Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Response to What Black People Want to Ask White People


First, if you haven't watched the video above, I suggest you do, because this blog post is in response to those 24 questions.

Have you watched it yet?

Thanks!

Here are my answers to these questions:

  1. Umm, horror movies are real life and don't reflect real life.  You really need to ask the Hollywood directors and writers about this, though I think you'll find that a group splits up to create tension and move the plot line forward.

  2. I don't freak out when a black person plays a white fictional character.  In fact, I like when Hollywood takes previously all-white media and changes the line-up to better reflect real life.
  3. Umm, okay I stopped watching James Bond movies a while ago, but I might start watching them again if Idris Elba played Mr. Bond.  He's a fantastic actor.

  4. I never heard this prejudice about big butts and big lips until right now.  Who says they're unattractive on a black woman?  

  5. No, I never thought Miley created twerking.  But I also am not a Miley fan.

  6. Has someone really asked you to teach him/her to twerk?

  7. Hmmm,  I think that you assume that everyone knows about every trend that ever existed.  Just because one set of people do or know something does not imply that everyone does or knows the same thing.  And this may not be a black vs white thing; it's probably an urban vs suburban thing.

  8. I don't think that anyone wearing her/his hair naturally is inappropriate. 

  9. Okay, I don't understand why you are  upset that someone wants to have hair similar to yours.  Imitation is the highest form of flattery.

  10. I don't think there is enough context for me to respond here.  I think you might be discussing how white people are "appropriating" black trends, but what does that have to do with student loans?  And how do you define a "black" trend?  Why can't it just be a trend?

  11. You ask a good question, sir.  Why do we tend to generalize a community's reputation on one person's crime in one case and not the other? Or does this truly happen?  In my experience, neighborhoods with low socio-economic factors tend to have more crime, regardless of who lives in the neighborhood..  Is it possible that you're misinterpreting someone's reaction to hearing about a crime that happens in a lower socioeconomic neighborhood with the color of the alleged criminal's skin?

  12. Thank you for not assuming all white people are serial killers.   Ironically, as a kid I moved to Florida the year that the authorities captured Ted Bundy.  Hearing about him and serial killers made me a bit paranoid around white men until I realized that only a teeny-tiny percentage of the population were serial killers.  All was well until my senior year of high school, when a friend of mine was kidnapped and killed by a serial killer.

  13. I'm not uncomfortable talking about race.

  14. No, I don't think I'll be perceived as a racist.

  15. No, I don't think that racism is over, though I do think that a non-white president is a good start.  By the way, I specifically said "non-white" because Mr. Obama is the first non-white person in the White House, as well as the first black president, but non-white is the larger category.

  16. I don't really notice either situation, because usually there are black, white, Latino, Asian... around.

  17. My goal has never to be colorblind.  I like both the green and red cones in my eyes.

  18. Again, not wanting colorblindness.

  19. I don't want to say "nigger" so badly.  It's never been a longing of mine.

  20. Nor do I say "nigger" unless I'm answering someone's question.

    Tangent:  I don't use the phrase "the n-word" because just like "Voldemort", not saying "nigger" you give the word more power.

  21. Ew!  Do people walk up to you and touch your hair?  

  22. No one should touch you without your permission.  How often does this happen to you?

  23. I don't think the number of black friends a person has or doesn't have relates to that person's racism.  Personally, I do have black friends because they are nice people, not because they are black.

  24. Again, I'm not racist because I'm not racist.  Friends don't have anything to do with it.

  25. I don't curse at my parents.

  26. I don't own a dog; I am exceedingly allergic to them.

  27. This is a linguistics question more than a race question.  English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish all come from the same source and are classified as "Romance Languages".  Each language, while distinct, has similar pronunciation rules, thereby allowing a speaker of one language to reasonably guess the pronunciation of a name in another Romance language.  African languages have a different source, different pronunciation rules, and different sounds.  So I know that I cannot look at an African name and pronounce it without asking for some help, because using English pronunciation rules won't work.

     However, since I know this I generally ask for help pronouncing a name the first time.  

  28. I'm going to address the next three questions/comments here.  Lions and black people - there is no limit to how many problems people care about.  People can care about Cecil the Lion getting killed and care about black people getting killed in America.  These are not mutually exclusive.  The media played up the death of the lion because it's a problem that mostly everyone can agree is wrong, and through solidarity get more ratings.  The media's approach does not reflect the general public's feelings on these subjects.

  29. I don't think the way white people are treated should be considered a "privilege".  I think that everyone should be treated this way, and that it should be the norm.

    Instead of trying to get white people to give up their "privileges", maybe we need to change society so that everyone gets the same "privileges" as well.

  30. I don't consider you to be the spokesperson for all black people in America.  I don't really consider any person to be a spokesperson for a group of people, unless you're a formally chosen ambassador.

Wordless Wednesday: Camouflaged Pyramid


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Why We Need the Prime Directive



While the original "Star Trek" TV show seems a bit campy these days, the show actually broke many social taboos when it first aired.  The very first show had a woman as second in command, a black woman in charge of communications, and an American-Japanese man as the navigator.  The show presented a world where money didn't exist yet people still had enough,

"Star Trek" also introduced the Prime Directive.  Instead of describing this, I found the exact wording:
As the right of each sentient species to live in accordance with its normal cultural evolution is considered sacred, no Star Fleet personnel may interfere with the healthy development of alien life and culture. Such interference includes the introduction of superior knowledge, strength, or technology to a world whose society is incapable of handling such advantages wisely. Star Fleet personnel may not violate this Prime Directive, even to save their lives and/or their ship unless they are acting to right an earlier violation or an accidental contamination of said culture. This directive takes precedence over any and all other considerations, and carries with it the highest moral
obligation.
The gist of the Prime directive is that a more technically advanced civilization should not interfere with less technically advanced civilizations.  I propose that we (The United States) need to start following the Prime Directive, or at least the non-Star Fleet parts of it, because we are spreading around technology to people who are incapable of handling it.

For example, we developed antibiotics to cure tuberculosis, and we gave those antibiotics to India.  But the Indian doctors haven't necessarily been through medical school, lack laboratory facilities, and lack the knowledge to use the drugs wisely.  Now, approximately 40% of India's population have tuberculosis; that means 480 million people are infected.  A lack of proper diagnosis and proper treatment has given rise to a new, drug-resistant TB, called XDR-TB, that can only be cured in about 30% of the cases.

In China, technology from the West comes in regularly without the accompanying wisdom gained through the development of said technology.  Coal ash falls like snow every year when they start the coal factories for winter.  The explosion last week in Tianjin happened because China has yet to build the infrastructure needed to safely move and store volatile chemicals.

In Africa, weapons from technologically advanced countries have turned previous stable areas into war zones, with whomever has the largest collection of weapons becoming the default leader.

I could cite more examples, but it all comes down to the U.S. handing over technology to people not prepared to handle it.  The biggest problems are heading our way, when the world's population reaches a few more billion and we don't have enough.  Not enough doctors.  Not enough food.  Not enough housing.  All because the U.S. spread around the means to grow enough food and improve the odds of a child living to adulthood, creating population booms in India, China, and soon Africa.

All for the lack of the Prime Directive.

I think Captain Picard said it best:
"The Prime Directive is not just a set of rules. It is a philosophy, and a very correct one. History has proven again and again that whenever mankind interferes with a less developed civilization, no matter how well intentioned that interference may be, the results are invariably disastrous."
     —Jean-Luc Picard, Symbiosis ("Quotes/Star Trek - Television Tropes & Idioms"

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

How to Improve Gun Control: A Clarification

After a few interesting conversation, I decided I need to clarify my earlier post about gun control.

First, I know that "well-regulated" means a well trained militia.  That would be accomplished through the licensing process.  In order to obtain a license, a person needs to show a complete understanding of the weapon, the ramifications of using said weapon, and the law pertaining to the weapon.  The range test would be a practical test, just like the road test is for a driver's license.

Side note:  I think the overall license fee needs to be small, such as $10, regardless of which weapon you want a license for.

Second, the militia class weapons would have strong requirements so that every Tom, Dick, and Harry cannot just load up on automatic weapons and tanks.  I think it is reasonable to required a person wanting to fly an Apache helicopter to have been a helicopter pilot in the Army.  In fact, I think the majority (if not all) of the arms in the militia class would only be available to those who served in the military where he or she received the appropriate training for said arm.

Another side note:  One of the biggest problems I see in our current police forces is that these men don't have gun discipline.  Guns are never to be used to intimidate, and an officer should generally not pull out a gun as a means to control a situation.  Why?  Because that limits the officer's actions to backing down (by putting the gun away) or shooting.