Thursday, August 25, 2011

Innovations to Combat Racism 2

What makes someone do poorly in school? In their career? In life?

I doubt it is the color of their skin. You can do the nature versus nurture debate all you want, but genetically we are the same. It is the picking out of our differences, that classification, that makes you believe we are different.

To truly identify and help those in need, we need to stop saying it is because of the waves in their hair, and focus on the way they have grown up. Culture is not race.

Idea 2: Survey by Location, Not Face

I've talked about them before, the full-of-holes standardized tests. When you first fill them out, you are made to put down information on yourself: female or male, age, and race. Most of the time, it is a "Choose One" scenario. This data is sent to colleges, graduate schools, parents, and surveyors. It is collected and, as whole community, judged.

The reason minority test scores are low isn't because they have a lesser ability to be educated. It is because statistically we are a minority. Less of us have good jobs and, in turn, live in the better neighborhoods. Less of us are privy to a great educations and teachers who motivate with high expectations (Pygmalion Effect/Self-Fulfilling Prophecy). Therefore, less of us do well.

Imagine you are a child living in the ghetto. You barely have enough to eat and you worry about your safety every day. Not even your home is safe. Are you likely to sit down and read a book that the teacher assigned, knowing full well she doesn't expect you to succeed? Or are you going to go out looking for something that will make you money, and put you in a secure place in the community?

It's simply Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, his pyramid. It is not that the child is Black or Latino. The kid could be White and in the Deep South, where he doesn't have the parental or extracurricular resources.

What we need to do is change the question to: "Where do you live?" or "Zip code" or "County" or "Income-Level / Class."

It's obvious that the poor communities do worse, but it isn't because they look different. It isn't because they are unwilling to be educated, that their culture dictates them to be that way. It is because they are poor. They need help.

Getting Assistance versus Losing Funding

But the school districts cry, "If they know it is us who do not produce optimum grades, then it is us who will lose what little funding we have."

Wrong. It is easy to blame others. It is hard to take responsibility, but the fallacy of one race being smarter or more academic than another needs to stop. We need to help these kids and make them feel secure so that they want to learn. And how can we do that if we cannot find them?

The areas that have lower-income families deserve more of the money so that they may produce better results. They need more resources to set these children on the right path. The higher-income areas can afford to do more fundraising, and more donations are able to be given to the schools.

Give the schools time-limits with set goals to make; similar to No Child Left Behind but more flexible, more specific to each area. For example, the kids within the "problem areas" that scored well on the test like those in Honor classes will not need to be tested. Also, find another way aside from standardized tests so that teachers do not teach to the test and nothing more. Perform closed interviews with students, asking how they feel about the changes and what they are learning. Create portfolios of assignments that demonstrate the growth in classes. 

We have new media technology, integrate that with video of the children at the beginning of the semester, midterm, and end. Let them keep a blog of their work and see how their academic writing develops. (This is, of course, for the older children who can write or blog. For privacy issues, blogs can be kept on secure .edu servers seen by those grading them, or make access password-coded.)

If the school districts cannot make the goals after the set time, then they do not receive as much funding.

Tax Dollars

"Well, I don't want my tax dollars to pay for hooligans. I don't want my son Timmy's education to suffer for them."

You make more money, you deserve better. I get it. I'm not saying divert a whole lot of money. Just enough to give the school some gently used computers or a few new books. Not Mac Labs or a new wing for the library. But, do raise the salaries of teachers that motivate their students, whose children get good grades. Not every teacher.

Honestly, you won't be paying for future criminals because you are working proactively. You are stopping the development of hooligans by giving them a future. That's one less person you have to worry about breaking into your house when you're in The Bahamas. 

Also, Timmy's education will not suffer. When distributed right, it would only be the "wants" that would lessen in fulfillment. His media class would work with iPads rather than the iPad2. The class trip may go from visiting NY for five days to visiting the free museums in D.C. for three. 

And if you're really worried, put him in private school.

America is a community of diverse peoples. We must help one another if we want our community to be better than the one next door and we will never accomplish that by being selfish.

Idea 1

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Innovations to Combat Racism

Race is an issue of classification and racism comes from those separations. Our perceptions of people are ingrained in us by our families, the media, and our own experiences. We cannot erase these differences--they are our parts to be proud of--and we cannot ignore them (that is colorblindness).

To stop profiling, you need to erase our subjectivity. You need technology, which shouldn't be so hard in our technological/wireless/social media world.

Idea 1: Automatic Police Radar

We already have speed- and light-cameras that tag your license plate and send you a bill. Why not the same for the radar guns in squad cars?

It would eliminate the claims of "profiling" in all aspects. It would simply act objectively, tagging speeders by the license plate and forwarding the information.

Owner versus Driver

With all of our checking-in and social media, the car industry should find a way to have the driver of the car "log-in" before driving. From there, the name is displayed on a cute LED screen near the license plate. (We can put MP3 jacks and all other gadgets into the car. Hell, we even have some that parallel park for us. Why not?)

When someone speeds and it registers on the gun, the officer types in the name before sending the report forward in cyberspace, all without moving from his speed trap. This would especially help officers that ride alone at night or in dangerous neighborhoods.

He or she doesn't know if the person is black or white, old or young. The process could even be set to auto-send the tickets when an offense happens so that the officer has no opportunity to waive a ticket.

(If the person is driving erratically or dangerously, they have to be pulled over. Obviously.)

First Offenders

So you've never gotten a ticket, but you've had some close calls. This new idea sucks. Tweak it.

When the information is sent to be processed, they look up your driving record and see that you've never been pulled over. You have a clean bill. The office, automatic or not, issues you a warning. And, honestly, you should really need only one. If it's an area you know the police to target, slow down.

For those that have repeatedly crossed the law, they get the full ticket and the points. (I'm sure some system of measurement/amount can be established either as a sweeping gesture or state-by-state, county-to-county.)

Perhaps it could even send information back to the officer if the person has outstanding warrants. They already have a system that does that, and I wonder that it could be linked up.

Just like a normal ticket, your cyber ticket could be taken to court and fought.

Invasion of Privacy

Having to log-in your name is an invasion of privacy, your argument.

There's the old sayings: When it comes to safety, some freedoms must be given. What about when cops pull you over for not wearing a seatbelt or for talking on the cell phone (D.C.)? These are to protect you, your passengers, and the drivers around you.

Also, don't you have a Facebook / Google + / Twitter? You're already putting yourself out there for the world, tagging pictures and checking-in anyway. You should really check our their privacy policy (who they give all your information to) and the terms of agreement that you clicked right on through when signing up. You'd be surprised.

Idea 2

Monday, August 22, 2011

Malcolm X & Who Is Actually Mixed?

"So...I think you're a separatist," my boyfriend said to me as he adjusts his tie in the bathroom mirror.

We're in a Cincinnati hotel, preparing for his brother's graduation, and my first instinct is to deny. As a person fighting for equality, how can I possibly be a separatist?

"You don't think I'm mixed," he said. "I'm Mexican-American. My parents and grandparents are from Mexico. We are the original mixed people, but you won't write about that."

He's right. The Latino/a culture stemmed from a mashing of peoples before and after the Americas were first "born." The natives mixed with the slaves and the Europeans. They mixed religions and beliefs to form something original and identifying. The same with the Spanish language.

Still, they are not who I think of when I think mixed. I think of first-generation or second-generation mixed peoples that do not have a common tie or identifier like nationality, religious beliefs, or language. I think of people who are the pioneers of their family tree, not one that is established.

But I do not know their culture well. I don't know if they have mixed-race issues, and I certainly cannot decide not count them just because of ignorance. (Racialicious explores the "Who is Actually Mixed?" debate better than I do.)

"You're like Malcolm X," he said. "You take up the fight for one group of people and think that is the people."

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Calling for Participants: New Mixed Study

Susan Lambe Sarinana, a doctoral candidate at the University of Massachusetts Boston's Clinical Psychological program, is looking for parents of mixed kids (mixed or mono) and mixed-race teenagers to participate in her new study.

In her own words for parents:
I am conducting a study on parenting multiracial youth (ages 3-22). Participation involved filling out an online questionnaire. If you [parent] participate, you will be asked questions about your thoughts on race, ethnicity, and culture, as well as questions about your multiracial child. You will have the opportunity to win one or two $100 gift certificates to
For teenagers:
I am currently looking for participants and am writing to ask if your multiracial teenager might be interested. During this research study, your adolescent would participate in an interview and be asked to complete some questionnaires about race and ethnicity. The study would take about one hour. He or she would be given a $20 gift card to as a token of appreciation.
If you have any other questions, you can email Susan at or visit her website Multiracial Youth Study.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Nature of the Hysterical Moment

Darcus Howe, a West Indian Writer and Broadcaster, was interviewed by BBC about the London Riots. He spoke on how the the police were treating the young people, especially blacks, with excessive violence. Even his grandson was stopped on the street, pressed to a wall, and searched for nothing more than walking.

The female interviewer kept interrupting him from speaking the truth, trying to tear down his credibility. Howe is finally bringing light to a confusing outburst of violence and hysteria. Mark Duggan, the man whose death sparked the initial riots, was killed in cold blood. The London police have admitted to excessive violence. And worst of all, she says to him (not asks) that "he has taken part in riots himself."

His response: "I have never taken part in a single riot. I've been part of demonstrations that have ended up in a conflict. Have some respect for an old West Indian Negro, and stop accusing me of being a rioter. [...] You just sound idiotic."

London looters and vandals on the streets are not right, not by any means. As the Washington Post pointed out, they are not holding signs, chanting, or letting their government know what they need. However, the people are fed up and taking action. As Howe said, "it is the nature of the hysterical moment."

I am afraid America will go this way. For the first time since I started working at 16, I cannot find a job and I am not alone. When I enter a restaurant or fast food place, there are adults, men in their fifties, working behind the counter. Just a few years ago, those jobs all belonged to young people.

Our debt is high and our hopes are low. We're at war fighting for someone else's democracy and independence when we need our own, from oil and from our petrified government. FOX and the far right keep us from progress. Why doesn't the first responders bill for 9/11 have healthcare for the cancer they developed from pulling the dead from the buildings?

And what's more, our President and the Democrats are using this as a sort of block. Do NOT throw a pity party. Stop looking at how your vote or your stand for something that is inherently right will affect your personal future, politicians.

Obama: I'm sorry, but you are black, you can never make everyone happy, no matter what you do. Stop giving ground when the right will not give back. At this rate, we will get nowhere.

I don't want Washington D.C. to turn into London, but I will not stand idly by if it does.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tasty or Distasteful? : Mulatto MooLatte

Well, hello MooLatte and your mother Dairy Queen. It's nice to see you're still working on being tactful.

About this...problem or (as I like to call it) digression from common sense: I think people go a bit overboard on how "correct" they need to be. Black, white, African-American, etc. I do offend people and I don't always apologize, but there are lines that I don't cross.

Dairy Queen's play on words for a drink is overboard.

It's like Timothy Noah from Slate said, "the name of a commercial product should never spotlight, even unintentionally, the physical similarity between that product's appearance (in this case, hue) and that of any class of human beings." *The article is actually very funny (JooLatte/JewLatte) and I suggest you read it as well.

As described in earlier blogs, mulatto is a dated term and it can be disrespectful. If you want to name the coffee how it looks, then say "beige" or "brown," or make some other pun like that. Black coffee is called so not because it has anything to do with the people, but because it is black in color. White chocolate is white.

Then again, we could all be wrong and self-centered, and in actuality MooLatte is called that because it contains an absurd amount of milk. You be the judge.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cause: Committee to Protect Journalists

We may take for granted our opportunity as people of America to write the truth, to spread our opinions all over the internet (and in the paper if we're lucky) whether the subject matter important or not.

This is not the case all over the globe. In the Philippines, journalists are killed for speaking out or reporting unfavorable news. And what about those journalists reporting from the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan alongside our soldiers. They are not equipped with the same protection our soldiers are and yet they risk their lives so that we may know what is happening to our people and to the world.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) defends journalists worldwide, no matter their country of origin. They work with journalists who have had to flee their countries and the families of those that are killed.