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.