Monday, November 8, 2010

Extra Credit Blog - Citizenship for Students

In the article "Citizenship for Students, Coming out Illegal" these activists face hardships being illegal immigrants. Leslie a current college student at the University of California in Los Angeles works three jobs in order to be able to pay a $10,000 tuition. Being illegal for Leslie means that she is also unable to vote, get a drivers license and visit her family in Mexico. These activists are fighting to promote the Dream Act which according to the article is a, "federal bill which would create a pathway to legal residency for immigrants who arrived in this country as children, have been in the United States for at least five years and have graduated from a U.S. high school or obtained a G.E.D. To gain status, they would have to finish two years of college or military service." Without the success of this act many second generation immigrant children would be stuck in the same kinds of jobs that their parents held like waitressing and housekeeping. In order to gain political support for the bill the activists are using tactics from the civil rights and the gay movement performing hunger strikes, demonstrations and "coming out" meaning publicly revealing their illegal status. In doing so they risk getting arrested and ultimately deported.

Many of the Dream leaders hoped that once President Obama was sworn into the white house that he would pass the Dream Act but a year later and it hasn't been passed and they feel the need to further rally for the passage of the act. The problem with pushing forward with the act is that many immigrants face being arrested and deportation as well. I believe that a successful way to promote the act is to recruit people that are citizens because they cannot be deported. Another means in which I believe would make the movement even more successful would be to hold demonstrations in big cities which would bring more attention to the cause.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Post 5

In Fifth Avenue, Uptown: A Letter From Harlem, Malcolm X describes the conscience and unconscious ways in which many African Americans reacted to oppression. In his early life he describes that many blacks that worked in the white neighborhoods came home to their children and tried to instill a sense of self pride despite the injustices they faced during their work day. He also describes that there are few minorities that make it out of the slums so many people believed that if one person of color could achieve success in the work force, then they all could. The fact was that there was so many more people that didn’t possess the will to do well and just because there were few examples of it does not justify the rise of only a few. Malcolm X points out that people would continuously remind him of how “wretched” white people were and that was supposed to console him as to why blacks were wretched as well.

Blacks that resided in Harlem’s ghetto’s were victim to unfair economic practices, for example he says, “go shopping one day in Harlem-for anything-and compare Harlem prices to and quality to those downtown.” (page 59) In Harlem they would keep the poor people poor, making it harder for them to make it out of the ghetto, whereas downtown the car insurance prices were cheaper for the people who could afford the expensive insurance. Another way in which they kept blacks in the projects was that they were to report their rise in earnings which would result in an increase of one’s rent. Alongside the fact that it was hard to make it out of the projects, they knew that whites felt as though blacks were worthy of residing anywhere else.

The police that patrolled the slums were an insult to the black community because they were a reminder that whites still held control, no matter where the blacks went. Many were victims of police brutality, which also led to a continuous ignorance and when a situation got worse they would only bring more police leading to no solution for either sides. The biggest point that Malcolm X makes that although many blacks migrated to the North, they would still end up living in the ghettos under suppression anyway. Many ignored the problems going on in the North because they looked at it as though, the South is worse off.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Post #3

The purpose of Malcolm X's "What does Mississippi have to do with Harlem?" is that although he is in Harlem and the African Americans in the North were "free", the Mason-Dixon line was still in effect at the time. Malcolm X was prepared to fight for equality in any way that he found was necessary. He states in his speech, "...We will never communicate talking one language and he's talking another language. He's talking the language of violence...Let's learn his language"(page 1). In this statement he believes that if African Americans are to achieve equality they should act in the same means that the racist whites do as well, in reference to the lynching, shooting and beating of African Americans. This speech is directed towards the African Americans all across the U.S. because he says, "America is Mississippi. There is no such thing as the Mason-Dixon line... If one room in your house is dirty, you've got a dirty house." He is trying to reach out to other African Americans in order to fight for their rights. This speech produces the hope for an equal nation and could evoke others to fight for the rights that they deserve as well.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Homework #2

1) The first myth about the civil rights movement was that it began almost spontaneously. The events that led up to the movement were aided by the local activists and the excessive amount of time and effort they put into making this movement possible. The focus was primarily on African American males, when in reality the people that put the most effort and time into the progression of the civil rights movement were women. Many women that played key roles in the movement were forgotten in history and primarily African American males were given substantial credit to be remembered in a movement that took many prior events to its beginning. Another myth about the civil right movement was the exaggerated role of whites. The majority of the people that was included in the fight for African American rights were the African Americans themselves.
T.V. Reed's way of describing the civil rights movement differs from what I was taught growing up in America's public school system. I was taught that Martin Luther King Jr. was primarily the only African American fighting for equality alongside Rosa Parks. Within the civil rights movement, whites were portrayed as people that played a large role in the progression of the movement as well. This has changed my view of the civil rights movement substantially because it puts into perspective the real people that fought for equality without the deserved recognition.

2)Reed argues that music was crucial to the civil rights movement because alongside the college students and the NAACP, the churches played a large role in the movement as well. The music used in the fight for equality was called "freedom songs", this music played a large role in the progression of the movement because it reached people of all ages, genders, and races. Music helped bring the liberation messages from African American people to mainstream America. In an orally rooted culture, music was also a great way to pass down the message of hope to the people.
In American culture today hip hop addresses a lot the problems that deals with politics and society today.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Hw #1 - question 2

Sharon Persaud

Art, Politics and Protest

In Richard Wright's , The Ethics of Living Jim Crow the whites in the south primarily held the power over the way society worked. In order to hold onto their power they utilized physical abuse. Whites also held onto their power by inflicting fear into the African Americans by constantly reminding them that they were "lucky" to be alive. From borrowing books at the library to witnessing the tragic abuse to a black female, Wright learned that the Jim Crow laws only instituted fear into African American's as he experienced these injustices first hand. Simple day to day occurrences could lead to almost losing his life just for being an African American.

From a young age Richard tasted the effects of the Jim Crow laws, living across the railroad tracks from the white neighborhood. Although he was the victim of being wounded with a glass bottle, his mother beat him and said he was "never, never, under any conditions, to fight white folks again... She finished by telling me that I ought to be thankful to God as long as I lived that they didn't kill me." (pg 4-5) From that first experience of physical abuse Richard was able to develop a fear of the power whites held over them. When he moved to Mississippi, he lived in the Black Belt otherwise known as a place where all the local institutions were run by primarily African Americans. The Black Belt represents the segregation that he had to endure living in the period of the Jim Crow laws. It would be much easier living in the primarily black neighborhoods as opposed to living near to the white neighborhoods, where blacks were subject to hate crimes and further injustices.

In order to conserve the power they have over the African Americans, the whites expected blacks to accept inferiority. The southern whites expected to be called sir or mister by any African American regardless of whether they had just met or even if they were coworkers in the same environment. When Richard was confronted about referring to his white coworker by his name without use of sir he grew frightful thinking “I would have been pleading guilty to having uttered the worst insult a Negro can utter to a southern white man.” (pg 7) In this way the Jim Crow laws allowed white supremacists not only physical abuse but mental abuse as well through communication.