Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ron Paul Talks About Financial Crisis

Monday, February 15, 2010

Response to Psychology Today Article "To Ignore or Confront? Dealing with Racially Stereotyping Comments"

Below is my response to a blog posting by Ira E. Hyman, Jr., a Professor of Psychology at Western Washington University, discussing his research on social reaction to racial stereotyping. The full posting can be found at the following web address: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-mishaps/201002/ignore-or-confront-dealing-racially-stereotyping-comments

"Thank you for your research and blog posting. "Black History Month seems like an appropriate time to discuss dealing with these awkward social situations." I respectfully disagree. A symptom of the overarching problem that is race relations lies in the assertion by men and women of letters such as yourself that race and the discussion of race is synonymous with blackness or, in the absence of ostensible blackness, non-whiteness(whether this is a concious assertion or not). The construct of race applies to the Irish, German, Welch, Jew or Italian man as much as it does to women and racial minorities (amongst others) because they are all social constructs with historical narratives attached. Racialization of these mostly European groups is almost nonexistent as they have been assimilated into homogeneous grouping of "whiteness" in America. Your research postulates social conventions that are well known to any black person walking the streets of a predominantly white city or who is employed in a predominantly white work environment and your proposed rememdy casts white Americans in the familiar benevolent role of savior to the helpless minorities (in much the same fashion as The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Brown v. Board of Education, and Roe v. Wade have to name just a few). In addition, your proposed plan of action places an undue hardship on white Americans who are conscious of this schism by asking them to bear the yoke of correcting the malignancy of racial stereotyping in others. The solution is not for women and racial minorities to become less vocal for fear of consternation or retaliation but to become more vocal in denouncing such behavior in concert with the majority culture not tolerating racial stereotyping in their presence nor in themselves as you've asserted. We also must fight for a society where social convictions and customs are not legislated on Capitol Hill and forced upon the masses as laws but are the by-product of the respectful intercourse that naturally occurs amongst free men and women embarking on an unimpeded journey in pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness."

Saturday, February 6, 2010

10 Articulos o Menos

10 Items or Less is a 2006 film starring Morgan Freeman and the beautiful Paz Vega in which Vega plays Scarlett, a disillusioned woman who is dissatified with her marriage, fears that she will never be able to bare children, and appears destined to work the express line at her local supermarket in her barrio in perpetuity. That is until Morgan Freeman, a charismatic actor who is researching a role for an upcoming film, befriends Vega's character and leads her on a journey whereby she uncovers a once dorment inner strength and becomes convinced that the scope of her life does not have to be as narrow as the 10 items or less line that she mans daily.

In a seminal moment in the film, Freeman and Vega are sitting on Vega's yellow Hugo, enjoying an Arby's roast beef sandwich, before Vega is scheduled to interview for a construction job that to her promises higher wages and more freedom to pursue her dreams. Prior to this scene, Freeman has escorted Vega on a mini journey in which he took her shopping at Target for new clothes and make-up and to a local car wash to give her bucket a much needed scrubbing.

As they sit parked at a dead end, overloooking an oil refinery, Freeman asks Vega to name 10 things that she could do without. Vega mentions her husband, constantly needing money, and her 10 items or less line amongst other things. Freeman then asks Vega to name 10 things that she couldn't live without. She mentions her nephew, her jet black hair when it's wet, and not asking for directions (she is forced to swallow her pride on this point later in the film).

There were several elements of 10 Items or Less that stood out as being poignant to me.

The first was the breath-taking beauty of Vega juxtaposed against her character's weathered face. At 25, her character's face looked 10 years older due to the daily rigors and stresses of juggling a 9 to 5 job against deferred hopes and dreams.

The secod was the narrative associated with racial minorities acting as saviors to one another. Freeman, eho is African-American, serves as a mentor to Vega, who is Mexican. This de-constructs the typical Hollywood narrative in which the lowly minority subject is saved by the benevolent white (usually female) hero. Recent movies such as The Blind Side and Precious immediately come to mind. The pairing of a black man with a latina serves to dissolve the perceived socio-economic relationship between blacks and latinos in which the media traditionally portrays the two groups (two very diverse groups that in many places share a common ancestry) as competing for the scraps of the dominant culture.

Most importantly, and like most films with an altruistic, self-discovery theme, 10 Items or Less forced me to think of 10 things in my own life that I could do without and 10 things that I absolutely couldn't imagine not having. Below is my attempt at a 10 items or less list ( as an addendum, what is it with Morgan Freeman and movies about lists in his older age - see The Bucket List)

10 Things That I Could Do Without

10. Cell phone service in the subway.
9. Student loans/ bills
8. Cable news shows
7. Dumb people
6. Cubicles
5. 9-5 jobs
4. Social networking websites
3. Relationships (dating/marriage)
1. Drugs

10 Things That I Absolutely Couldn't Live Without

10. Sports (baseball)
9. Sex
8. Smart, beautiful women
7. Law and Order
6. Comedy
5. The written word
4. Psychology
3. My mother (and her cooking)
2. Exercise
1. Books

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My Invitation Request to the Chicago Objectivist Society

These types of open-ended questions always elicit my most passionate writing.

Please introduce yourself:

Hello COS. My name is DeAngelo Jones. I am 25 years old and a graduate of DePaul University. I am currently employed in finance at United Way of Metropolitan Chicago. I became acquainted with the works of Ayn Rand about 2 years when I read The Fountainhead for the first time. I was so enthralled by the message of The Fountainhead that I immediately picked up Atlas Shrugged and hungrily read it day and night. I am now in the the process of reading The Virtue of Selfishness and Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand and look forward to expanding my understanding of Rand's philosophy and, most importantly, applying it to my life so that I may develop an ethics by which I may have a richer, fuller existence.

Tell us about your interest in Objectivism:

As long as I can remember I've always been a goal-oriented individual that placed my primary concern in my own achievement and my own effort. From my earliest days of schooling, my achievements were passively acknowledged by my teachers (as if overachievement were a malady or dificiency) and were completely abhorred by my peers. As I grew older, I began to realize that the world placed a premium on group think, on giving to others at one's expense, and at hiding one's grand achievements as if they were an open sore. The world seemed to operate in an inverse fashion to what seemed logical to me. It wasn't until I was introduced to Rand's work that I had to words to describe what I had experienced all of these years and to know that it was okay for me to object to what I was seeing and experiencing. I've studied the ancient mysteries, studied the world's religions, been initiated into many secret orders, and now I work for a non-profit. In all of these settings, the teachings are the same - that we should give and not expect to receive justly, that God in heaven sees our good works, and that we will be justly rewarded in the afterlife. All of these forms of myticism have one thing in common - they claim to enhance life but they secretly worship death. I adore Rand's philosophy because it postulates that A is indeed A, that human life is an end unto itself, and that our primary concern should not be placed in other people (or in some mystical being for which we cannot empirically prove its existence but our told to "have faith) but in our own might and ability. What we can see with our two eyes, hear with our two ears, and calculate with the inestimable ability of the human mind. That is the genesis of my interest in Objectivism and it grows deeper and deeper with each waking moment that I have.