Monthly Archives: June 2013

Affirmative Action: Self-Perpetuation of Racism based on Differences in Skin Pigmentation

Affirmative action broke on the scene to right a wrong. To level the playing field after years of oppression based on race and ethnic background that  plagues American history. Affirmative action was meant to blur and eventually erase the line created by socio-economic divisions created absent American values of freedom and liberty. BUT – is affirmative action still relevant in 2013 or does it perpetuate the idea that all people are not equals because of skin color?

Black & White

I’m a white man – but unlike a lot of white people in America I grew up in a black neighborhood in South Atlanta. I grew up poor and witnessed (and sometimes experienced) how racism, social expectations, and history can make life tough. All because you are a certain skin color, dress a certain way, and learn a different set of acceptable social norms.

Inequality exists not because their skin was black, specifically, but because society had set a certain standard for being black. And moreover, some black people set a certain expectation for themselves. It’s a subconscious and cultural phenomena that is almost impossible to notice unless you witness it first hand. It’s the common phenomena of rising to meet the expectations (or lack there of) expected from you.

If you are expected to “act black” you do. Just like if you are expected to be a gentlemen, become a lawyer, doctor, graduate college, or be a nobody – one usually rises (or falls) to the occasion.

So I do not deny, that even today, there are numerous cultural and historical factors that when combined act as a weight that make it difficult to be a person of color in the United States. Like the famous anecodote by Maya Angelou – the difficulties of racism are like a cage. No one bar serves to cage you, just like no one factor prevents an individual from being successful. It is when those factors combine – to form many bars of the cage – that trap you. Such is America, but still, does affirmative action really help?

Does Affirmative Action actually Help?

Most people who understand that many minorities are still hindered by the unseen forces of American society would argue that Affirmative Action is necessary. It makes things equal. But I disagree. From my view Affirmative Action, in 2013, serves to maintain the status-quo. Not to change it.

Affirmative Action is government sanctioned racism. It recognizes that people are different based on skin color and it plants a seed of racial inferiority in the soil of American societal foundations. It validates young black people’s idea that they are different. That they need special treatment to be successful. It validates the idea that their culture is more violent, poor, less successful, and incapable of being as successful as non-minorities.

While Affirmative Action attempts to address the social injustices faced by minorities it instead suggest certain individuals are less capable of conquering adversity. That certain groups need or deserve more help from the Government to be equals. It validates and sanctions a negative stereotype. What’s worse – it suggest that those minorities who have earned their place at the table of success did so because they were helped. They were given a hand-out so their successes are somehow less valid than everyone else’s.

For these reasons, among others, I think Affirmative Action in 2013 is counter productive.

How Apathy Killed a Country: Security and Privacy

It might seem like the NSA Privacy topic is all anyone is talking about right now and that true, but I have been discussing these issues for three years now. Right here on this very blog. It’s frustrating.  Sometimes I feel like people, especially people in my generation (20 somethings) are blind. We are too addicted to the whims of main-stream-media talking points and our smart phones to know anything different. Perhaps the real question is: Why are we doing nothing? I have my theories.

Hierarchy of Needs and a Call to Action

My theory is we have become fat piggies. Too fat to do anything about our own circumstances.

We have all of our basic needs met. We have food, shelter, short term safety, and we are entertained. Distracted. That’s perhaps the most important thing. We are well fed and highly distracted.

People riot for two reasons:

1. Their immediate needs are not met. They are starving. They are approaching death. They are oppressed and “fight or flight” tells them to fight.

2. They are of higher conscious and demand social change. I think this is where the founding fathers were at. They saw the larger social injustice and understood their context in history. The opportunity came to form the United States and they did it.

Since our needs are being met and we are being kept relatively fat and stupid – subdued – those in the know are free to rule the slave masses. A more subtle and sinister form of slavery than before – slavery of thought and intention. Not a conspiracy, but a technique slowly developed over time by those in power – to stay in power. Unintentional at it’s core, effective, but on purpose.

Distractions and Illusion have made us blind to historical context

We have been to quick to forget history. We’ve been detracted. We have been fat pigs gobbling up free treats in our troughs – with our heads down – while our masters prepare to slaughter (or at least control) us. Big banks have gotten, their institutions have failed, and they’ve gotten richer. We’ve been swindled.

We do nothing because it all seems normal. We sit around the dinner table and complain about the NSA, Obamacare, homophobes – or whatever it is we want to be mad about, but we ultimately do nothing. I suggest reading the book “In the Garden of Beasts” for some historical context to how this is much like Nazi Germany under Hitler. (No I’m not saying we are Nazi Germany, I’m saying the social attitude to corruption is eerily similar.)

End Rant

Of course I’m ranting. It’s just frustration, I guess. I’ve seen first hand the changing perception of America around the world. I’ve heard and read first hand accounts about the military and economic tactics of business men and politicians around the world. A regime change here, a drone strike there, bankrupt a country – sell the spoils to the highest bidder. Greece, Turkey, Guatemala, Panamar, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, whoever. The people riot, the media ignores it, repeat.

2 Cheap and Delicious Meals in New York City

1. 53rd & 6th Halal Cart
The 53rd & 6th Halal Cart in New York City is the most popular and from my experience the most delicious food cart in the country. For about $5 you can get a gigantic portion of Indian style lamb, beef, or chicken with rice and pita.

I must have visited this food cart at least 3 times (ok more like 10). If you are looking for something that is equal parts cheap, quick, and tasty look no further. In fact, skip the gourmet meal and just eat street food. We spent $100 to eat dinner at Bobby Flay’s restaurant one night and would have rather had the Halal cart lamb any day of the week!

Street food will be a much more authentic NYC experience anyways. Your wallet and stomach will thank me.

halal

2. 2 Bros Pizza
If you are looking for an authentic slice of NYC style pie, that is also cheap, check out 2 bros pizza. You can find a 2 bros pizza almost anywhere in NYC so they are quite convenient and the taste/service is pretty consistent, but the most popular location is in East Village (between 2nd Ave & 3rd Ave).

The slices of pizza cost you around $1 and are the size of a large infant. I challenge you to find a larger portion of food for less anywhere in NYC. There was a 2 bros pizza on the way to the subway from my hotel so I ended up grabbing a couple slices of $1 pizza more than a few times.

2 bros pizza

People who Disgust me

I think I am becoming disgusted with people.

Today I was in the elevator with two terribly obese women. Each at least 300lbs.  We went up 7 stories which took approximately 1 minute. For each second of the entire minute the two fat ladies complained. They complained about the heat. They complained about work. They complained about their co-workers. They complained.

“It’s so HOT! You’ll never hear me complain about winter.” One obese women said. I noticed her neck jiggle as her chin moved up and down.

Frankly she was disgusting to me. She had two huge chins and her clothes fit more like sheets fit a water bed than a t-shirt should fit a person. Plus, something rubbed me wrong about a person complaining about the heat in Florida. What the hell is she expecting?

The entire time I thought to myself: “You wouldn’t be so fucking hot if you weren’t so goddam fat.”

Do you know what bothers me? People who complain about so much about nothing. When the  person comes in such a disgusting package it irritates me even more.

8 Reasons Obama’s Presidency has failed

There are a lot of fans of the Obama Administration, but at this point I think there are just too many problems to ignore. Here are 8 issues I find especially troubling.

UPDATE: Washington post confirms the Government is pulling data from at least 9 separate sources including Google.

1. The NDAA – allowing for indefinate detention of U.S. citizens without trial.

2. CISPA – Would allow the Government to legally monitor all traffic and share information with ISPs. New evidence shows that they are already doing this, at least partially, (see #7 below) they just want to make it official!

3. Guantanamo Bay – still open, being expanded on.

4. Fast and Furious – The US Government caught red handed dealing arms to Mexican drug cartels.

5. Benghazi – 4 U.S. citizens killed in a terrorist attack.  “Stand down” orders were given to nearby U.S. Military responders, the administration knowingly lied about what happened, and all mere months before President Obama’s second election.

Note: Obama recently appointed Susan Rice as National Security Advisor (she lied about Benghazi over and over again). The interesting thing about this appointment is that it does not require Senate approval. Was he sending a message? I think so.

6. The IRS scandal – evidence of the direct targeting of conservative groups by the IRS.

7. The Government Spying on us – leaked papers recently proved that the US Government is tracking, logging, and data mining, all cell phone data.

8. The largest spy data center ever built – big enough to log every phone call conversation, every email, and every chat. Read about it here or here.

Atheists and Heaven: “But do good: we will meet one another there.”

Pope Francis gave a homily recently that changed things. It forced the world to have a conversation: to think about what it means to be a good person and the value of doing good.

“They complain,” Francis said, “If he is not one of us, he cannot do good. If he is not of our party, he cannot do good.” He explained that Jesus corrected them, “Do not hinder him, he says, let him do good.”

The disciples, Pope Francis explained, “were a little intolerant,” closed off by the idea of possessing the truth, convinced that “those who do not have the truth, cannot do good.” “This was wrong… Jesus broadens the horizon.” Pope Francis said, “The root of this possibility of doing good – that we all have – is in creation.”

“Even them, everyone, we all have the duty to do good, Pope Francis said on Vatican Radio.

“Just do good” was his challenge, “and we’ll find a meeting point.”

Francis explained himself, “The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart, do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can… “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ, all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!” We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”

The impact of this homily is less about “who get’s into heaven” and more about the necessity of ALL PEOPLE doing good, the value of compassion, and humanity. That is an example all people, all religions, and all dogmas can respect and learn from.

Since then the catholic church has slightly redacted that statement, but it’s none-the-less interesting.