Cultural

What is the answer to gun control?

In light of every mass shooting the United States has had in the modern era, I got to wondering what can actually be done about this type of horror we keep seeing.

I know people will never give up their right to own guns. Why should they when a great number of them are gun intelligent? In other words, you give them a gun and they won’t shoot themselves or others on accident.

What’s left to do then?

I’ve come to the conclusion that the answer lies in the lives that we lose.

Upon some poking around and doing some research I discovered that the people who are dying from gun-related incidents are not from mass murders. Don’t get me wrong, 58 dead with more than 500 injured is no small thing.

Neither is the 49 killed and more than 50 injured on June 12, 2016, at Pulse nightclub.

Certainly not the 32 killed with an undetermined number of others injured on April 16, 2007, at Virginia Tech Blacksburg.

The senseless killing of 20 little ones, and 6 adults on December 17, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The 23 killed on October 16, 1991, at Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas.

21 adults and children dead in a San Ysidro California McDonalds on July 18, 1984, because of some old white guy.

16 were killed and 30 others wounded at the University of Texas in Austin Texas on August 1, 1966, where it was later discovered that two more were killed earlier that same day.

San Bernardino: 14 killed on December 2, 2015

Edmond, Oklahoma: 14 postal workers killed on August 20, 1986, with handguns.

Fort Hood: 13 are killed and 32 injured at Fort Hood, Texas military base.

There are five other instances where 13 people lost their lives because someone has been pushed to the edge of tolerance.

Here are some other numbers for you:

33,000* – the approximate number of lives ended by guns in the United States every year.

Two thirds – how many of those gun deaths in the United States that were suicides.

1 in 5 young men (15 to 34) killed in homicides often related to gang loyalties or other street violence.

1,700 – the number of women murdered every year generally as the result of domestic violence (quick note: I am more than aware that domestic violence goes both ways. I feel that the laws against domestic violence need to be enforced onto both sexes. Here the focus is on women deaths due to domestic violence as women are more often killed then men).

333 – the number of people who have lost their lives in mass shootings.

All these numbers are horrifying. But please explain to me how a blanket law for gun control is going to help?

Australia. Yes, they have a nice ban on guns but look at the number of mass shootings they have had. Not enough to actually make the ban show any difference in overall numbers.

In both Britain and Australia, bans have not reduced the number of mass shootings or gun related-crimes. And gun restrictions had an ambiguous effect on other gun-related crimes or deaths.

Now let us look at some of the blanket ideals for gun control:

Assault weapons*: You do not go in and buy an assault weapon. This is a classification that includes any semi-automatic with two or more features. A bayonet mount, rocket-propelled grenade-launcher mount, folding stock or pistol grips. Anyone who is gun intelligent can tell you that these features can easily be added or removed to a gun like Lego sets.

Silencers: Not so silent. Or rather forget movie silencers. An AR-15 with a silencer is about as loud as a jackhammer*. These are more for the shooters then quietly ending lives.

Magazine limits: A bit better, if you ignore the practiced shooters* who can change magazines so fast the limits are quite meaningless.

There has been no proposed restriction that would make it harder for people with guns on hand to actually use them.

A blanket gun control law is not going to help. What possibly will help is narrowly tailored interventions. All the deaths listed above need different protections.

People who think about committing suicide need better access to people who could care for them and get them help. These are usually older men!

Women who are endangered by specific men need police to get off their asses and enforce restraining orders that prohibit these men from buying and owning guns.

Mentors are needed who can help de-escalate conflicts and keep young people at risk of being violent from becoming so.

New Orleans has the right idea with their gang member identification practice*. The numbers are there, but they have to be disarmed one by one, personally.

When we can make the small individual changes then we can see a large scale difference in not only the not often seen numbers but in those publicized mass shootings ones as well. Most of those shootings are caused by someone, usually a white male that has problems that we know how to begin treating that just isn’t given the chance to be treated.

*33,000 gun deaths a year in the United States

Data of Mass Shootings (suicides, gang/street related, domestic violence)

Mass Shooting Analysis

Suicides in the US

Domestic Abuse towards Women

*Assault Weapons

*Loud as a jackhammer

*World’s Fastest Reload

*New Orleans gun control

This was spurred by an article with many of these points laid out, but it’s a Washington Post article and they really limit the amount you can read on their site without a subscription. Here is a 30 day pass for The Washington Post. As a subscriber I do not know if the Washington Post will hassle you into buying a subscription or not. Only you can choose if this is something you wish to do or not. Do not come at me because of anything the Washington Post may do to or for you.

Until next time, we as a nation need to look closely to laws that help the ones that need it the most. There has never been a successful blanket solution that works for all.

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Categories: America, Cultural, Gun Control, Guns, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Is Really Happening to the Human Race?

Warning Note: I want to warn you that this post will have some swear words and name calling in it. When the world is being stupid there are some words that convey my thoughts or feelings perfectly and those words just happen to be curse words. I am not meaning to offend anyone. The lack of intelligence in the 21st century just amazes me and literally dumb-founded me to the point where the only descriptive wording I can think of are curse words. And sometimes you just have to use what you are given to get a point across, even if it isn’t eloquent or intelligence sounding.

When I sit here and check the news or even my Facebook that question pops up quite a bit in my head. The world is a very different place now then when I was in high school and that was only in the early 90’s! I just skimmed an article about the Steubenville rapists and I am saddened and distressed at a number of things. First being that the mighty CNN apparently is in grieving that the guilty verdict has ruined the “promising” lives of the boys. This guilty verdict that they so deserve is not what ruined their so called promising lives. It was the actions they decided to push onto another human being.

Second, NOT A SOUL stepped in to stop these boys. Everyone whipped out their smartphones and started taking pictures or recording what was going on instead of getting off their fat asses and stopping what was going on. I don’t want to hear SHIT about how social pressures or the like has interfered and that no one wanted to be the next “picked” on by their peers because they stopped the entertainment. That is beyond bullshit and I think all of us intelligent adults know this. There is something wrong with any person who stands by and does nothing in moments like this. It’s actually called accessory to the fact. Meaning that everyone who stood by and watched are just as guilty as the two boys who did the act are. But until we remove our heads from our asses, we’ll never see bystanders being charged; perhaps if we did do this, more people would step up for their fellow human.

Third (this could turn into a long list, you may want to get something to drink and some snacks….); what happened to thinking about consequences? Has the past literally told people nothing? If you rape someone, I don’t care how old YOU are, how old THEY are or the circumstances, if you rape, murder, assault a person you damn well be prepared to suffer what happens when you’re caught. The fact that we coddle our kids by not punishing them or telling them no or being all lovely dovey with competitive sports by always ending games in a tie and telling our children that no matter what mommy and daddy will take care of it.

Fuck that! Tell them no, tell them that in order to get better at something they need to WORK at it and that mom and dad is not going to always bail their asses out of hardships they create for themselves. Make them stand on their own two feet and learn that every action they do no matter how small DOES have a reaction, sometimes equal sometimes much, much worst. KARMA is and forever will be a bitch, even when “she” is handing out the good kind, there’s always a bite somewhere.

Make them watch when politicians say or do stupid things like Romney throwing the $50,000 dinner and pretty much pissing on everyone who could not afford to attend said dinner. Do they not think that the consequence of that action is the fact he is not President? That and so many other reasons. Of all of the things we teach our children, how are we not teaching them to respect their fellow human beings and have compassion for them and to realize that whatever they do they must be ready to deal with the reaction of that action. If not what are we releasing onto the world? Is this just another “custom” that will die because it is not being taught? What kind of world will the future be then?

Until next time, unless we stand up and do something bulling, rape, assault and other things will continue. Step up, be that difference, save a future. If you cannot or will not do not expect someone to do it for you should you ever be in need of help. Karma is watching.

Categories: America, Cultural | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

I have not forgotten!

Finals are over and for me classes are done and I can sit back and relax for almost a month. So let me see if I can remember where I’ve left off here……

Oh yes, art! So that means we move on to the Modern World system.

As colonization began, people throughout the world started to be influenced by European culture, economics and politics. The world economy today is considered a capitalist world economy. America, China, Japan are core countries which have the major influences over other countries. They are powerful and hardly need aid. {Although today I wonder about America} Mexico is an example of a semi periphery country. 3rd world country, the poorest of the poor with no sell-able products are periphery countries.

So how did we get where we are? During the 18th century, Western Europe underwent an industrial revolution. A guy named Karl Marx argued that stratification within society was based on the “haves” and the “have nots”. He believed the bourgeoisie were the factory owners, mine owners etc. Sort of like WalMart. The proletariat were the workers. He thought that the proletariat would overcome their own differences to form groups to protect their own interests. Again, like WalMart. The problem is that the have nots (proletariats) have yet to demand an equal distribution of wealth, however we could be close to seeing something like that soon.

Then there is this guy named Max Weber who argued that social stratification could be divided into three groups; economic status, political status and social status.He thought that nationalism was the big reason why the proletariat did not band together in multi-nation groups. Celebrities hardly are asked about things beyond what they are known for. You wouldn’t ask Tom Cruise for finance advice, you’d ask Bill Gates.

So, who was right?

Social stratification always leads to class systems, these can be open or closed systems, Caste systems (like those of India or S. Africa) are closed but Class systems like America’s are considered open. For  Americans it is easy to change class, however we don’t always choose which direction in the Class we go. Caste systems you cannot change which Caste you were born in no matter what you do.

And on that quite happy note, let’s talk a little about  Colonialism and Development!

After 1870 Europe began a search for markets in Asia and Africa.

Colonialism refers to the political, social, economic and cultural domination of a territory and its people by a foreign power for an extended period of time.

Imperialism refers to a policy of extending rule of a nation or empire over foreign countries. Imperialism is as old as the state. Colonialism began with the Age of Discovery and European founding of colonies.

There where two phases of British Colonialism:
First phase concentrated in New World, West Africa, and India, ended with the American Revolution.
Second phase Britian controlled India, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and large portions of East and South Africa.
British colonies were justified by the idea that Western Civilization needed to control and provide order for native peoples who were not capable of providing it for themselves. Overall driven by money and business interests and nothing more.

The British pushed people way to hard which of course led to the revolution. They believed they were making things “better” for the uncivilized people who were perfectly fine without them.

Prisons were starting to quickly fill up as the officials had to wait to get permission to execute a prisoner, it was cheaper to deport them to Australia

Australia was used as a prison, what is known as a penal colony and to be deported to Australia was the worst punishment as they prisoners were dropped off at the shore and told to survive if they could. After a time they started arresting women for small charges, sometimes even false charges to deport them to Australia.

One such woman, who at 26 was falsely arrested as a prostitute decided on her way with 80 other poor women souls that the only possible way they could survive was to band together. She became a madam of the 80 women and was quite successful. She started some of the first churches and married and lived until she was in her 80s. She apparently still has decedents living in Australia today.

The French Colonialism however was driven by politics, church and military. They too had two phases:
First phase: Canada, Louisiana Territory, the Caribbean and West Africa.
Second phase grew to include North Africa and Indochina.
Justification was to spread French culture, language and religion which to them was superior.

The French went to tribal leaders and said that they want to be in charge but the leader would remain the leader and that they (the French) would own the land. Things remained basically the same-the French didn’t push the people for change and when they came into contact with groups with no leaders they would appoint a leader. The French basically bribed the people.

This turned out to be a good thing for the French as there was an amazing amount of information sent back to France. Well documented in many thing and they lost no territories. Thomas Jefferson bought the Louisiana Territory from the French which was their biggest “lost”.

French had two forms of rule
Direct rule:French imposed new governments on native populations; absolute control.
Indirect rule: French used local political structure and leaders as puppet governments.

Both colonial powers ended after WWII. Postcolonial studies refer to research about the interactions between European nations and the societies they colonized. The Postcolonial period is sometimes used to refer to second half of the 20th century (1950-2000).

Postcolonies are those areas that were historically colonies, can be classified in three ways:
Settler-dominated by European settlers, sparse natives (Australia is a prime example)
Nonsettler-dominated by natives, sparse Europeans (India is a prime example)
Mixed-both sizable populations (South Africa is a prime example)

Lots of interactions is not always good. America gave a lot of things back to the Natives but the fight in Australia (between the natives and government) lasted for so long that when the natives finally won, the land that was given back to the natives had been in families for generations and they suddenly found themselves homeless and “lost” with nothing that could be done about it. This as you can imagine created much hatred towards the government.

India was not a very popular colonial. More people from India picked up and moved to England where you can see a lot of Indian influence and you can see much English influence in India because of this.

There was much belief in the fact that native problems could be fixed locally. For example there is a high pollution rate around a city, the problem is not the city but the American factories that are built close by who are polluting the area. Like the one in Mexico that is for cell phone and computer recycling. Americans actually “recycle” a whole load of cellphones yearly but what can not be used for other parts are thrown in a landfill behind the factory which starts contaminating the land and water. It has become a problem, but it isn’t one that can be considered ‘local’.

When you change a system, like WalMart moving into a small town it creates a dramatic overnight change to that small town. Which is why many towns try to keep big box business like WalMart out of their towns (take for example the small town of Los Alamos, NM). Small businesses in the town close, taxes get raised to cover the costs of roads being used more and stop lights installed because of the heavy traffic to the town from miles around to shop at WalMart

Development like this started with the justification of the British and French with the economic development plans of industrialization, modernization, Westernization, individualism which are desirable advances that will bring long term benefits to natives. But the problems with those plans is that they have narrow focus, like the ‘problems’ of natives may actually be caused by world’s impact. System impacts which cause those tax increases, living expenses increase and the narrow focus of experts that don’t always have culturally minded schemes.

A great example is Brazil. There was a farming village that was quite self efficient but the Government came in and tried to introduce a a new “cash crop” promising the village that if they didn’t like it after five years they could go back to their old crops. They finally gave in and started planting sisal (like hemp) but they were not the only countries doing so and they did not make the profits they were looking for, but what the Government didn’t tell them was that once you plant sisal you can not plant anything else in that soil ever again. This development increased the dependence on the world economy, it ruined local subsistence economy that they had and seriously decreased the local health and income. In other words bad, bad, bad!

Not all things go badly. A major water project (in Africa I believe) was being discussed; drilling to bring water to other areas that needed water. Questions were wisely asked to the natives, the tribal leaders told them about places where readily available water. They mapped all the known locations that were easier for villagers to get to and saved a lot of money on the original project. The original idea was to map out the water ways and spend quite a hefty amount creating new wells in places where the villagers would have to travel far to get water.

What is the goal? Change is going to happen….postcolonies can’t go back. Several strategies that cultural anthropologists have suggested; Kottak (author) found that culturally compatible projects were two times as likely to succeed. But innovation strategies still have problems. There are overinnovations; development projects that require major change by target community. Not sensitive to the traditional culture. Then underdifferentiation; tendency to treat less-developed countries as all alike. Often assume nuclear family is basis of production and land ownership.

The best models are usually found in the target community (they have ideas-listen to them). Realistic development promotes change, not overinnovation, preseve local systems while making them work better.

There is just one more section after this one. Cultural Exchange and Survival. The term has already ended as I mentioned egos ago above.. Next term I do have Evolutionary Anthropology so I expect much Christian hatred. I wish people would wake up and realize that this is the way whatever God or Gods/Goddesses created us and the living thing around us. Change is going to happen, and we are expected to survive and the only way is to evolve. It’s science and science doesn’t lie. Get used to it.

Until next time patience is a virtue, unless you are reading ancient hieroglyphs while a horde of people who are being controlled by a mummy are trying to kill you.

(That is a proverbial phrase referring to one of the seven heavenly virtues typically said to date back to “Psychomachia,” an epic poem written in the fifth century by the way.)

Categories: Anthropology, Cultural | 3 Comments

What exactly is Art?

Isn’t it funny how one person can look at say a Jackson Pollock and be moved to tears while another (like myself) look at the same painting and snort thinking you made something similar when you were 4. Art has a different meaning for everyone.  One of many (I am sure) anthropological meanings of art is the human endeavor thought to be aesthetic and have meaning beyond simple description. Includes music, dance, sculpture, painting, drawing, stitchery, weaving, poetry, writing, woodworking, etc. A medium of expression where the individual and culture come together.

As there are many forms of art, there are different inspirations for art. And yes my dear, religion just happens to be one of the biggest (surprise, surprise). Just look at some of the old cathedrals, which I myself absolutely adore, you know, when I’m not catching on fire for being on holy ground (/sarcasm). Michelangelo is a wonderful example of religion inspiring art. Everyone has their muses (and I tend to think mine are extremely lazy or go on many vacations without me) but whatever inspires doesn’t mean all will be moved by what is created. In fact there are some “artists” who do not see what they create as art and if the culture still existed would think there was something extremely wrong with you should you happen to tell them what they have is brilliant.

I am of course talking about the Soul Catchers of the Kalabari of Nigeria. They make carvings that represent the dead for religious ceremonies so that the soul of the deceased so that the soul won’t jump into a body that already has a soul in it. They believed that mental illnesses are what happen when one body has two souls.

Kalabari

This is probably the most famous Kalabari sculpture. It was “stolen” by a lady who had it for quite a few years before it showed up in mainstream art. It depicts a man and his two sons, all three died in an accident together.

While we may see this as art, Kalabari sees these as hideous things not to be on display but instead buried deep into the Earth. The shamans or members of the family would wander into the forest or surrounding area and pick a spot and bury the sculpture deep into the dirt then forget about it. Unlike Westerners they don’t need a place to go to remember their passed loved ones. In face they are a little scared of the sculptures as like I mentioned, they are soul catchers and they don’t wait for a soul to be free of it’s body.

We see art everywhere. Paintings, billboards, ads, commercials and even the television shows you love to watch. Heck, my blog can be considered a form of art. Did you know that I think yearly there is an AIDS quilt made of all the people who lost their lives the past year all over the nation to AIDS and it gets displayed (or parts of it as it is huge) all over. And we will never forget 9-11 as the imagery is everywhere, for some it hurts, for others it reminds and for still others it strengthens their resolve. And of course politians will use it however they feel like using it. Which brings me to political cartoons. If you’re a friend of mine on Facebook you have seen a few of those cartoons, but they do go both ways. If you’ve ever been to a Cracker Barrel then you more in likely have seen some old ads of many things.

Even Dr. Seuss did some cartoons for World War II to bring in funding for the war. Which personally they should bring back instead of the failing system they have now.

We teach our children art at a very early age, sometimes before they are even born. We tell them stories, sing them songs, take them to museums and of course we enroll them in music lessons. Some women will place headphones on their pregnant bellies and play music (like Mozart, Brahms, and even some Evanescence) in hopes of  increasing their child’s intelligence. Not sure it works, I was one of the few who didn’t know they were pregnant until I went into labor. That however is a whole other post for a whole other blog.

As culture changes so does art. Walk through an art gallery, specially one of those big ones that has art throughout the ages and you can clearly see the changes. Also there is that fine line of art and porn. Sometimes people go a little too far in trying to ban true works of art and then there are those who uses art as an excuse to get people’s clothes off. A line that shifts as things change.

Remember, there are five parts of culture: Shared, Learned, Integrated, Transmitted and Encompassing. The big question is can you describe each?

Sorry the posts have become further apart as of late. We’re in the last two weeks of the term so I’ve been studying for finals and finishing up with assignments and making sure I have done everything possible. This Wednesday is the last lecture day in Anthropology and then the following Wednesday is the final and I have two small research papers (one in Cultural one in Linguistics  due on the same day. And no, I haven’t chosen a topic yet. I have an idea what I might write about but I haven’t really done any research on anything.

Until next time think about what you plan to do once my term is over. The next one doesn’t start until January! Hell, what am I going to do!?

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Gender and Religion

Very strange combination as religion is probably the most responsible for the oppression of women. After all it was written by old men who hated women. First do know I am not a fan of any religion. I don’t see how going to a certain building one day a week guarantees you a place in a heaven and those who don’t guarantees a place in hell. Makes no sense to me as does the fact that Christians actually pick and choose what verses to abide by and which ones don’t serve their purpose so they ignore it. How fitting for them yes? But let’s not get into that as I will TRY to stick to the anthropology side of this all, but do forgive me if I rant. Like a good Christian you can ignore it if you choose to.

So gender believe it or not doesn’t always mean female or male. It is the cultural construction of sexual difference. Take for example gender roles. Tasks and activities a culture will assign to a particular sex; women do the work at home, men work outside the home and bring in the dough. What I just exampled there can be said to be a gender stereotype (characteristics we think of as typical for males and females) and we are all aware of the gender stratification;  that is the unequal distribution of rewards given to men and women. To put it even plainer, the fact that men get paid more than women for the same damn job.

There are many societies that women inherit the land, control food production and redistribute it. And there are societies where women are nothing more than livestock. And just for general knowledge, if you are female you may want to stay out of Papua New Guinea. Not a female friendly place. There are a lot of activities us Westerners would consider strange or even taboo. For example there is the Etoro culture that believe women are soul suckers and that the soul resides in the semen of men. They believe this so strongly that only 100 days out of the year are they allowed to have hetero sex with their wives. The other 260 days are spent away from the wives living with other men where the boys will, since they can’t produce semen on their own they acquire it from their elders. I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

We tend to stay close to our own society’s norm when it comes to gender. There are those brave wonderful souls who dare go against said norm, mostly in the States and UK then other cultures/places. Thanks to the Internet we are more aware of what people desire and what fetishes there are. Sadly the Internet also has desensitized people against violence and sex. If you take a good look at things you would notice the the US are more desensitized against violence and UK are more desensitized against sex. UK people’s jaws drop when they see the kind of violence we allow on the television (Watch the latest episode of Person of Interest for a great example–it’s a good show too) while we Americans would gasp and avert our eyes from all the boobs UK tv and other places allow to be shown. In either culture it is quite difficult for parents to shield their children from either sex or violence where the Internet is concerned.

While we have no idea when “religion” began or who thought it up in the first place there is different types of religion:
Animism: a belief in spiritual beings
-Often associated with mana “luck”
Totemism: sacred emblems symbolizing common identity.
Magic: supernatural techniques intended to accomplish specific goals.
-Imitative magic: voodoo dolls
-Contagious magic: using objects a person had contact with to harm that person.

So why on Earth do we even have religion? Apparently supernatural beliefs help people. They need some supernatural force to explain events (cause science is evil), accomplish goals, reduce anxiety (since it’s a good idea to put faith into something that could leave you feeling empty when you don’t get your way. How many people were praying Romney would win the White House in 2012?), helps them to face death (at least this one I can understand and support), and so that they can endure just about any crisis. September 11. Nuff said.

But you know I’m going to expose the black side of religion. Other purposes religion seems to have are ecological (helps people survive in their environment, ex: India and the sacred cow), social control (powerful motivation in name of religion ex: Crusades, witch hunts) and revitalization movements (times of change, religious leaders emerge ex: Christianity). And there are the ‘Rites of Passage’ which has three phases to transition from one stage to another which are (1) Separation, (2) liminality (limbo phase, cut off from normal society, communities are collective liminalities) and (3) incorporation. This is practiced by nuns, boot camps and cults.

So let’s quickly talk about the four main types of religion (which fit into the three types of religion mentioned above):

Shamanic: Shamans are not full-time religious leaders. They are usually associated with hunter-gatherer societies and serve as a guide, sometimes undertakes a “journey” for someone in the band. For example Rafiki from ‘The Lion King’.

Communal: Communal religions have shamans, but they also have community rituals and everyone takes part in these rituals. This is typical of small farming societies (horticulturalists) and often have belief in several deities. Think Ancient Egypt and their many gods and goddess or Greece with their many gods and goddesses.

Olympian: Associated with state organization and marked social stratification. Full time religious specialist; Priest sometimes even Priestess. Also believe in many deities; again think Greek and Roman. They have gods/goddesses of love, war, death,fertility etc. “Anthropomorphic”= ascribing human form or attributes to a being or thing not human, especially to a deity.

Monotheistic: Very similar to Olympian religion; priests, state organization, etc. but all supernatural control is under ONE being or god. Example: Catholics, Christians, etc.

Like cultures, religions mix. Syncretisms is what it’s known as. Voodoo is African, Caribbean, Roman and a Catholic mix. Cargo Cults are Christian and Metanesian mix and Revitalization movements are often a mix of old and new religions to make something ‘different’ and unique.

Next week we’ll be talking about Art and The Modern World System.

Until next time remember that sharing your religion should not involve shoving it down someone else’s throat as they may have a gag reflex and you’ll end up with egg all over your face.

Categories: Anthropology, Cultural | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

What is your Ethnicity?

If you answer that with “white”, “African-American”, “Indian-American” or any other race that is not what I am asking. I am asking not for your race but what your ethnicity is. Let me help you with that answer as this is something I learned today as well.

Ethnicity is not a politically correct term for race, though many people use it that way. It is being part of and identifying with an ethnic group. Ethnic groups have shared values and beliefs, just like any culturally defined group. Just  because a person looks to be say a African-American does not mean they actually self identify with that ethnicity. I am blond and blue eyed with Dutch blood, but I self-identify more with my British blood than the Dutch or Irish as there really is very little of that in my veins. Just enough to physically show.

There are two types of race, which socially is un-talked about as a whole. There is the Social race that is perceived differences which has actually little to do with actual DNA and then there is Biological Race. Humans don’t actually have a subspecies any more. Dogs, cats, horses, cows, sheep and just about any animal you can think of however does. Humans are the only creatures on Earth that no longer has subspecies. We don’t talk about people’s race or even ethnicity because it has become a taboo subject; much like sex.

Although it shouldn’t be such a rude thing to talk about, a lot of people are proud of their race and their ethnicity (assuming the two aren’t one and the same, it can happen) and are more than willing to talk about it as long as you provide a safe place to do so. No one wants to be mocked or jeered at because of their race or ethnicity and really hating a person because of their ascribed status (that is what you are born with and can’t change or chose) is quite silly! Not to mention pointless, but that is generally what leads to hate crimes.

Genocide never stopped to make sure you were actually of the race they want to destroy, but if you looked the part you were thrown in with the rest of them no matter your real biological race. Quite sad as we all know and too true. Instead if you really need to despise or even hate (which really is a waste of time) a person, why not do so because of their achieved status (what comes from choices, actions, efforts and talents, like being a doctor, father, movie star or even friend), which we know happens more often than not.  I do believe that is called jealousy. And just so we are clear about what I’m referring to, jealousy is reflective of a person’s feelings or attitudes toward another person, whereas envy expresses a person’s feelings or attitudes toward another person’s advantages or accomplishments; jealousy pertains to emotional rivalry while envy is resentment of a more fortunate person.

Obviously Americans live in ethnic diversity with both peaceful coexistence and a little conflict. We used to strive to be that melting pot you may or may not remember hearing/learning about this in elementary school, I know I do but today we strive to be multicultural; the presence of diversity with ethnic neighborhoods and ethnic cuisine.

But there are still conflicts. Just take a good look at the events right after 9-11. How many times did you hear newscasters encourage Americans to tell on their neighbors if they think something “strange” is going on? There’s a story of a woman who was in Arby’s I think and she called the police to report a couple of guys sitting in the booth behind her because they were of colored skin (they were Hispanics) and they were talking funny (they were talking in Spanish) and just HAD to be terrorists. Well, a cop came (who also just happened to be Hispanic) and walked over to talk to the two guys. Apparently the guys were seriously freaked out by the white woman who kept looking over her shoulder at them as if they were talking about something frightening. After a few minutes of talking with the two men, the cop walked over to the woman and asked if he could speak to her outside (he didn’t tell the two men that the woman called them in) but she didn’t really want to go because the cop was Hispanic and obviously a terrorist as well. In the end the woman was arrested because she wouldn’t cooperate with the police because he was Hispanic and she seriously believed him to be “one of them”.

Another little story I heard was of a women who looked middle eastern but was really from India who lives in New York getting spit in the face and cursed at for months after 9-11 because of what she looked like. But that is how it was all over after 9-11. Sometimes still is. Attitudinal conflict and institutional conflict is alive and well. Attitudinal being the verbal abuse, physical abuse (a guy who had the name Mohammad was beaten so badly he died from his wounds–BECAUSE OF HIS NAME), genocide and institutional is laws and policies that deny equal rights. Don’t believe those exist? One word: Homosexuals.

My ethnicity? I say British. It is what runs through my veins the most, I have the tendency to slip into British Slang (to which reminds me I should supply a link to a British Slang dictionary should I ever write something you do not totally understand or find odd) and when I am nervous or uncomfortable a accent comes out (I’ve been told it is British and once even Scottish, I don’t know 100% as I don’t really notice it while it is happening), I don’t do a lot of tea, but I do enjoy a cuppa every now and again (big Starbucks fan–born in Seattle, so in the blood!), I however are not overly familiar with their customs or complete culture as I’ve never been. But I relate to British more than any other part of my biological race. Perhaps I’m more of a mutt with British tendencies, but what exactly is the defined ethnicity for that I wonder.

There are other things on my mind that I do wish to get down in writing about body images, debates (Presidential of course) and fashion to name a few topics, but seeing as it is late (11pm) and I need to be knocked up (British slang twisted in American meaning, look it up at The Very Best of British; it is one of my FAVORITE slang terms to use on unsuspecting Americans) quite early in the morning. Although a good snog in the morning isn’t bad either.

Quick news: I am now on Tumblr due to peer pressure. You can find me at cheshirequinn.tumblr.com and feel free to follow me if you wish. There isn’t really anything there at the moment, but I am sure I can come up with something.

Until next time, watch out for slang slinging cheshire cats; I hear they’re about, although good luck finding them. They are quite good at disappearing.

Categories: Archaeology, Cultural | Leave a comment

Cultural Anthropology

Okay, seems like WordPress was having some problems there for a moment as I wasn’t able to write in the body here…

We’re talking more of cultural anthropology for a bit and like I mentioned before America has some “strange” cultures. I am surprised to realize that even though this country is built from many different cultures coming together, we get a whole new culture.

From what I’ve deemed so far from just the lectures in class is that America is the only place where sex is a hush hush topic and that we can’t let our adolescents do what stupid things they are going to do without going batshit on them about it. How on Earth did we as a culture get this way about these topics when it seems (do note the word SEEMS as I haven’t studied or researched this at all, but might) that every culture outside the United States are not so shut down about sex and adolescents. Now I’m not talking about adolescents having sex, I am talking about the topic sex and how we do not allow our adolescents be adolescents.

We expect American adolescents to behave as adults when they have none of the responsibilities or capacity to do so and then when they screw up (which they do ALWAYS) we get mad at them and punish them. Why? Have you EVER known a 16 year old boy who just after getting caught doing something incredibly stupid can answer the question of why did they just do such a thing? Isn’t the answer just about always “I don’t know.”? Ever thought it’s because they  actually don’t know? Adolescence should be a time where they can try out being an adult but can still be forgiven because in reality they are still children. Treat them as the situation calls for it. They screw up and you say “Learn from this.” they excel and you say “Well done! Learn from this.” Our entire lives is nothing but learning and we really should not punish for mistakes as they will always happen as no one is flawless and they have to happen. Yes, tell them (adults as well) when they have made a mistake and why it is a mistake and a proposed path they could have taken instead of the one they did, but it really doesn’t make sense to punish them for it, does it? Are they learning that what they did was wrong or that getting caught was wrong? They may go out and do the same dumb thing, but not get caught doing it. Ever thought that the reason some people (men more so than women perhaps) continue to be adolescent like well into adulthood is because they never really got to be an adolescent? Is it not better they get out all those stupid things when they are still young and it cannot permanently damage them (police records are what I am mainly thinking here)?

Sex. Three little letters put them together and you can cause all sorts of problems, awkwardness and blushing. But why? Why are Americans taught that sex is a horrible horrible not talked about thing? Why is it taught that sex before marriage is bad (and on a personal note, where exactly does it say in the Bible word for word that it is a sin to have sex before marriage?)? Nowhere else in the world is these ideologies taught. I can not of course say that as fact, but just from what I’ve seen and heard so far. Do these ideologies make us better people? Or create more unhappy marriages? Is having no experience at all in the bedroom an ego booster or downer? I know it’s hard for Americans to imagine getting critiques on your bedroom performance either from your partner or a person outside the relationship, but why not? Is the lack of sex and/or knowledge of sex one of the reasons people cheat? If you are happy in the bedroom does that not radiate out into other aspects of your life and vice versa? We are so scared of telling our partners what we like and where it feels the best that those needs go unfulfilled. And why? Communication is the best things for any type of relationship, but we can easily complain to our siblings or best friends (yeah I still call them best friends and not besties) when there is something wrong not only in the bedroom but with anything else going on but we cannot turn around and say the same things to the person (or in some cases persons) who are the real ones who should be hearing all of it.

Right now many Americans are all up in arms about women’s rights. We have a Presidential hopeful who is Republican and wants to pull funding from an organization called Planned Parenthood. An organization that many women (including myself) and men have used for some reason or another. They are not an abortion clinic as many will have the uninformed believe. They have many different functions. Mammograms (quite important for early detection of breast cancer in both men and women), birth control options as well as information. Quite important for men and women looking for the carnal pleasures of the flesh without the consequences of unwanted pregnancy or STDs. Which apparently in America is a bad thing and yet we can’t deny that it happens in all age groups. And shouldn’t we all know how our preferred method of birth control works and why? Would you seriously have sex with a guy who didn’t know how to use a condom properly and refuses to listen to you? I sure wouldn’t, more chances of said condom failing and life changing events happening. They (Planned Parenthood) also offer cervical exams, another place a woman can get cancer that needs early detection (and really is there any cancer in the world that DOESN’T need early detection?) and guys the cervix is located at the end of a woman’s vagina where her actual uterus starts and is quite important, especially to those who wish to have children. And they do much more and it’s all at a price just about everyone can afford. If you’re not aware, American health care doesn’t just suck, it’s pathetic. Women by default are considered ‘pre existing conditions’ which means if you have any type of lady problem, you’re pretty much on your own in paying for it. So places like Planned Parenthood are life savers (sometimes literally) for a lot of women.

Then there’s that abortion issue. I say it that way as I think it’s obvious that if it isn’t your body, it isn’t your decision. I’d never tell a guy that he is not allowed to remove a testicle even if it will kill him if he keeps it around. Now I am against using abortion as a method of birth control. That’s just lazy in my opinion and it’s healthier and cheaper to use a better form of birth control. And it’s not what I’m talking about when I talk about abortion. Would you tell a complete stranger of any age or sex that they are not allowed to remove that cancerous growth even though it’s going to kill them? Of course not! And I can hear the screams of a cancerous growth is NOT the same as a child. Well….that depends on when you think that growth becomes a child.  Many I have heard claim it is a human being the moment the sperm meets the egg. Well that’s stupid due to the fact that women get pregnant all the time and the body itself will abort it more often than not (cause our bodies actually do have the ability to do that) and it’s very few of those sperm/egg meetings that turn into a full blown fetus then child. There is an actual point where getting an abortion is harmful and generally is not done, I think after the first trimester, the Planned Parenthood website isn’t working properly.

So after reading all that how much of it do you think is pure American culture? Do other countries/cultures deal with the same dilemmas we do? Are they up in arms about abortions, sex or the fact their adolescents aren’t acting like adults? Or is it not even an issue? How did the current American culture become if we are a mixture of cultures and not one of those other cultures find these things troublesome? Can America change it’s culture? Can anyplace change their culture?

Until next time, remember that like adults, adolescents need room to fuck up. At least their fuck ups don’t have to last a lifetime–unless you’re like me and have to tease them about it until they die.

Categories: America, Anthropology, Cultural | Tags: | Leave a comment

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