites and Native Seminoles. They too opened their first smoke shop in 1977. They were the first to open a bingo hall in Hollywood, FL creating great wealth for them. From this they have been able to open two new reservations meaning they now account for over 90,000 acres of land. They have also invested in a hotel, a school, safari and museum, from this most are able to afford modern housing and health care. They come across as a sentimental and gentle tribe dedicating much of their website to the culture of the tribe such as art, basketry, beadwork and clothes. They have even been given recognised acclaim by showing Noah Billie, a Seminole painters’ work in the St. Petersburg Museum of History. The website really shows the want to educate people in their culture and history, for example providing recipes for people to experience and taste their cultural cuisine. They also have a section of FAQs where a lot of questions for me were answered such as most surprising for me the idea of the black Seminole. Another point I found very surprising was the idea of them having a “Seminole Tribe of Florida Constitution” and their own governing bodies. They are able to live within the USA but without little or any contact from federal or state control, however they do pay $3.5 million in federal payroll taxes which I feel helps to justify the privileges they are entitled to.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I have chosen to analyse the website of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. They are located in South Dakota in the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. It is the fourth largest Indian reservation in the United States. They have always highly valued the environment and the buffalo. They say that the buffalo was asked to sacrifice it's life for their survival. They would use the horns for utensils, the hides for robes, the sinew and bones for needle and thread and the hair for pillows. This attitude towards nature is one shared among Native Americans which is one reason why white Americans killed so many buffalo in the 18th century. The 2000 census reported that there were 8,470 people living in the Cheyenne river reservation. Two thirds of this population survive on less than one third of the average American income. The Indian Country Today reported that more than 1 in 10 girls living on the reservation have attempted suicide. These statistics hint towards a life that is very deprived and difficult. This is a common occurrence on reservations because of large unemployment and isolation.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


In 1996, Paula L Woods contrives a publication based on the novel ‘Push’ for the Los Angeles Times wherein she is obviously praises the book, but also notes its imperfections. Firstly Woods draw attention to the style of which the tone of the novel is written, stating ‘'hits the reader like a Mack truck, and it clearly signals that the literary ride ahead won't be in your father's Oldsmobile’ for me this is a brilliant quote due to the inevitable unease the audience are supposed to feel, also interesting highlighting the lack of a male role model in Precious’ life. Furthermore describing the personal narrative ‘a voice that may shock readers with its liberal use of four-letter words and graphic descriptions of sex, but a voice that also conjures up Precious's gritty, unforgiving world.’Alluding to the point that the style of which the novel is written reflects Precious’s world and is therefore necessary. The content of the novel, and its first person perspective, gives the narrative a heart and soul. It personifies welfare and highlights the inequality found deeply routed in the United States today. The fact that the novel is still a relevant talking point further enforces this; Push written in 1996, set in the 80s, and Precious the movie released in 2009, all reinforce the narrative as a timeless piece.
Woods notes that criticisms may be made against Push because of the mere fact that Precious is so unlucky, claiming it to be improbable Woods clearly identifies these criticisms will come from 'right-wingers'. However Woods argues that this novel makes it impossible for the reader to ignore Precious, and what she represents, even if they are prone to do so for 'real life Preciouses of the world.’ Although recognising the message Precious portrays as relevant and shockingly true Woods others some well-argued critique, ‘As it stands, "Push" is wildly inconsistent in its narrative voice and use of language. The criticism, however, is leveled reluctantly and with much sympathy for the author's dilemma: How do you write a book about a protagonist who can barely read or write? The author's solution is to mostly write in Precious' voice, although there is a lengthy section of the first chapter that inexplicably--and annoyingly--shifts to a distant third-person narrator.’
'Regardless of the controversy that may surround the book's themes, perspective or language,' Woods sums up 'Push is an impressive yet deeply flawed debut.' This appears to be a balanced and unbiased review of the novel in favour of Sapphire; the criticisms raised are legitimate however deemed inevitable.

Precious Critique,,293209,00.html

Thia critique of Precious (Push) offers an unbiased looked at the novel, which is obviously important. I disagree with the Critic, Margot Mifflin's point about the 'fractured vernacular'. She believes that it makes parts of the novel 'flat'. The reasons why I disagree with this belief is that the language Sapphire employs in the novel aid us in understand the protagonists struggle with learning and the English Language. The broken english also helps us imagine the protagonists accent and dialect, a strong feature to the African Americans who live in Harlem, NYC.

Without the words being written like they were being said/written by the protagonist, the Novel would not have that same resonance that it has with the reader. I.e. the reader feels more attached with the protagonist because it simulates someone telling you their life story in the fullest way.

However, I do agree with the assertion that the novel recognises that there is an 'ugly truth' - but I believe this idea stretches further than just the Incest meetings that Precious attends. 'The ugly truth', to me, is in relation to Precious' life in general. Being diagnosed with HIV in the 1980s, having an unsupportive mother, being a mother herself... the list of ugly truths are endless but this is supports my reasoning behind disagreeing with the aforementioned idea that writing the novel in how Precious would have wrote it was a bad idea. Even though the list of ugly truths are endless, the language reflects her growing as a person and the leaps and bounds she makes in her education (which is something she was concerned with as she wanted to succeed.)


I have looked at a critical analysis of the film Precious - the adaptation of the book.
the review talks of basic narrative and commends the story written by Sapphire, and how it comes across Directorialy from Lee Daniels. Jewel Stewart the reviewer comments on how "problematic" the character of Mary comes across. he says the film relies on the villanisation of the black Matriarch. This i can understand, as Mary comes across as horrifying and you can tell that she is a huge influence on precious'es life. whereas precious accepts and expects the abuse the audience is given a frequent dose of shock almost every time Mary is on screen. the acting by Mo'Nique is overpowering and downright captivating i found that her scenes in the film to be the most stirring and drove the narrative but did not "rely" on. Stewart says that Mary has no redeemable quality's and the film creates a narrative that is a bad representation of the "welfare queen" (a term used for people living off welfare in the 80s) i disagree as the character of Mary is built and then unwound in the scene where precious gets Mongol back, i think this engages the audience as they become conditioned to dislike and be disgusted by Mary's actions without reason, but then the audience feels pity and understanding in the scene were Mary explains herself. The audience is on the same level as Precious as Mary is talking of the past as the history is revealed and relates with precious when she chooses not to forgive. it is great construction and unfolds in such an engaging way that keeps viewers hanging on Precios'es responses to the traumatic story being re sited by Mary. The audiance also feels ignorance as they can get swept up in the cruelty given by Mary and fail to ask why she is doing it - clever tool to make the audiance's veiwing experiance more levelled
Stewart says Daniels approach to the narrative is "lazy on behalf of the filmmakers, but also wholly irresponsible to the African-American community." i can see his point, as it makes African Americans of the time seem like animals, a horrible quote from the film that stuck with me was from a monologue precious re sites whilst walking up a street [Taking an assessment test] "There's always something wrong with these tests. These tests paint a picture of me with no brain. These tests paint a picture of me and my mother, my whole family as less than dumb. Just ugly black grease, need to be wiped away, find a job for." it shows that the character precious knows of the image of Black Americans living off welfare by others in the upper classes, and she's sour about it. Daniels does well to highlight precious'es observation of this view and the self deprecation it brings doesn't try to flatter the truth, I think this film is informative of a bad time for black culture living in almost poverty like conditions and not that of an inconsiderate and offensive piece, that exploits African American dramatic life in the 80s.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Black America

Ismael Reeds article for the New York Times focuses on the response of African Americans to “Precious” much of which is negative. Firstly they feel as though it promotes the idea of racism to which he quotes Jill Nelson, an author who states “I don’t eat at the table of self-hatred, inferiority or victimization. I haven’t bought into notions of rampant black pathology or embraced the overwrought, dishonest and black-people-hating pseudo-analysis too often passing as post-racial cold hard truths.” This I feel can hardly be seen as racial motivated as the facts behind the novel such as the number of black AIDS sufferers and the higher numbers of black teenager pregnancies, to me it simply displays the facts for everyone to see and does not criticise but aims to centralise these issues in everybody’s minds regardless of race. It also goes on to say that the success of the film is based upon the ideas of white people “being comfortable with the stereotypes shown”. I feel it is difficult to feel comfortable about anything addressed in this film and do not feel that it is stereotyping African American as much of what Sapphire addresses in the film is inspired by real events. The issue of incest within the film he also criticises quoting from the National Center for Victims of Crime stating that “Incest does not discriminate. It happens in families that are financially privileged, as well as those of low socio-economic status. It happens to those of all racial and ethnic descent, and to those of all religious traditions,” but again this is based upon the environment Sapphire was working in which happened to be African Americans. It is fair to say that incest is not directly associated with African Americans and therefore I do not see that this is shown in a racial way. The article comes across very aggressive in its manner of addressing the issues and I find it difficult to agree with much of what he says however I’m not completely sure I’d feel the same was I myself black or of African descent.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Hispanic America

Pro- Latino Immigration-
The above shows a website that is undeniably, 100% pro-Latino immigration, laying claim to being ‘The number 1 Hispanic website in the United States. Google, Yahoo or MSN: Hispanic News.’ The website is controlled by the Hispanic community, therefore a prominent biased opinion is offered in Latino affairs. The website provides a large section purely for immigration and a surplus of reports sharing opinions on Latino immigration, through this it becomes clear the message that website is trying to portray. Believing that Latino immigration and integration into American society is expected due to the highly popular American belief of ‘the land of the free and opportunity,’ thus becoming a necessity to accept immigrants of different races and cultures, viewing Latino immigration as essential for American economy due the fact that Latino’s are willing to undertake jobs of which Americans do not want, for less than minimum wage – needed to keep the American economy stable. ‘Employers have already begun lying off immigrant workers, and this has had repercussions throughout their communities. Local restaurants and shops have closed down because there are not enough customers.’ The website highlights the benefits that the Latino community/ immigrants provide, what with cheap labour and are therefore an essential aspect of the American economy. Also declaring that Latino immigrants should not allow themselves to be taken advantage due to prejudices in working and social environments, stating ‘ they are grateful for the opportunities they have received from America, but their opportunities should not be lesser than those of White Americans. ‘
Project USA is an Anti - Latino Immigration website which uses religious statements as well as political in order to enforce its members' belief that Latino Immigration is wrong and should be stopped completely. Not only does it talk of immigration but of any and all other topics of conversation and current debates. They refer to such topics as having a "half-white 44th President", as well as discussing, "The White Minority." It is an obviously racist site, with underlying tones suggesting it’s audiences to stay ‘pure’ and ‘true,’ that the white American is divinely entitled to more in life ergo making them better than those ‘who happens to be’ currently residing in America.

The Hispanic Immigration Debate
Causa are a Latino immigrants rights group in Oregon. They state that their programs address issues that impact the every day lives of Latino immigrants and their families such as affordable and accessible education, housing, and health care, living wage jobs, transportation, safety, and immigration. The organisation was founded in 1995 and claims to have defeated dozens of anti-immigrant bills. The website contains fact sheets, reports and studies. The staff is made up of Hispanic Americans and non Hispanic Americans and the website has a Spanish translation option. They have both a twitter and a facebook page, this allows more people to access the organisation. I think the website is devoted more to helping the Hispanic community than to aggressive action which I think is a good thing.
The Minuteman Project describe themselves as a multi-ethnic immigration law enforcement advocacy group, operating within the law to support enforcement of the law. They seem eager to distance themselves from being seen as racist, including phrases like 'multi-ethnic' in their mission statement. The project was founded in 2004 by Jim Gilchrist, a marine corps veteran. He is a registered republican. The website sports a picture of Jim Gilchrist in military esque gear in front of the US constitution, this emphasises the fact that they are working within the law. The minute men patrol the US/Mexican border. They are against movements to provide maps and water to illegal immigrants. They have been accused of violence towards illegal immigrants attempting to cross the border. They have faced a lot of resistance and there are often protests when they publicly speak.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Pro and Anti Hispanic/ Latino Immigration
This website is supportive of Latino immigration and fights for the rights of Latinos through the legal system and through laws and bills. They working within Chicago, Michigan. They believe that policy has a direct affect on immigrants coming into the United States and they aim to change or alter policies that may have a detrimental effect on their quality of life and assimilation into American life. They also aim to use community and education engagement to improve the life of Latino immigrants in the United States.

The website has a Twitter section, indicating that this organisation utilises social networking as a way of education the community and reaching out to Latinos and Hispanic immigrants and citizens. The most recent 'tweet' I could find by the Organisation was: "Chicago is still the most segregated big city in the US, but we're also the most improved city, in terms of segregation." This lends an idea to the driving force behind the organisations advocacy and the reasons why they fight for Latino rights. This reason being segregation.

This organisation has two main programmes (or what they refer to as 'Access to Justice') that it offers Latino immigrants. The first being VAWA. Which is an acronym for Violence Against Women act. This aims to provide women who have been a victim of domestic violence, to be able to get citizen status in the States to be able to live a life free of violence and fear. The second programme is for the Family services. This means that people who have immigrated over to the United States can bring their family over with them, so they can be 'reunited'.
Even though the site that I have chosen about Immigration is not souly dedicated to Immigration control in terms Latinos but they make references to people of the ethnic group. Such as: "◦AIC, founded in 1983, is about stopping the millions of illegal aliens who sneak across our border from Mexico every year." Even though they make references to trying to prevent illegal immigrants from crossing the border, they also want to sharply reduce the amount of immigrants that come to the United States legally, so the already existing numbers and people that come over can be 'readily assimilated'.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hispanic America

The NCLR (National Council of La Raza) feel very strongly that the acts such as Obama’s DREAM act do not help the Hispanic communities of illegals stating “There is no safe way to turn yourself in…”. They appear to promote the idea however of the Hispanic community integrating themselves into American lifestyle and not restricting themselves to isolated areas and avoiding the American language and education. They help to run programmes to help immigrants learn English which I believe is necessary to such integration. They interestingly still believe that the “Americano Dream” is still achievable however it does follow the view of Huntington as the dream is only available to those who are willing to learn English. They understand that reforms are needed in the area of immigration but their views are a little questionable. For example they state that “illegals should come forward and learn English” however this firstly opposes what was earlier stated on their website, but also does not solve the issues are it is obvious that many people do not agree with them been given citizenship.

The AIC (Americans for Immigration Control) focuses on the idea of preventing all immigration and not necessary focussed on Hispanics however much of what is stated relates to the influx of Hispanic immigrants. The initial impression we get of the website shows their complete opposition to amnesty and legalising undocumented Hispanics. Their views are much more aggressive and seem to concentrate persuading government action rather than what is seen on NCLR trying to help within their own community. They have a blog which addresses the issues that come with the great number of Hispanic immigration stating that “Mass immigration negatively impacts on U.S. culture”. They have no issues with portraying Hispanics in a negative light which I feel is too much of a stereotype. The issue they address of federal government funds being spent on restoring Hispanic supremacist murals in “Chicano Park” instead of on repairing roads for example I feel is not a very strong argument as the final decision is probably established by those both Hispanics, White American as well as many other ethnicities. The issue is not with the Hispanic community themselves by with the government choices.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Heritage Project: Ellis Island

The above video is a recording of a school project created by a fifth grade class in respect to immigrants coming to the United States via Ellis Island in the late 19th and early 20th century. The title of the video itself really is a clear indicator as to how immigration is presented to school children. Along with this, the children are being made to feel like how the immigrants would have felt, this is done through asking children questions with words that they are not likely to understand and it also keeps to the heirarchy by using adults/teachers to role-play the processing questions.
Through doing such a role-play with the children shows that the aim by the people teaching the class and/or leading the simulation want the children to feel like they are in the shoes of the immigrants and to empathise with them.

K12 project- Immigration

This is a link to the website ‘teachervision,’ a website that provides interactive lessons, pintable’s, references, pictures, articles and ideas on how to enhance the curriculum in the area of immigration. The specific link provided is related to American immigration, giving teachers a series of useful resources to complete in lessons, particularly throughout the years of the late 1800’s. The website gives a very brief outline as to what is included ‘with statistics on U.S. immigration, lessons on Ellis Island’ and to what it aims to achieve ‘Studying immigration brings to light the many interesting and diverse cultures in the world’ therefore unveiling the past of the many minorities present in today’s American society. Once completing the various tasks provided students should have a firm understanding of the difficulties and hardships immigrants had to overcome before being allowed to enter America.
The website presents this aspect of US history in a simplistic and clear manner, when looking at the links provided the information presented is also set out in a clear, thought provoking and productive style. Providing basic information and American history in an entertaining and engaging manner via the pintables and lessons plans, an outsider is able to view what it means to be an American
The information provided is almost a ‘soft’ version of the reality, for example the conditions of Ellis Island the key to the lesson plans being that more of empathy rather than understanding reality. . All the links provided, although informative and from a reliable source, you can tell are made for children to be looking through and getting their information from. This is because all the facts are basic and tell the brief history of American Immigration, however does not provide a tell all, harsh reality of the conditions at the time.

A website that provides interactive lessons, printables, references, pictures, articles and ideas on how to enhance the curriculum in the area of immigration. The specific link provided is related to American immigration, giving teachers a series of useful resources to complete in lessons, particularly throughout the years of the late 1800’s. The website gives a very brief outline as to what is included ‘with statistics on U.S. immigration, lessons on Ellis Island’ and to what it aims to achieve ‘Studying immigration brings to light the many interesting and diverse cultures in the world’ therefore unveiling the past of the many minorities present in today’s American society. Once completing the various tasks provided students should have a firm understanding of the difficulties and hardships immigrants had to overcome before being allowed to enter America.
The website presents this aspect of US history in a simplistic and clear manner, when looking at the links provided the information presented is also set out in a clear, thought provoking and productive style. Providing basic information and American history in an entertaining and engaging manner via the pintables and lessons plans, an outsider is able to view what it means to be an American
The information provided is almost a ‘soft’ version of the reality, for example the conditions of Ellis Island the key to the lesson plans being that more of empathy rather than understanding reality. . All the links provided, although informative and from a reliable source, you can tell are made for children to be looking through and getting their information from. This is because all the facts are basic and tell the brief history of American Immigration, however does not provide a tell all, harsh reality of the conditions at the time.

Immigration: The Melting Pot

This video provides the common issues associated with the immigrants seeking the dream in American in the early 1900s. To me this provides proves that this subject in still commonly taught in the American school system and still regarded as essential to the history and progression of America as a country to make it what it is today. The specific subject addressed here of the Scottish immigrants and their impact on America. The use of fictional interview to me demonstrates that American children are taught to appreciate American history as well as their own heritage. The inclusion of the achievements of example of Scottish people in America I believe helps to ensure that people are aware of the positive aspects of immigration at a time when many are very much anti immigration. It also includes the information of the state of what Scottish immigrants were faced with when arriving in America which again I believe is important to help young Americans to understand and appreciate their lifestyles today. However it does relate in many ways to the impression of immigration today including the discrimination of many nationalities, providing this though from an 19th century immigrant I believe helps in some ways to destroy their prejudices.

Ellis Island Project

I have found a video which shows a school project involving students simulating an Ellis Island experience. In theory the children are learning first hand what it would have been like, the teacher says "you understand because you feel it, you understand because you carry the emotions and that we have the volunteers today yelling at them and being very brisk and being very not understanding necessarily of any issues they may have had. The kids will truly take that whole piece away about what it was really like." This is simply just not true. Not once in the video do you see the school children doing anything but enjoying themselves and proudly boasting about making it through to America. They do not experience the unhygienic conditions, the illness, the prejudice or the inability to speak the language of their new home. I think that in this case immigration is being presented as something that is overcome as soon as the immigrant reaches America, although they did mention to the children that America was the land of freedom and not of help. This is not surprising as the children are aged 11/12 and are probably not used to learning about such obvious suffering. I don't think it is being taught in an anti-immigration or racist way but it is definitely being taught in a pro American way. It shows the children that it was hard to reach America but it doesn't necessarily show them how Americans would have treated them and the hardships that would have followed.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Chinese immigration lesson plan

Here is a lesson plan I found on pro It talks in depth about the efforts US citizens went to, to remove Chinese immigrants and prevent them. The facts listed remain fairly neutral and not self deprecating to white Americans, the most emotive language used in the lesson plan is the most devastating of all anti-Chinese legislation" when referring to the Chinese immigration ban that only ended in 1943. It still uses words that don't overtly point out that what America did was wrong. When referring to an example of an uprising group against Chinese an Irish immigrant living in America is used to explain, that the Chinese were used as a scape goat, as Irish immigrants were also under scrutiny at the time. showing that the Chinese were picked on solely because of their characteristic differences, as white Irish immigrants looked similar to white Americans.

Irish used Chinese as a scapegoat
White americans are talked about badly in the study. In one instance the talk of taxes being higher for Chinese immigrants and then getting banned because its un constitutional is said. But then the way in which a Judge bans Chinese immigrants from testifying because it resulted with a white man being jailed isn't drawn attention to throughout the lesson plan the word racist isnt used once. this may be because it could cause a non productive argument, or provoke thoughts between classmates, as American classrooms are likely to be multi cultural.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

American Atheists

The American Atheists have existed since 1963.
This is how they define themselves:
Atheism is the lack of belief in a deity, which implies that nothing exists but natural phenomena (matter), that thought is a property or function of matter, and that death irreversibly and totally terminates individual organic units.

The identity they have created for themselves is someone who is anti-religious and scientific, this is something that is not as socially acceptable in the US as it is here in the UK. Just like the an atheist may find it hard to accept religion many religious people find it hard to accept atheism.
They believe that the government should be separate from the state.
The first amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
They believe that prayer should not take place in schools
They comment on recent issues such as Cee lo Greens performance of Imagine.
Like any other minority group they don't want to be penalised for their belief.