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Ask the USA: “Why Do Americans Make A Big Deal About Race and Ethnicity?”

14 Apr

Hello readers!

Early in February, I introduced a new series to my blog called “Ask the USA”. In that introduction, I explained the purpose of this series, what inspired this series, and why I feel qualified to answer these questions (to the best of my ability, of course).

With that being said, one of the questions I’ve been receiving from foreigners all over the internet is:

“Why Do Americans Make a Big Deal About Race and Ethnicity?”

Let’s just get one thing straight here. The USA is full of diverse people with diverse opinions. When it comes to race and ethnicity, people handle it differently here. Obviously, there are many people who don’t make a big deal about it. There are people who are actually prejudiced and don’t care about it. There are people who make a big deal about race and ethnicity and see them as serious issues. There are people who use these issues to “progress” in life and use it as an excuse to do whatever it is they want.

But those who understand “prejudice” will act against it, right? That group may not include those of a minority racial group. It may include those of alternative sexual orientations, minority religions, feminists who feel oppressed, and ethnic groups who live alternative lifestyles. With all of these people acting against prejudices of all kinds, they will obviously loudly act or speak against racism.

However, there are people in the above category (including those from a minority race) who really don’t care about racism either way.

Yet, we still have to acknowledge that people do make a big deal about these things.

So, let’s begin with a little history lesson…

How Did All of these Race Issues Begin?

America is still a young country in comparison to most other countries. It is exactly 238 years old (if we’re not counting when the settlers first arrived on the land and the thousands of years the Native Americans have lived on the land).

With that being said, many of the early issues that affected the USA still sort of affect us because they really didn’t happen that long ago (if you consider the fact our history is more recent than the histories of other nations).

This nation has a majority white population. But it wasn’t always that way. The Europeans did a lot to make sure it became that way. Their actions left a lot of bitter and resentful people. Unlike other countries, the USA began as a melting pot, with a majority Native American ethnic group, and ended with white people as the majority. It was never homogeneous. Let’s start with the original people.

Native Americans

The ancestry of these people trace back to Asia, so they weren’t always on the land, but they discovered it first, thousands of years before Europeans arrived.

Before the Europeans arrived on the land, it was owned by the various indigenous tribes within. They divided the land up their own way, just to keep the peace among them.

They learned to work on the land, they hunted and/or grew crops, fished, and developed their own cultures.

The first Europeans to arrive were from Spain. Most were explorers. They were helped by the Native Americans. The Spanish traded with them, which was how horses were introduced into the different western tribes.

Eventually, though, they fought with the many Native tribes on the west coast, some of the southeast coast of America, and in present-day Mexico and took over the land. Most of those settlers were greedy for land. “Hollywood” now resides in one of those lands.

However, even though Spain fought many tribes, they also befriended many tribes, including the Pueblo. Eventually, some of the Spanish mixed with many indigenous tribes and formed the ethnic group of Mexicans (Mestizos) we are most familiar with today. They learned from the other indigenous tribes and lived peacefully for years.

Mexico eventually fought and won independence from Spain in 1821 (after years of revolt against Napoleon’s occupation of Spain). Mexico won all of the west coast from Spain and continued to live peacefully soon after.

The French came as well, but they were overtaken by the English. They had issues in their own nations, a feud with Great Britain, and Canada to manage as well.

When the Europeans from England arrived, they were escaping religious “persecution” in Europe, sent over to the land to chart it out, or sent there as a punishment for crime (since it was considered the “wilderness”, fairly with large forests and mountains and unfamiliar wild animals).  This means that most were looking to spread their own religious values, were sent to conquer the land, or were criminals.

Many of the criminals were trapped as indentured servants. Orphans and other lost people were sent to the land as well.

When the Europeans arrived, they didn’t literally have a thing. During the Starving Times, some people ate their own shoes.  The Native Americans helped out their foreign invaders, even though the Europeans had no business on their land “illegally”.

The Europeans were so brainwashed by their religious leaders, they truly believed “God sent them” to the New Land. With that being said, they also believed the Native Americans were heathens that needed to be “civilized”, like they felt they were. This attitude led to Europeans setting up missionaries and trying to baptize the indigenous tribes. Most tribes didn’t have a problem with this…until the missionaries started whipping people, even adults, for “breaking God’s law”.

Many of the Europeans also just didn’t understand other cultures. They weren’t exposed to anything different, but they had knowledge from books and affinity with writing. Most of the information was full of prejudice. They abused many Native people for not converting to their religions and yet consumed the resources of the land. The Europeans began to over hunt and over plow, overstepping the cultural rituals regarding hunting and agriculture. They were like guests who overstayed their welcome.  They were also not clean (hygiene especially) and were full of disease. That wiped out many indigenous tribes.

As more and more white people arrived, and shortly after the American Revolution (the colonists’ break from Great Britain), it was harder to divide the land. Europeans began complaining about the Native Americans. The Europeans eventually fought with the tribes on the East. They depleted their population and drove the natives out. They indigenous people were forced to the land west of the Mississippi.

Later, around the 19th century, the new Americans felt they deserved ALL of the land, even the land to the west of the Mississippi. They were greedy, experiencing several economic issues, and trying to fit all of these immigrants in the land. They made treaties with the Natives to the west, but broke ALL of their promises. Eventually, wars broke out. Some tribes were just killed off without even being involved in wars. The Native people surrendered, tired and looking for peace. The United States set aside land for these people called “reservations”. They were not considered citizens, they were just allowed on the land.

But when Americans found gold on the reservations, they kept making the lands smaller and smaller, just to get hold of the resources. They tricked, cheated, and harmed many tribes up until the 20th Century (1900s)!

They put most of all the Native children in boarding schools, forcing them to dress like Europeans, talk like Europeans, and prevented them from seeing or living with their families and friends. The children were brutally punished if they showed any connection to their culture. This is why the languages are hardly spoken to this day and why many cultural practices are lost.

To add insult to injury, the Native Americans were never granted citizenship until 1924.

Why does this matter to Native Americans today?

1.The reservations still exist to this day. The US government has yet to be apologetic about the land they stole, the promises they broke, the people they cheated, and the people they’ve murdered. The terror that they caused to these people has been tremendous. Sadly, many of the reservations are impoverished, crime-ridden, and full of drugs (like most low-income areas in the US, where minority groups often reside, thanks to years of prejudice and oppression). The reservations were stripped of resources, so many of the people couldn’t thrive. Their hunting practices were lost because they were often put out of their original hunting grounds. Unapologetic Americans, quick to release themselves from guilt, often retort “Just leave the reservation, then you’ll live prosperous”. Many Native Americans stay on the reservations as their last stubborn fight for justice. Unfortunately, it feels more like a losing battle at times.

The land the First Nations people were allowed to live on were stripped of resources, and if resources were found on any of the lands after the reservations were drawn up, the government would make them smaller just to access the resources.

The U.S. and state governments are still trying to take the little land they have away, just to get more resources and to build more homes over their lands. They are still breaking promises and still disrespecting the people by trying to take their lands away from them. They don’t care. They are getting rich, fat, and comfortable off the land they stole.

http://nativenewsonline.net/currents/new-north-dakota-wants-congress-modify-indian-reservation-system-turn-power-states/

This isn’t a historical problem, this is a MODERN-DAY problem.

2. Many grandparents and great-grandparents experienced the boarding schools, are living on the reservations, still are scarred by those times in history, and pass their stories down to their children as warnings, as teaching tools, and as truth. Those children carry those burdens with them. It eventually turns into anger, sadness, and bitterness that continues on with loved ones for generations. Who wants to hear that grandpa and grandma were harshly beaten in boarding schools just for speaking their own language? That’s frightening and fear leads to anger.

3. They are no longer the face of their own land. Thanks to most of the media, most of Hollywood, other countries, especially in far east Asia, consider America to be a land full of “blonde hair and blue eyes” or black people. And they aren’t wrong. Most of the Native people were wiped out by Europeans.

Therefore, the Native people get little respect and little representation. Without that representation, their struggles are forgotten, their history rewritten or unwritten, and their culture disrespected time and time again. From the late 19th century to the 1950s, some Native Americans, along with Africans, were kept in zoos!

To them, when they watch people across the world explain what an American is to them, it is likely to make them roll their eyes because they constantly hear descriptions of white people instead of them.

4. History books teach a distorted view of Native Americans, if at all. Thanksgiving is even taught all wrong to children. Many children even believe Native Americans (often called “Indians”) are fairy tale characters…

Arguably, before the Europeans arrived, the Native Americans didn’t get along with one another, and one tribe may have just as easily conquered the others much the same way the Europeans did.

But I don’t think the issue is so much that they were conquered. I believe it was the way they were conquered. It wasn’t through a fair fight. There were lies and cheating involved, which was not the way many Natives fought. And the fight continued even through to the modern century, which made this more of a modern history issue that affects Native Americans today.

African Americans

Many African Americans are descended from various western tribes in Africa. The African and Arab slave trade was practiced for centuries before Europeans arrived on the continent of Africa. During wars, many of the losers would be taken as slaves. Around the 15th century, slaves were being sold outside of Africa.

There are many different kinds of slavery. The kind of slavery the Europeans introduced was different than much of the slavery practiced in Africa (though Northern Africans practiced a similar form at times). In many African nations, people would be enslaved as punishment for a crime or to pay off a debt. They would have certain rights and it was more like indentured servitude. Slave families could buy their freedom and become a part of the master’s family. Many dressed nicely and were fed well. Many were sent to work gold mines, to tend the land, or work in the master’s homes.

At first, enslavement was just on a small scale. But the demand for slaves in Europe and many Arab nations increased. Wars increased and slavery increased.

Many of the African Americans living in America today are descendants of the slaves bought by Europeans from Africa.

Europeans practiced a kind of slavery called “chattel slavery” where a slave had no rights and was treated like property or like an animal. America had the longest history of slavery in the world, practicing it up into the 19th century (1800s).

African Americans helped build the USA with their labor and brains, but they got little recognition or respect for it and often times white people took all the credit for things they did, which made black people appear as if they weren’t contributing much to American society. Many families were separated and unacknowledged. Their heritage was stripped from them, they were beaten for speaking their language and practicing their culture, and so the cultures were lost. Many African Americans don’t even know where their ancestors came from in Africa and are completely removed from their nations’ cultures.

There were some African Americans who came to America as immigrants but most came as slaves.

The American Civil War is what changed things for African Americans.

The Civil War was mostly about the division of territory, but slaves were swept up into the debate. Certain states were slave states. The South mostly relied on slaves. They were more agricultural. The North relied on factories and immigrants to thrive. They wanted to move America into the future with machines and technology. They felt the South was holding them back. They felt the way to force the South forward was to get rid of the slave trade, which would cut into the southern economy. The South felt that the North had no right to tell them what to do. As Americans expanded west, they began to debate over which states would be slave states and which would be free states. It moved from a debate into a war.

Eventually, the North won the war. African Americans were freed, but they still were not treated equally. They were given the right to vote, but hard tests were put in place to discourage African Americans, who couldn’t read, from voting and holding public office. Many places were segregated or didn’t allow black people inside, so many black people had nothing to call their own. They were forced to move into run-down neighborhoods with immigrant families.

The South made living there difficult when they put Jim Crow Laws in place, which were designed to prevent African Americans from progressing.

Many white people murdered black people from the end of the Civil War to the 1970’s, and no justice was served. Some cases didn’t reopen until the 1990’s, like in the case of the Birmingham Church bombing that killed four little girls, and by that time many of the criminals had passed on, living most of their lives comfortably and guilt-free. Many cases still aren’t resolved and have gone cold.

The people who lived during that period lived in the 1960’s, 1970’s, and are still living as parents and grandparents today, and were greatly affected by the period mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially.

A lot of people feel these issues have ended years ago and don’t realize how the past can affect the future. If a war between North and South Korea still exists, and the feelings are still holding true, what makes the feelings from those harsh racist times in America any different? The past affects the future.

How does this affect African Americans today?

The slave trade has had an affect on all of African Americans except the ones who migrated to America on their own. African immigrants wouldn’t relate to the actual history.

The history has affected the culture in various ways:

1.It influenced the way African Americans speak. African Americans grew up in the South. Much of the South was owned by France and Spain. African Americans developed a “cajun” accent. Even when the English took over, the accent remained. They weren’t taught to read and write, so many learned English simply by ear. Many spoke broken English as a result.

Once slavery ended, many slaves still didn’t have access to schools, as white people still kept schools segregated and made no efforts to build schools for the newly freed black people. Many had to migrate north for schooling, but many didn’t have the money or health to make it that far. So, the manner of speaking stuck. It traveled all the way to the present day.

Nowadays, African Americans receive an education and are taught the proper way to speak English. However, if their grandparents spoke that way, their parents did, too, and so the manner of speaking carried on into many African American households. Many black people return to the manner of speaking to relate to other people within their race.

2. It influenced African American music culture, American music, and their place in the music industry. Blues, rock and roll, pop music, and much of the modern music we listen to came out of the African American community. Black Americans didn’t have much to call their own, but they were able to make music. They used music to express their feelings in ways they were not free to express.

Unfortunately, many white people hijacked the genres and denied African Americans airplay on the radio, causing people to acknowledge white contributions over black contributions. For instance, Elvis Presley is considered the King of Rock and Roll though he did nothing to truly contribute to the genre other than moving his hips on stage. He stole the songs of many African Americans and brought them to the “mainstream” which was really just the “white audience”. Many African American rock and roll artists didn’t get respect until the 1990s and many still aren’t respected in the rock community. The Beatles get more attention and they aren’t even American.

That’s why African Americans today get so butthurt when white people get famous from things they’ve invented. They don’t feel appreciated or respected. They feel treated as inferior. This is why they are the first to pull the cultural appropriation card. They are afraid of their contributions being wiped under the rug like it once was before.

Even in movies, white people would often portray African Americans, and sometimes they would play up racist interpretations. This is where the “black face” stemmed from. Many of these interpretations put African Americans in inferior positions to white people. They put African Americans in a negative light and made fun of African Americans’ station in life, their culture, the way they spoke, etc.

When there were roles that honored a historical figure of color (like an African Queen), a white person would portray the person. This caused most of the world to believe that all the major royals of the world were white and that black people were always inferior. Movies were segregated and black people were not invited to play roles in major movie productions or in major playhouses. This whitewashing happened up until the 1970’s. Many of the executives and/or the families that approved of the whitewashing are still in control today.

This is why white-washing is so looked down upon by black people. This is why so much of a stink is made when white people are put in roles that could potentially go to other races of people. Many people of different backgrounds already feel undermined.

And then racism really does still exist. When the role is reversed, white people don’t like it either.

3. Like in Native American communities, parents and grandparents are still around to remind the younger generation of harsher times in history. They remind their children to be watchful of racism because they were victims of it. Of course hearing these stories are enough to make the newer generation more defiant of a system they felt betrayed them. It’s enough to make them angry and bitter.

4. It is the reason so many still live in low-income, crime-ridden neighborhoods. Many businesses that are major in the USA today began as early as the 1700s. African Americans were enslaved during these periods, putting them behind everyone else in the job and business market. Laws interfered with their education and racism had a major impact on families. Even with the inventions created by black people, many had to go through white people to get it sold or to get it off the ground. They had jobs, but were underpaid and were paid less than white people up until the 1970s.

Angry about the injustice, many black people turned to a life of crime to take what they felt they deserved. They learned about gang life from the Irish and Italians who lived in the inner cities (before they learned how to integrate into wealthy and middle-class American society). Anger groups sprung up to fight white supremacy.

The “gang” mentality influenced the black community and eventually influenced the culture in both large and small ways.

As mentioned before, racism in the 1960s and 1970s had an affect on the grandparents and parents that are still alive today. Even when the Civil Rights Movement ended, some people were still bitter towards black people and found ways to keep them away from the working world. Most black people grew up in homes with parents who had low-income jobs as a result.

The children of these people grew up with little, which set them back. Many of them found success in the 1980’s and 1990’s, but if there were any other problems in the domestic structure, many continued to struggle. Poverty often leads to poverty, and it’s the very reason many African Americans are still in poor situations.

This made a lot of African Americans bitter towards white people.

5. Certain standards in a Eurocentric society come out of systemic racism. The European standard of modesty, beauty, manner of speaking, and even living washes over the nation and around the world. Anyone who doesn’t fit in with that standard is “odd” or “eccentric” or inferior. Black people get called “ghetto” or “uncivilized” if they deviate from the norm.

Black people deviate the most from these standards, simply because their culture is different and their appearances are different. This stands in the way of getting good jobs or getting elite positions in society, especially in an industry where presentation is important.

Black hair is considered unprofessional.

6. It is the reason so many African Americans struggle in school to this day and have a hard time achieving in society.

Before slavery ended, they weren’t allowed to read and write. Slave owners did this so slaves wouldn’t learn how to buy their own freedom and so they wouldn’t run away to free places.

Some black people taught themselves secretly, stealing books or overhearing conversations or listening outside of school yards. Some of the house slaves (slaves that worked in the master’s house and not in the fields) passed notes from house to cabin.

But most black people resigned to the fact that they would never learn how to read and write the language they were forced to speak. To cope with this fact, many developed pride in their ignorance, using it as humor and resisting White education altogether. After all, they felt, “Why should we have to learn English? Why should we learn at a white man’s designed school? Let’s resist them by resisting their education.”

Unfortunately, this established a rebellious attitude in the culture and made it difficult for them to assimilate into American society once freed.

Even after they were free, the Southern part of the USA, the part of the USA that mostly practiced slavery before losing the war, refused to establish schools for black children and some schools for blacks were burned down. Teachers and students were killed for helping, white and black. This scared black people off from an education.

Even after school became mandatory at the turn of the 20th century (early 1900’s), many schools for African Americans had little money to provide books for each student. Poor kids still had to work, so many black students worked while attending school. Many kids had to drop out to help their parents make ends meet. They couldn’t fund raise in the black community because most didn’t even have adequate jobs. White people were unsympathetic and felt freeing them was enough, so must didn’t put money behind black schools. And schools were segregated, or separated, between blacks and whites.

All-black schools continued to suffer up until the 1970’s, after the Civil Rights movement. But even then, progress was slow. The government began funding the money after schools were desegregated and everyone got their legal rights, but they were still way behind schools with a majority white population. And still some people were against the integration of black kids and didn’t want to help black people, just like some don’t want to today. They felt it was up to black people to fix themselves. But the problem was it was difficult to start at the bottom in a society with white people at the top. Progress would have to be slow if black people were to fix themselves.

And The Civil Rights Act didn’t end actual racism. Racism is an ideology that produces feelings, something the law can’t change. Racist feelings continued. The people who were mostly at the top found ways to implement that racism without being caught by the law. Many were successful at segregating black people from communities and businesses, using other means of discrimination.

Many black kids just gave up on trying to receive an education and gave up trying to assimilate into American society. That’s why we ended up with a culture heavily on welfare, strongly against authority, and uninterested in education as a whole. In many ways, it’s a courageous stand, but foolish, and it sets many black people back. The attitudes and behaviors that came from slavery give white people a reason to ignore black people and establish racist rules.

Racism still exists as a result. Because of racism, segregation still exists. Black people still end up with the short end of the stick. This is why black people are some of the most defensive minorities in the country. Many of them don’t trust white people, and it doesn’t seem many white people care to earn that trust and would rather ignore the issues.

Segregated Proms Just Ended in 2014 in Georgia

My Experience

I am a very open-minded person, and I have friends of many different backgrounds. From reading my various articles, most people know I’m not the first to pull the race card or jump on the “black power” bandwagon. But I know from experience racism, especially systemic racism, exists and/or has existed in the 21st century.

I graduated from high school about 9 years ago, but I still remember this incident.

All my life, I lived in an all-black community and attended all-black schools. Yes, my school was the stereotypical violent school. The school performed poorly academically (only 50% of my class graduated) and the behavior was off the charts horrible. I personally had good grades, but everyone around me didn’t really appreciate school and didn’t really respect the teachers or administration in place. Gang life was common. I was in a school full of people who glamorized thug life and would start a fight with each other if they were stared at the wrong way.

Of course, not everybody was like this. Some people were peaceful and involved in school. But they were considered lame or stuck-up to the other kids in the school. My clique was called the “Lames”. We liked rock music, anime, video games, and tried to have fun with school and such.

One year, I was taken out of that school and placed in a relatively mixed school, with the majority of students being white (though that majority wasn’t that large). Almost all of the teachers were white. In fact, I only remember there being one black teacher in the whole school and no black administrators at the District office.

I was really excited to go to this school. The school’s academic stats were high, they had fun activities that I was eager to get involved in, and I wouldn’t have to worry about people picking fights with me, threatening me, or any other nonsense like that. In my mind, I assumed that being at a black school was the problem. I used to be one of those people who acted like a coon, bad-mouthing black people and feeling resentful because I was bullied for being different. So, I was excited to be around people who might actually appreciate rock music or anime like I do.

After attending the school, it wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be. I did make friends of all races, don’t get me wrong. But everybody was so divided into cliques, it was hard to mingle. And then by the time I moved there, I was a Junior in high school, so everyone had already made their friends. Still, mostly it was peaceful.

However, I ran into this one group of girls (all white clique) who seriously looked down on people. They were racist, but they also looked down on poor white people, too. I remember one time, one of the girls bit off her cookie during lunch, came over to me and my friends’ table, and said, “Here you need this” to one of my poorer white friends, handing her the bitten-off cookie. This girl and her friends also used to make fun of a Middle Eastern boy at the school. I remember they would pronounce his name wrong on purpose and tell him he smells. He got so fed up one time, he almost dumped his tray on their heads.

And those girls were just laughing.

They would talk about my black friend, saying she tried to act white, talking about how ugly she looked, etc.

They didn’t bother me because at the end of the day, they weren’t in charge of my grades. And then they weren’t a bowl of cherries. They all had this ugly orange fake tan they got at a cheap booth, so there was a lot to discuss regarding them. 😛

But then, second semester, I ran into a racist teacher. That’s when it got tricky.

Because I was so excited to go to this school, and because I’d never been around too many white people, I assumed everybody was going to be normal or nice. Even if I knew some teachers might be mean or strict, I never expected them to be racist. Not in the 21st century, oh no.

Initially, a lot of black students warned me about her, but I didn’t listen to them because at my old school, kids would say teachers were racist all the time. And all of the teachers they said were racist would turn out to be nice to me. So, whether they were racist or not, this didn’t affect my grades. What racist teacher would want to work at an all-black school, under all-black administration, anyway? And some of those students were just awful bad and used the race card to avoid taking responsibility.

I didn’t personally have this teacher, but my sibling did. My sibling and I are the same age and we felt the same way about the school. At first, she didn’t listen to anyone around her who told her about this teacher. I didn’t either and just brushed it under the rug.

But when my sibling walked into this class, right away she felt something wasn’t right. My sister would say good morning to the teacher, like she did all her other teachers, but the teacher would never say anything back. But when the white students came in and greeted her, she would get into long conversations with them. My sister didn’t think anything of it at first, assuming maybe she didn’t say it loud enough or assuming she rubbed the teacher the wrong way. I assumed that, too.

The class didn’t have assigned seats, but the majority of the students of “color” or of a different ethnic group (black, Asian, Hispanic, Afro Latino, Muslim, etc) sat at the front of the room, while the white kids sat all over the classroom, with the majority sitting in the back. One time, my sister wasn’t feeling good and decided to sit at the back of the room. The teacher told her to sit at the front. My sister asked her why, and the teacher said she’s used to her sitting there and wanted to keep track of everyone in the room for attendance purposes. So, my sister didn’t make a big deal about it. But the next day, a few of the white students, who normally sat in the front, moved to the back, and the teacher didn’t say anything to them. In fact, the white students switched seats all the time.

Still, my sister just listened to what she said and didn’t really think she was racist. She thought the teacher didn’t like her for some reason, but she didn’t think she was racist.

The teacher would focus on the black and Mexicans kids, but some of them were bad.

But there were far more black students that cared about their education in this school. One of the black girls in the class was in the top 10 of her graduating class.

The first sign that the teacher was racist came with this student.

The white students in the class were talking in the back of the classroom. Whenever the other students of color talked, the teacher would issue consequences, but she never did that with the white students. In fact, she would laugh and joke along with them!

One day, they were talking during a lesson. She pointed out a black student, who had the highest grade in the class, and told her to stop talking. This student was very quiet and was writing her notes. She looked up surprised and said she wasn’t talking. The teacher told her not to talk back to her and she wrote the student up! The student was trying to explain that the students in the back were talking, but the teacher said she didn’t want to hear excuses.

Fortunately, the principal and administration weren’t racist. The student was able to talk to them and get the referral thrown out.

But it didn’t stop there.

The second incident came when a Mexican student in the class received a D as a grade in the classroom, even though he turned in all his work and said he’d gotten good grades on his work. He asked to look at his work and review it. The teacher refused. He stormed out of the classroom, yelling, “Racist bit**!” The teacher shrugged and said “whatever”.

The third incident came when the teacher kept telling one of the other black students to be quiet and the student refused. Of course, the student was being disobedient, which was bad. But the white students in the back talked throughout the whole lesson. The black student brought this to the teacher’s attention, stating “Why don’t you talk to them in the back? I can’t wait to move back to the city.” And the teacher said “Me too. I can’t wait until all of you go back.” My sister was thinking, “all of you”? What does she mean by that?

The final incident, the final straw, was when a final project was due and my sister almost failed the class because the teacher lost her assignment.

My sister and I have always been conscientious about our work. There was a big assignment that determined the final grade in the class. This assignment was to write a letter to Red Lobster. If the letter got to Red Lobster, they would send a letter back. So, there were supposed to be two copies: one for the teacher and one for Red Lobster.

My sister turned her letter in a week before the due date. Red Lobster sent a letter back to her; that’s how she knew she turned it in.

The teacher comes up to her and says she didn’t receive the letter. My sister reminded the teacher that Red Lobster responded, but the teacher said that if she didn’t receive a teacher copy, my sister would fail the class! My sister kept a couple of copies in her locker, and asked the teacher if she could go and get it out of her locker. The teacher said no, and said that that was that. My sister asked if the teacher could look on her desk again and check around. The teacher refused and told her to sit down. My sister was panicking, afraid, worried, crying.

Then a white girl comes up to the teacher and asks the teacher if she can get a pass to go the library to DO THE PROJECT. Girl didn’t even do it and it was passed the due date. And guess what the teacher said? “Oh sure, I’ll write you a pass.” SAY WHAT? It was then my sister realized the teacher was racist. She immediately told an adult, my family.

After that, you know fam jumped on the phone with the school board and the principal, explaining the situation.

They asked the teacher to search her stuff again. Guess what? She found it. Interesting… She told my sister it was somewhere on her desk…

After that, my sister realized she had come face to face with her first racist experience.

It’s not a big deal when it’s some person who can’t affect your life in any way, like that clique of girls I mentioned in the beginning of this story, but when it’s someone in authority, someone who can potentially stifle your growth, like a teacher, or put you in jail, like a police officer, that’s when racism is scary. That’s where it should be stopped. That’s when it gets serious.

After that, I never questioned whether racism existed. I don’t see racism in every incident, but I know it exists. Even though things may have changed since 9 years ago, I’m still watchful, still prepared to be disliked simply because I’m black. It taught me to pay attention to my surroundings and not to assume things have changed just because we’re in the “modern era”.

In that classroom, none of the white people realized how racist the teacher was. She treated them nicely. Of course, they thought we were all just pulling the race card. They assumed that because she treated them nicely. Some of them turned a blind eye to what was going on, just happy they were getting special privileges.

I think they had a hard time believing it because one half Mexican half white boy got away with sitting with the white kids. He dyed his hair, was pale, and didn’t have a “Spanish” accent. He blended in well, so the teacher treated him nice. He concealed his ethnicity the whole time and she never found out he was Mexican. I think that’s why my sister questioned herself.

But eventually it became clear.

People of a minority group are taught early on to recognize signs of racism as a result of the stories they’ve been told by their parents and the experiences of other people of color. Some miss the mark, paranoid of being treated unfairly, but others are very aware and on point.

Watch the movie Get Out. It’s really good about pointing out how deep racism can be seeped into the hearts of individuals and shows how black people are taught to recognize the signs.

Mexican Americans

At one time, the whole west coast of present-day USA was owned by Mexico. The Spanish settlers were the first to settle in the land. Many mixed with the indigenous people forming the Mexican ethnic group we know today. After they won independence from Spain in the 1800’s, they opened trade with the USA. This turned out to be a big mistake.

I already mentioned that white Americans felt they should own all of the land west of the Mississippi River. Eventually, Americans went to war with Mexico and managed to take much of their land. They didn’t take all of their territory, which is why Mexico is still standing today, but they down-sized it tremendously.

When cowboys and other outlaws entered into these territories, they tricked many Mexicans out of their land and stole their resources. Many Mexicans had been living on their lands for years and lost the papers to prove their ownership. Most didn’t speak English and were tricked into signing contracts that relinquished their control of their land. Mexicans lost their rights and were considered foreigners in their own land. They didn’t get citizenship until 1910, several decades after many of the states they lived in became a part of the US!

There are still signs that Mexico once owned the west coast. The states once owned by Mexico have Spanish names. California, Florida, and Texas were just three of the territories owned by Mexico. Many of the buildings and cultures within these states originated with Spain and Mexico, and there are visible signs of that cultural influence.

Nowadays, Mexicans are associated with illegal immigration. This deviation from their original station on this land has caused many Mexicans to resent full-blooded white people. Many Mexicans feel that the land should still be theirs and they may resent the takeover of Americans.

Many Mexicans work hard to assimilate into American culture, but are still treated as inferior in many ways. Mexican Americans aren’t honored or respected in the USA like they should be. Their language is now considered foreign. Their culture isn’t considered “American”. Their businesses and riches were stripped from them during the war and many of them had to start from scratch, amid prejudice. Some turned to a life of crime to make ends meet. This is why crime also seeped into their culture.

Asian Americans

Asian Americans haven’t had it as bad as other races and ethnic groups. Many came to America as immigrants, hoping to assimilate into society. But they brought their rich culture and language with them, mingled with westerners, and still had a nation to call home in case things didn’t work out in the USA (unlike many other races and ethnic groups).

Still, within the nation, America made it hard for Asian Americans to enter the land and grow. When Japanese people first started coming into the USA, most came illegally. Many were brought over by contractors who needed someone to work the land in Hawaii. The Chinese came to strike it rich during the Gold Rush and send the money back to their families. They were trying to escape harsh conditions after China lost the Opium war to the British, which allowed the British to take over different cities/provinces in China, placing many Chinese people in poverty. But even in America, they were placed in subservient roles and prejudice stopped many of them from getting the riches they wanted.

Still, Asians played a large role in the building up of America.

The Chinese especially gave their strongest efforts in America. Many helped with the Transcontinental Railroad project. When they first arrived to find gold, they were well-received. But when competition got stronger, many Americans began to dislike any immigrants coming into the country–including Chinese and other Asian immigrants.

The Chinese helped California’s economy tremendously, but they were still driven out of many cities. Eventually a ban was put in place.

After the Chinese Exclusion Act, many Chinese weren’t allowed into the USA. This affected other Asians, who were often confused for Chinese or pit in the same category. Later, another Act banned all Asians from entering the country. This is partially why Asian Americans are still the smallest minority ethnic and racial groups in America.

As such, they are largely underrepresented and unacknowledged. Without proper representation, ignorant stereotyping persists.

Most people today just consider them as foreign. Eastern culture is widely different from western culture, and some Americans (black, white, Hispanic, etc) are ignorant towards them because they don’t understand them. Many Americans associate the “look” of Asia with foreign or alien, even if the person was born in America. This greatly alienates Asian Americans, making them feel odd and out-of-place.

Today, middle easterners and west Asians are catching a lot of fire because of recent radical attacks in the USA. Even the people that aren’t Muslim are being scrutinized simply because they came from or their families came from a middle eastern or west eastern country. All Muslim people are categorized in the same place as one another, which causes frustration for the ones who are truly peace-loving.

People from the middle east and western Asia came to America between the late 1800’s to the 1920’s, escaping war and economic hardship. Because of the Johnson-Reed act, all Asians were prohibited from entering the USA. Again, this is why, of all the races and ethnicities, Asians are the smallest minority. They weren’t as welcome in the USA because they provided competition for White Americans.

Middle Easterners and West Easterners were normally darker-skinned and confused for being black. Many people treated them the same way they treated black people.

The act was repealed in the 1960s, which brought over many more Asian Americans. Still, by then, they were the smallest minority, which makes their ideas and interests largely underrepresented in politics and media.

White People

The modern white people have had to shoulder a lot of what their ancestors did. Because many of their ancestors from the 1950’s and 1960’s are still alive, some of them have carried on the same attitudes.

While there are now more sympathetic and open-minded white people today than there have been, many either ignore racism, have deep-seated racist attitudes, or just avoid getting involved with minorities and any issues regarding them for fear of offending them.

There are several reasons why this racism, indifference, and segregation continues:

1.Some white people have deep-seated prejudices. Even though nowadays most white people won’t treat another person of color mean or won’t openly discriminate against black people (though some do), many have in their minds that a Eurocentric way of thinking is the superior way to think. Many white people feel this is “their country”, the one they conquered, and they can’t understand a culture that’s different from there’s.

For instance, in black culture, it is customary to shout out loud when excited or congratulating someone during celebrations (like graduations, weddings, etc). White people might shout when excited too, but they tend to be more toned down. When black people are shouting or cheering, white people may think they are being “rude” or being “ignorant”. The cultures have differences, but white people may have been taught that their way of expressing happiness or excitement is the “proper” way. This often makes black people look bad when they might just be misunderstood. That’s just an example of a culture clash. But because the majority rules, the scales tip in favor of one over the other.

Some may also look down on tribal living, finding a progressive way of living, with Eurocentric laws, manner of dress, and manner of speaking to be the best way of living, while looking down on people who don’t live that way. And don’t get me wrong. Many people enjoy living in the land we call home with the freedoms we have, with the Europe-inspired laws and everything. But then again, most of us minorities were raised here and never experienced anything different.

2. Some white people are fed up with trying to be nice to minority groups, especially black people. There are some white people who feel that it doesn’t matter what they try to do for other communities, they will always come out looking racist or not doing enough. Many are still not aware of which phrases or words are racist and which words aren’t. They may know the obvious words like “ni****” and other such words. But they may not realize that generalizing all black people in certain categories could come off as racist, even if white people feel the generalizations or stereotypes are true in their perception.

And that fact makes them feel uncomfortable around other ethnic and racial groups, especially when they feel they have a real concern regarding these people. This gives them a reason to exclude other races and ethnic groups from certain events, schools, or businesses. Some don’t want the “damage control” issues that could follow.

Some white people do want “white only” spaces, spaces where they can talk comfortably with people who are similar and share the same culture or music. They may not necessarily hate other races or ethnic groups, they just want to spend time with people like themselves. Unfortunately, this increases segregation and causes controversy.

Admittedly, some minority groups do get angry over every little comment towards them or another person like them. Even a judgment of character is often referred back to racial issues at times. Some minorities do try to profit off of racism and “racist” situations and try to bring attention to themselves. Some minorities just find it easier to blame racism for some of the issues in the community instead of doing more to build up their communities.

This makes it frustrating for the white people that may not have initially had prejudices per se, but may have formed them based on reactions from minority groups. For instance, Mackelmore, a pop artist in the USA, marched in Seattle for the issues going on in Ferguson. Many black people criticized him, asking why he was there and stating that he just wanted attention. They were mad at him for taking home the best Hip Hop artist award at an awards’ show when he is 1) not considered a Hip-hop artist by most Hip-hop experts and 2) not considered the best Hip-hop artist to many in the Hip-hop community (who are mostly black and Latino). Most black people felt the award should’ve gone to Kendrick Lamar, but felt that Macklemore won because he is white. They felt he didn’t speak up then. So they felt he was only marching for the show.

This made a lot of white people angry, who felt that black people would find a way to criticize them no matter what. This disconnects them further from minorities and makes them just want to ignore issues. Some feel it’s better to ignore than to address it to avoid having their words and actions criticized.

3) There are white people who have been victims of prejudice, even crime, at the hands of those of a minority group, and so have a fear of them, which leads to hatred.

Remember I told you I attended a all-black school? Well, it’d be unfair to say no white people attended. It was a majority black school with two white people and one Asian girl. There was one white girl and one white boy who went to the school.

The girl was raised around black people. But the students, teachers, and administration made it hard for her in school. They were racist towards her, oh yes, racist.

The other black students would talk about the way the white student spoke, saying she was trying to “sound black”. She couldn’t help it because she grew up around black people and so she picked up their vernacular. But they wouldn’t let up.

Some black students would pick fights with her, intimidate her, and exclude her from things. And whenever she would tell the administration, they did nothing about it and asked her whether she “provoked” the situations. I literally saw one incident where a girl pushed her down for no reason.

This is what happened when she became the minority. Many white people are afraid of being a minority in this country because they are afraid of being treated this way by bitter people, but it would be on a larger scale. They are afraid of their rights being ignored. Then, they would have to face and carry the burdens of their ancestors.

How do you think this white girl fared? I’m sure that if she had became angry enough at her situation, she would’ve turned into a severe racist person.

The good thing about it is she did manage to make a few black friends. That made her realize not all black people were evil and pressed. I was one of those friends. Still, I don’t know what feelings she carried throughout her adult life.

And the ones whose family members were victims of crime by minorities will also resent them. They may attack everything about the criminal, including the race of the individual. This may cause them to be scared of minorities, and fear leads to hatred.

Are All White People To Blame?

No. The newer generation didn’t create the mess. It’s messed up that they are getting dumped on because of things their ancestors did or allowed. Many white people today treat others fairly. There are still ignorant people everywhere, but there are also nice white people out there, too. Everyone in America is diverse.

I think the issues started with minorities’ anger towards the government, a system that failed to issue liberty, freedom, and justice to minorities, but preached about liberty, freedom, and justice. I think most are bitter towards the system. However, mostly white people are in that system, and that is creating a modern-day race problem.

However, there are some white people that support that system and refuse to listen to any rhetoric that makes them feel guilty. And racism still exists. There are still people in power (very few though) like teachers, police officers, and mayors that are racist and use their power to execute discriminatory acts. But it’s important for those of a minority group to sift through foolishness and find the real racism, otherwise they risk losing any support to their causes.

Some minority groups get pretty triggered over little jokes or comments that may not even be racist and may just be “racial”. Some minorities may assume that any person like them getting arrested by a white police officer was “racially targeted”, which isn’t always the case.

Some people can’t handle history lessons and have formed prejudiced views of modern-day white people based on what they’ve learned about the past. Of course, this annoys many white people.

I think all ignorance would be diminished if people learned to walk in other people’s shoes. But maybe that’s way too idealistic.

I think in many cases it seems to some people that everyone else can learn to walk in a white person’s shoes, but it doesn’t seem white people are capable of walking in another culture’s shoes without judging or comparing it to their own culture.

For instance, other cultures and races around the world can watch a movie with a white lead and with European culture (like Game of Thrones) and relate to the humor and story of it, along with movies with lead characters of their own races. But white people can’t relate well to movies with black themes and leads, Asian themes and leads, or Native American themes and leads. To many people, they seem to be the only group of people who don’t know how to assimilate or adapt.

Even in Asia, Asians often speak of running into white tourists who are often confused as to why certain signs aren’t in English and why the people just don’t speak to them in in English. Some ethnicities have had bad experiences.

In South Africa, many white people protested against black girls wearing braids and Afros to school. IN AFRICA.

But there are many white people that do connect with other cultures and races. There are some that can switch between Harry Potter and Diary of a Mad Black Woman. It’s senseless to put everyone in the same category. But sometimes these white people might feel rejected by the group of people they try to connect to. They get labeled “appropriators” or attention-seekers.

Some people use the race or ethnic card when convenient but have no real intentions on making changes. That’s when it becomes less effective and irritating. That really hurts the actual organizations out here fighting for true equality.

Why Would Something From Over 100 Years Ago Affect People?

Does Thomas Edison’s inventions affect us? Yes. Do we realize it all the time? No.

Without him we wouldn’t have light bulbs, movies, or sound recordings. We forget about his importance because other people have upgraded it, but he invented it and it still affects us today because we use these things.

Does the Korean war still affect South Koreans? Yes. In the same manner? No. The war happened back in the 1950s. However, because only a ceasefire was issued, the threat still exists.

History has an affect on us as humans, especially history that is 100 years old or less. As long as grandparents and great-grandparents live, history has an affect on everyone’s social, emotional, mental, and even economic health. It affects their children and grandchildren. Events in history just don’t happen, laws get put in place, and then it’s over. There is always an aftereffect. The aftermath can last for centuries, depending on the actions of all involved.e

So, Should They Be Mad At Each Other Forever?

Of course not.

However, some people have to overcome their pain and start the process towards healing. When people are suffering, it’s easy to try to find someone to blame for their problems. Many of these people need to find the courage to let go of the past, pick up where they left off, and make a new start.

The biggest reason these issues still exist is because there are no real solutions floating around. If people came together to actually discuss solutions, things might actually improve.

I hope I was able to answer all questions about this topic! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think or what you could add to the discussion!

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“Ask the USA”

11 Feb

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Hello readers, this is Gen Next talking to you straight.

I want to start a new series on this blog called ‘Ask the USA‘. This series will tackle questions about the USA asked by people from outside of the USA, questions coming from Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, and on this blog.

What inspired this series? Much of American entertainment and news are available around the world thanks to the internet. The news media and internet have turned American issues into global ones. American topics are beginning to affect people around the globe. Because of that, many foreigners are watching and wondering about some of the things going on in the USA. American issues also affect the responses people of the world get from Americans on social media websites, chat rooms, news websites, and other places that provide an opportunity for comments.

As a result, I’ve heard so many different questions about the USA. I’ve heard some of the same questions about the USA so often, I feel compelled to respond.

It’s natural for people to be curious about other nations, especially if people plan to travel one day. I’m naturally curious about issues going on in other countries as well. With that being said, I think a lot of people around the world would benefit from reading the articles in this series.

People from the USA may find these articles interesting as well. Other Americans may even want to add to these articles in the “comment” section.

I felt the need to write these articles because I’ve been in discussions with people from different countries and they’ve come to me about many things they’ve heard or experienced in the country and online with the citizens.

As a natural-born citizen, an African American woman, an adult working citizen (I pay my taxes), I think I am fully qualified to answer some of the questions people around the world have. I also think I’ve improved on my writing well enough for most people to understand. Hopefully, my humor has improved as well. Forgive me if it hasn’t. XD I’m working on shortening my articles as well.

I planned on starting this series in January, but so much has been going on in my life and in the world, I just couldn’t start this series that soon. Hopefully, I can start the series sometime this month or next month.

If you’re from outside of the USA, and you have questions, you can leave me a comment with your question and I will try to answer it in this series. Of course, the priority questions will be the questions that more than one person asks. Please be patient for all other questions. I will try to get to everyone’s questions.

So far, the topics that have been of interest include:

  • Donald Trump’s presidency
  • Racism and Race relations in the USA
  • Native Americans
  • The Constitution and the Bill of Rights
  • American English versus British English
  • Americans’ Views on Women and Sexualization

These topics are just a starting point.

I am really excited about this series and I hope that I can answer everyone’s questions. Don’t be afraid to ask!

~From Generation Next

 

Just How Talented is F(x)’s Choi Jinri “Sulli”?

1 May

By now, if you’ve been following my blog, you know that I’ve been f(x) crazy for the last two months, and my obsession doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. It won’t slow down until my big “promotional move” I have planned this summer. But that will be kept under my hat until then…

Just remember to #bfx2us and put your town behind it to show where your love for f(x) is coming from, if of course, you’ve fallen in love with this group as much as I have.

Well, this article is a part of that promotion. My goal is to push for an f(x) tour for, at least, next year.

To learn more about K-pop group f(x):

f(x) the Korean “Spice Girls” + Amber Liu in the Spotlight

f(x) Pink Tape Review

f(x) Red Light Review

Just how talented is f(x) Victoria?

Just how talented is f(x) Amber?

Just how talented is f(x) Krystal?

Just how talented is f(x) Luna?

To all of you who have watched the music videos, and who doubt the talent of the f(x) members, I will be doing something similar to an artist “portfolio”. In this case, I will be showcasing the musical background and skills of each f(x) artist. This resume “portfolio” of sorts will show all readers why I think these girls qualify to be a part of f(x), why I believe them to be SM’s major female multi-national group, and why I think f(x) has what it takes to make it internationally.

Basically, this is why I think you newcomers should hire them as one of your new favorite K-pop groups. 😉

This article will be about the cutie Sulli!

Choi Jinri “Sulli”

Sulli is f(x)’s “Giant baby” because she looks the youngest, is one of the youngest, has a baby face, but is SUPER tall. Okay, maybe not super, but she’s pretty tall.

Sulli is so pretty that IU was inspired to write the song “Peach” based on her beauty! She is often praised for her unique features. She has “kiss kiss” lips.

There are many beautiful girls in Korea and in f(x), but Sulli’s beauty is strikingly unique. Her face is so different.

Sulli is very cute. She’s always wearing loose clothing, particularly skirts and t-shirts, and often sneakers.

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Sulli is very well-known for her acting skills (To the Beautiful You), but many people misjudge her when it comes to music.

So, let’s review her credentials, shall we?

Sulli can Sing

I’m here to tell you that Sulli isn’t all beauty. She actually has a pretty voice!

I used to hear a lot of negative things about her, so I wondered: Can she really sing or dance?

SO, like I usually do, I decided to do deeper research, since I like to go beyond the surface. I happened to find some clips of Sulli singing, and she’s actually pretty good.

Now, comparing her voice to her fellow members, I wouldn’t say she has the strongest voice. But she can sing. I expected to hear screeching and forcefulness…

Sulli sang the song “Nagging” in To the Beautiful You

Sulli also sang “Peach” in To the Beautiful You. The song was originally written and sung by IU, but the lyrics were about Sulli, who is IU’s best friend.

Sulli sang “White” on Music Bank with f(x) Krystal, 4Minute’s Sohyun, Miss A’s Suzy, and Kara’s Jiyoung

Sulli sang “Circus” in English in a “Maknae” performance

Sulli sang “The Way Idols Break Up” with Heechul from Super Junior

Sulli sang “7989” with Kangta

Sulli Can play piano and guitar

Yea, isn’t it shocking? I hate that SM hides such talent. Sulli is actually really good at this! But she showed more of it as a child.

This is what I notice about women: They show most of their talents as children, and then grow up to just show mostly their beauty. Which isn’t bad, but it dampens the quality of the music, ya know? I wish she would show people this side more often.

Sulli can dance

Sulli is always attacked as being the “weakest” dancer. Well, maybe it’s because F(x)’s choreography doesn’t bring out the best of her abilities. Sulli is very good at dancing the Rumba.

Sulli dancing the Rumba.

Sulli had a medley of dances.

Sulli dance cut with Taemin and in a commercial.

Sulli has rap experience

I’m not going to call Sulli 2Pac here, but she has pretty good flow considering her experience is limited. Not bad.

Sulli rapping on the radio

This is proof of Sulli’s musical experience and why I feel she is worthy to be a K-pop idol and a member of f(x). She is very misjudged.

Sulli is also an amazing actress, as many saw in To the Beautiful You and Ballad of Seo Dong.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

f(x) the Korean “Spice Girls” + Amber Liu in the Spotlight

f(x) Red light Review

f(x) Pink Tape Review

f(x) Summer on GN!

Which f(x) member are you? quiz

f(x)’s charm and Venus

f(x)’s Ideal Types by Sun and Mars

f(x) Around the World

f(x) in the USA

f(x) on Olleh: Korea’s most Unique Girl Group

Just how Talented is f(x) Sulli?

Just how Talented is f(x) Victoria?

Just how talented is f(x) Amber?

Just how talented is f(x) Krystal?

Just how talented is f(x) Luna?

GN’s Top 10 F(x) songs (so far)

Girls’ Generation vs F(x): Chocolate Love

Why does GN love f(x) so much?

Who is your f(x) bias?

Funny Reaction videos to f(x) “Red Light”

GN’s LEAST FAVORITE f(x) album?

EXTRAS

USA’s Nylon writes about Girls’ Generation’s Jessica and F(x)’s Krystal, Jungsis!

F(x) Amber and Got7 on We Got Married Global! Which man wins Amber’s heart (Natal chart reading)?

F(x) Gets treated unfair by SM? And EXO is treated better?

Make Your Move, SM’s first American movie has songs from F(x) and Girls’ Generation in it!

F(x) Amber, a part of androgynous inspiration!

The Korean Wave

Venus signs and Love Stories, F(x) Amber Liu is mentioned

Music Core, f(x) mentioned

Jackie Liu, Amber Liu’s Sister, Gets Hurt by Fan

f(x)’s Amber in a parody Korean drama for A Song for you!

SM TOWN WORLD TOUR 2014! f(x) will perform!

“Make Your Move” Movie Review–SM Entertainment’s first U.S. film

19 Apr

 

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Make Your Move was definitely an SM Entertainment movie, and the first one they released in the USA.

At first, I was a little skeptical. Lionsgate dropped this film, so my thinking was that they probably didn’t think this movie was a good one. So, I didn’t come in expecting too much. But after watching it, I was surprised. It was actually pretty good! It was better than the last two Step Up sequels honestly. It got the same reviews…so I don’t understand why Lionsgate dropped this film. I know they merged with Summit, but Summit is doing Step Up: All In, which is due to come out this summer, and I’m sure they’ll be working the same material. The only difference is this dance was unique. I don’t get it…It’s not like critics will be any easier on that movie, and people would’ve enjoyed this movie.

From the director Duane Adler, we get a movie that follows her resume. This movie is very similar to Save the Last Dance and Step Up. In fact, it’s a combination of the two. Combine a classic dance, racial conflict, and some sexy, hip-hop footwork (along with bumpin’ club music) and you get Make Your Move. So if you’re a fan of those movies, this one won’t disappoint.

Make Your Move is the story of a young woman named Aya (BoA Kwon) and a young man named Donny (Derek Hough) who both love to dance. But they both take on very unique styles of dancing: Donny tap dances, and Aya mixes Taiko drumming with tap dancing.

The two meet at Donny’s brother’s club one day, after Aya sabotages the performance on the stage at the time and takes over. Donny then joins Aya in a hot and sexy bar dance. Donny instantly falls for her.

But there’s a problem in paradise: their brothers own rival clubs, and this rivalry is VERY intense. To add, both clubs are threatened by some Wall-Street, rich-guy, douchebag who is obsessed with Aya.

This makes their relationship almost “forbidden” in a sense. This is aside from their own personal struggles and trials (Donny violates his parole in New Orleans to dance in Brooklyn and Aya has to find the money to extend her Visa so she won’t get deported back to Japan).

Inspired from Romeo and Juliet, this story proved itself to live up to former dance movies by the director.

Like I do often, I will review this movie in sections. I don’t want to give too much away. 😉

Story/Plot: I wouldn’t say this had the most unique and thought-provoking story in the world. It was simple enough for the young 10-year old behind me to understand the movie. This concept has been done before. Because it’s a pretty overtly done story, the outcome is pretty predictable. However, the story WAS engaging. You did wonder what would happen next. You did wonder what the two brothers, the rivals in the movie, would do to screw up everything and make matters more challenging. I wasn’t bored watching the movie, but I didn’t leave the movie in contemplation the whole night.

I also applaud the story for being smooth, and not leaving any plot holes. I could keep up. Things didn’t move too fast, but things also didn’t move too slow. I wasn’t confused.

This movie was like a musical, only instead of breaking out in singing, they broke out in dance, often randomly.

The best part of this movie was the dancing. Both BoA and Derek Hough have some SERIOUS professional skills, and it was evident in this movie. BoA and Donny showed off their strong choreography. But hey, this is a dance movie, that’s what they’re supposed to do…though many movies fail in this regard.

This movie definitely brought a new generation of dancing. I learned about a new dance, and saw something that peaked my interest. So I wasn’t disappointed. I was always eager to see how this dance would play out throughout the movie.

This movie seemed catered to tweens and teens, like most dance movies.

Some may be disappointed that the ending isn’t stomping out an opponent, but I think the final outcome of the movie drifts from the way usual dance movies in this day-and-age end…

But honestly, overall, I went in not expecting too much. But the movie was actually better than I thought it would be. Much better.

Characters: While Derek Hough played a very typical romantic interest (an ex-con, homeless man who dreams of dancing), Aya was somewhat different than what I expected of her. For starters, Aya was sexy in a NON-SLUTTY way. I don’t once remember her wearing skimpy clothing, or the camera focusing on her butt, breasts, belly, or anything below her face, though she had some nice outfits in this movie. In fact, she was quite the tomboy. But she owned that tomboy. She made that tomboy look VERY sexy. A new side to BoA stepped out.

Aya was very “gangster” to me. She stood up for herself. I wouldn’t call her a feminist-though those themes seem prevalent in the film. I connected with Aya. She was confident, smart, funny, and daring. She wasn’t sweet and innocent, like I expected her to be.

On the flip-side, I was at first confused as to why it was so difficult for Aya to “find the money” to pay off her Visa. There were easier ways than dancing, but I think that was the point. Aya wanted to get it by finding a job dancing instead of doing something she hated…well, that’s what I got out of it. Maybe Aya couldn’t get jobs easily because she was foreign…But her brother didn’t think it was such a smart idea either, so…

Surprisingly, BoA’s English has gotten REALLY good! Or maybe, it was just the dialogue that was good. But the script was well-suited to the characters’ personalities, and it wasn’t cheesy. Many times when we think of singers acting in movies, we’re often prepared for some poor acting. But BoA was really natural, I have to give it to her. You could tell she was comfortable with Derek.

There were no random filler characters (you know, the random person put in the story for no other reason than to make it funny). Every character served it’s purpose. I wouldn’t call all of the characters unique. The brothers were very typical rivals. I don’t even remember their names, but they served their purpose: to make the two lovers’ lives miserable. I do remember the douchebag Michael, but he’s kind of the main antagonist. Then there are the two ladies who support the brothers’ roles, and they merely serve as people who move the story along.

This story basically focused ON the story and focused on the point: to show a new side to dancing.

I was a little disappointed that Yuhno from TVXQ only made a small appearance, but he danced well, so I wasn’t too disappointed…

Setting: The setting begins in New Orleans, where Donny lives. I wish we could have seen more of him in this place, but I suppose it wasn’t necessary. We see him do his cool tap dance, and then it’s off to Brooklyn…

There were basically two main scenes: the two rival clubs and the abandoned church. Donny was homeless, so he didn’t have a house we could see. Aya lived with her extended family, so I’m sure she didn’t spend too much time at home. Aya did work in a coffee shop…

Of course, the main focus was on the clubs.

OST: The original soundtrack was AWESOME. Yes, we heard songs from American artists, but we also heard songs from some k-pop artists like  f(x), Girls’ Generation, and a nice collaboration with Krystal from f(x), Jessica (SNSD), and EXO-M’s Kris in the song “Say Yes”. So we heard a few SM artists in the mix.

My only disappointment was that we only heard f(x)’s “Nu Abo” over a computer. 😦 I was so hoping they would play it at the end or in a club scene. That song is too smokin’ to just be hiding behind a computer!…

But overall, the OST is fabulous for fans of K-pop and pop or hip-hop music in general.

Overall, on a scale from 1 to 5, I give this movie a 3/5. 1 awful 2  Ok  3 Good 4 Very Good 5 Excellent

On a scale from 1 to 10, I give this movie an 8/10. 1 DON’T WATCH 2 Bad movie, but should watch for laughs 3 had a few good moments 4 I liked just one part of the movie 5 ok 6 It was different and unique 7 Interesting 8 Pretty Good 9 Really Good 10 Go WATCH NOW

This movie was good, it wasn’t boring. It wasn’t the most unique story told, but it wasn’t utter garbage. It was a good movie that I would watch again. Mostly, this movie is good for a DVD release. I wasn’t disappointed, in fact, the movie was better than I thought it would be. The dancing was killer, the story kept my interest, the characters didn’t suck terribly, though many weren’t extremely developed. BoA shined in this movie. This dialogue was to-the-point and not stuffed with crude humor. Every scene was necessary, every character moved the story along. This movie was just like the usual Duane Adler movie.

So, all you lovers of K-pop and dance, this movie is one of the best. I rarely see a good film staring a foreign actor/actress. But this one isn’t disappointing.

Because this is an indie film, I was informed that this movie is NOT showing everywhere. So, check the listings in your surrounding area, particularly, major cities. I had to drive 30 minutes away to see this movie. But that’s better than what others may have to endure to catch this flick…

Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts!

 

The Korean Wave “Hallyu”

17 Apr

I first heard the coined term on an article about f(x) being the first K-pop act to perform at Texas’s SXSW South By Southwest.

f(x) the Korean “Spice Girls” + Amber Liu in the Spotlight

f(x) Brings the Korean Wave to Texas

I know you’re wondering why I suddenly have this inspiration to create an article about the Korean Wave. Well, the other day (as in last week), I was watching Crayon Pop’s song “Uh-ee” and “Bar Bar Bar” when I heard the news that Lady Gaga wants to have Crayon Pop open for her Live Concert Tour. If anyone knows Crayon Pop, they are an all-female K-pop group that went viral awhile back due to their quirky dance moves, bike helmets, and wholesome attire entirely. They are definitely unique, and they seem like they would be Lady Gaga’s taste.

But just hearing how even Lady Gaga is into Korean pop music got me thinking: Just how many people listen to K-pop?

So, I did some research on this subject.

The “Korean Wave” reminds me of the Tulip Era in Turkey in the 18th Century…for all of you historians who are interested…

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What is the Korean Wave?

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It is a sudden “wave” of interest in South Korean “pop” culture. Yes, not just any Korean culture, but “modern” and “popular” Korean culture. And it has developed into a sub-culture with some cult followers in the mix…

The term “Korean Wave”, also called Hallyu, was said to have been coined by Beijing journalists who noticed a growing interest in South Korean culture in China. More and more Chinese people were exporting Korean merchandise, and supporting Korean music and film.

The Korean Wave shows a huge thrust toward entertainment media mostly, but many foreigners are more aware of the lifestyle in Korea as a result, such as the food (I learned about Kimchi), fashion, language, and even literature. The only thing excluded from this category is history, but that may come soon with the rising popularity of Korean dramas.

Due to increase internet availability and usage around the world, and the Technological Revolution of the early 21st Century, K-pop and Korean dramas are more available to people all over the world! So, Korean pop culture is spreading quicker and easier.

The Korean government hopes they can use this “wave” of interest to gain “soft power”. Not the kind of power where you take over other nations, but the kind that introduces Korean beauty, culture, and art to the rest of the world. They hope to make peace through this “wave”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Wave

Where Did the Korean Wave Come From?

After World War II, Japan put a limit on entertainment that came in and out of the country. Once Japan lifted restrictions on international imports (and exports) in the 1980’s, entertainment could be distributed more freely worldwide. This brought about a “Japanese Wave” that was at a much smaller scale than the Korean Wave (mostly due to the fact that internet was a newer concept and not available everywhere around the world), but still, relatively large.

With the “Japanese Wave” came an increased interest in Japanese animation and comics called mangas. Japanese cartoons were fed to children in the 1990’s (I was one of those children). My first Japanese anime cartoon was Sailor Moon. Every day before school, I watched this show! Of course, at that time, the show was butchered so much because they wanted the animes to “relate to American children”. Later, Cartoon Network’s popularity increased as more and more people had access to cable channels in the late 1990’s.

Then came the Pokemon phenomenon, the first major Japanese animation to make millions in the West. It even had a very successful theatrical release! Pokemon is still being aired today.

Cartoon Network began to band together with the popular American animation company Funimation, a company that translated Japanese anime to make it more understandable to American audiences. Toonami, a segment of the day that mostly aired anime, was born afterwards. My next favorite anime to watch on that segment was Dragon Ball Z. This was the start of Japanese influence seeping into the minds of children.

There was also an increased interest in Japanese role-playing games. Sony, a Japanese company, made Playstation and Playstation 2, which made characters come alive on the television screen. The graphics were more real-looking than they had ever been before on any console, controls were easy to use, and Japanese game-makers began to sell their games to the world using this console.

Square-Enix was one such company. They are known for making the popular Final Fantasy series as well as the phenomenon Kingdom Hearts.

Japanese anime brought a wave of interest from the generation exposed to it. Interest in animes like Inuyasha and video games like Kingdom Hearts led to a growing interest in J-pop music (as you can hear an artist at the end of every anime or video game, particularly the legend Ayumi Hamasaki), Japanese food (teriyaki and goyza), Japanese language (Kawaii, Sugoi), fashion (cosplays and lolita came out of this wave), holidays, festivals (like Hinamatsuri), and destinations (like Osaka and Tokyo).

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Bratz tokyo

An interest in Japanese culture, thus, led to an interest in all modern Asian culture.

This is where Korea comes in.

Korean Dramas and Manga

Korean film producers banked on this rising interest in Mangas and Animes. Korean drama adaptations of these animes spurred a fascination for Korean dramas in general. One of the biggest dramas a part of the “Korean Wave” is the drama Boys Over Flowers, based off of the popular Japanese manga series Hana Yori Dango. Meteor Garden, a Chinese version made in Taiwan in 1999, was the first live adaptation of the popular manga series. It was big in all of Asia. Since most southeastern Asian countries speak Chinese, other people were exposed to the drama. The Korean Boys Over Flowers had come out a decade later in 2009, updating the original adaptation and giving a modern feeling. Other Asian countries remembered Meteor Garden and heard about the new adaptation, which exposed many people to Korean culture.

Winter Sonata was Korea’s own major masterpiece, and it equaled the success of  Meteor Garden. This drama was said to have been the drama that launched the “Korean Wave”.

These Korean dramas were popular because of two factors as quoted from Wikipedia:

  • Emotional engagement of the audience with particular emphasis on forging an emotional bond with the protagonist
  • Explicit attention to female sexual desires — Departing from conventional dramas that tend to eroticize the female body, these dramas market the sexual attraction of the male actors, giving women a certain freedom of sexual expression.

 SM Entertainment

“Powerhouse” label SM Entertainment brought Korean music to the world for the first time. H.O.T. was the first all-boy Korean group to perform a sold-out Concert outside of Korea. This group particularly targeted teenagers and were the first of their kind. They were the pioneers of what we know as the “idol group trend”. They were meant to bring K-pop to the younger generation. Their debut was in 1996.

Then came BoA Kwon, the reigning Princess of K-Pop. BoA was the first Korean artist to sell over a million copies of her albums outside of Korea. She was Korea’s first international superstar. She was an extremely young artist, and the youngest artist to debut at the time of her debut (2000 at age 14).

My first taste of K-pop was also through BoA. I was first introduced to BoA after my favorite doll brand, Bratz, did a collaboration with BoA and Howie D (Backstreet Boys) back in 2003. It was my second taste of foreign music (my first was Utada Hikaru from the Kingdom Hearts series, but she sounded so “American”, I didn’t realize she was a Japanese superstar at the time).

I started looking up more about BoA. That’s when I found out she sang the ending song to the popular anime, Inuyasha, which also made BoA more popular. That’s when I realized just how popular BoA was in Japan.

Then I found out she wasn’t Japanese. Little did I know, at the time, I was a part of a movement that shaped the next generation.

She is still the only Korean artist to have six consecutive hits in Japan, and is considered a household name in many Asian countries.

Soon, other K-pop artists from SM began to pop their way to stardom.

The groups I remember distinctly popping up was TVXQ (DBSK), Super Junior, SHINee, and Girls’ Generation. With the Youtube phenomenon, these groups spread Korean pop music internationally. Many of those groups had international members in them. The male groups broke Asian stereotypes around the world, and gave Asian men a “beautiful face” in the Western world.

At the time, SHINee was the most unique. SHINee embraced their more “feminine features” and made it more attractive to girls! They also started the new generation of dance-pop music with complex dance moves. After their debut, the other artists started imitating their style. Originally K-pop boys showed more edge, but SHINee softened their blows, wearing eyeliner, long hair, and shaking their butts in “Ring ding dong”.

Girls Generation brought Asian beauties to international audiences, and paved the way for the female “idol group” trend.

My biggest sweep into the Korean Wave was with the group f(x). Amber was Korea’s first androgynous pop star! Ever since, I’ve been an adamant follower of K-pop “idol groups” rather than Japanese, and recently, C-pop (Chinese pop). I’m just so darn addicted to that group! Once you get swept into the ocean of K-pop, with your favorite K-pop artist, it’s hard to swim back to shore…rather, it’s hard to want to.

The rising popularity of these groups contributed to the “group” trend that is known in Korea today…

Adding these idols to K-dramas spreads Hallyu further.

Psy and Gangnam Style

Psy made K-pop a global phenomenon in 2012 to 2013 with his smash Youtube hit “Gangnam Style”, an upbeat, electro-dance pop/rap song, put to funny, satirical lyrics, and choreographed with humorous “galloping” dance moves. Psy made a statement in Korea, and brought Korea to everyone’s backyard. He was the first viral artist to have over a billion views! He broke a world record!

Unlike most idols, he wasn’t slim-trim, with a “Justin Bieber” haircut, skinny jeans, and hot dance moves. He was an “average” guy. His music also made a statement. He pointed out satirically about the lavish lifestyle in Gangnam, a district in Seoul, Korea, the center of Korean pop culture. This appealed to audiences worldwide.

Psy also put his label, YG, on the map. Korea hopes to use his fandom as a sign of diplomacy and “soft power”.

What Makes the Korean Wave Unique from other “Asian Waves”?

The Korean phenomenon wasn’t the first international fascination with Asian culture. Asian persuasion has been around since the growing popularity of Kung Fu films in the 1970’s and 1980’s, which put Chinese cinema on the map and popularized Chinese culture and history in many parts of the world. The growing popularity of Japanese culture dominated the 1990’s.

But what makes the “Korean Wave” unique is that it is getting popular in an era that is influenced by the “Digital Revolution”. It is spreading at a much faster rate and on a more universal scale than the other two phenomenons.

It’s also unique in the fact that Koreans are popular for their “modern” culture, and not stereotyped, historical depictions of them that may no longer ring true (like all Asian men learning martial arts). Koreans are looked at as more of an advancing society, as their modern culture is more popular than their ancient one, and that’s what makes this “wave” special.

Finally, what makes the “Korean Wave” unique from the other two “Waves” is the fact that the “Korean Wave” shows a huge support from the female audience. Kung Fu movies and the “Japanese Wave” mostly had male audiences wrapped around their fingers. Though, as a female, I’ve been into all the waves at one time…

This also helps to change the world’s views on Asian culture. It helps to diminish biases, prejudices, and stereotypes. It creates mutual understanding and peace between nations.

What are characteristics of those involved with the Korean Wave?

1) Lots and Lots of fan girls-Because of the increased female fan-base, men are more objectified in K-pop and K-dramas, and female sexuality is highlighted. This makes Asian men more desirable to women.

2) K-pop Group biases and fan wars-With the rising popularity of K-pop groups, you find tons of fans defending their favorite “idol” groups. My favorite is f(x) recently. They helped sweep me into this “Korean Wave”. But I hate fan wars.

3) K-Drama discussions-K-dramas can be so dramatic, you will find tons of message boards about them. Prepare to cry.

4) Eclectic clothing-Korean clothing can be trendy and sometimes downright eccentric.

5) A bunch of young college kids-While you might think mostly teenagers are into this wave, sources show that the biggest support comes from young adults in their 20’s. So, this is what the college kids are into. I sort…of…um…am apart of that demographic. :3

Well, that’s all for now folks! Leave me a comment let me know what you think about Korea’s growing popularity!

K-pop Queen BoA Kwon and Dancing with the Stars’s Derek Hough Star in “Make Your Move” + Girls’ Generation, f(x), EXO, and TVQX Songs Appear on the OST

14 Apr

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I’ve done a small article on this already, but now, the time is getting close. Coming up on April 18, 2014“powerhouse” SM Entertainment’s K-pop queen BoA Kwon (13-year pop star reign, and only 27!) will be staring in the movie Make Your Move with Dancing with the Stars‘s Derek Hough (7-year performer, Emmy Award-winner, and Mirror Ball champion on the show!). 

The film was directed by Duane Adler, the same person who wrote the script for Save the Last Dance and Step Up.

Singer Yunho from TVXQ will also make a cameo appearance.

The story is Romeo-and Juliet-inspired. The movie is an independent film, meaning it wasn’t produced by a major studio company. To me, this is a bit dangerous, as it’s hard to promote independent films, since there’s not a history or list of films to observe, and there isn’t a fandom (for instance, Lions Gate has a huge reputation for making awesome female heroines…and has acquired a fandom…). Hopefully, K-pop fans, fans of BoA, and fans of dancing help promote the movie. So far, the trailer hasn’t been spreadng everywhere yet, but there doesn’t seem to be much competition that weekend, so who knows…

Another thing is the story. Many times, in these kind of movies, the stories can be weak. That can be one strike against an independent film that already has a hard time being noticed.

Synopsis

“Cobu 3D” tells the story of two star-crossed dancers who fall in love although their brothers have a rivalry over their underground dance clubs. SM Entertainment‘s BoA plays Aya alongside “Dancing with the Stars”‘ Derek Hough who will play Donny.”

The original title was COBU 3D because the rival dance team Aya (played by BoA) dances on in the movie is called COBU.

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One major exciting thing about this movie is the soundtrack!

https://itunes.apple.com/album/make-your-move-original-motion/id845087090

BoA is the long-reigning queen, but today’s generation is more familiar with the infestation of “K-pop groups” rather than the solo artists that were so popular in the early 2000s. I grew up with anime, so I’m more familiar with BoA because she sang for Inuyasha. But actually, the first song I heard from her was  “Show Me What You Got” featuring Bratz and Backstreet Boy’s Howie D! Again, that was made by Avex, the “powerhouse” label in Japan. So, yea, back to the K-pop groups…

On the soundtrack, we are going to get some new and old songs from some popular K-pop groups, including my personal favorite, f(x)!

F(x)’s song “Nu Abo” will be on the soundtrack! YAY!

Girls’ Generation will have an upbeat song called “Cheap Creeper”.

f(x)’s Krystal, Girls’ Generation’s Jessica, and EXO-M’s Kris will have the upbeat song “Say Yes.”

Henry’s song “Trap” also appears on the OST.

TVXQ will have a new song called “Running On Empty.”

SO DON’T FORGET TO WATCH AND SUPPORT! 

IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHO BoA IS:

THE CYBER REVOLUTION BEGINS: Megavideo is DEAD in line with SOPA and PIPA

21 Jan

We have gathered today for the memorial of this terrible internet tragedy. Megavideo and Megaupload have been shut down. I’m about to pass the tissues.

Okay, we all know that Megavideo and Megaupload have been posting up videos that may or may not have been illegal and violated copyright and infringement laws. But this is still sad for online users who relied on Megavideo to watch many films that aren’t offered in our country. Most every website has supported Megavideo and Megaupload from the beginning.

The LAW is on the side of entertainment. Isn’t it ironic? This just goes to show us how much power the entertainment industry has. This entertainment business is trying to convince us to buy their materials. What they can’t seem to realize is that they are doing the opposite of what they’re trying to accomplish. Instead of trying to persuade us to buy their materials, like with good quality productions and good advertising, they are going to try to FORCE us to buy their items. This may just be the thing that makes me say, “Hey, bye, bye entertainment industry.” The main promotion of artists today is through the internet, and through bills, like SOPA and PIPA, it will affect many artists, unbeknownst to the idiot record labels and Motion picture producers themselves. Are they crazy? The internet is a major marketing tool! They don’t even realize the power that they can gain through internet influence. Maybe it’s time for all the old farts to retire from those places, and get more up-to-speed management, people who know how to adapt to the ever-growing technological revolution.

Of course, internet users will not go down without a fight. We support the internet. To me, there’s nothing wrong with a website that makes movies and music accessible online. The problem the record labels and Motion Picture productions have is that they are NOT online yet. Megavideo and Megaupload just thought of the idea first. These dumb record label companies are banking on selling their “hard copy” materials and the movie productions want us to buy their “hard copy” DVDs. Well, it’s about time the companies start to update. How can you appeal to the people when you’re five steps behind the people?

The two bills SOPA and PIPA have really done it now. These bills haven’t even passed into laws, and have been shelved. But it seems like the U.S. government is retaliating against the people who protested against it’s passing. It’s a battle between the government and the internet users. This is a huge wave mass that I will tag as the THE CYBER REVOLUTION. It is the internet users revolt against the government and the fight has just begun.

The U.S. government feels that protecting us is best done by arresting the internet users that supply entertainment instead of protecting us from TRUE crimes.

http://www.loleg.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/piracy.jpg

The Fight for the Right Government: Speak Up, Speak Out!

12 Feb

If you haven’t heard, Egypt has been working really hard recently to uproot their president from his high throne and bring a sweep of change in the country. As an American, I think this is important to watch and observe.

Egypt Fights Back!

Let’s think about the issues that activated this revolt:

1) Government Corruption

2) Rampant poverty

3) Unemployment

These are some of the main issues…and the main issues actually sweeping the United States. Mubarak has been president for 30 years, before the generations of people actually protesting. The cries of his people he didn’t seem to be hearing. So the young people of the nation, and plenty others, created an internet campaign that blew up into a national and international revolution.

Why international? With the help of technology, the world interconnection system, these ideas of revolt are spreading, influencing other nations to fight back too. NOW is the time to speak up and act, more than in any generation before. This global issue needs to be fixed by the people of the world. It’s no longer about countries…it’s about people. And this is why I respect the nation of Egypt. They have shown the world that they are not PUNKS. They have shown the world that it takes one voice (or internet campaign) to make a difference and to change your nation and even the world.

In the United States, we aren’t even allowed to have a president rule for 30 years. But yet and still, we have similar issues. We have the privilege of freedom of speech…the same privilege that other nations are fighting for…and what do Americans do with it? Do we use our voice to improve our nation? What about all of the other nations? are you now making the appropriate steps to change your living and change your nation? Some people will argue that there’s nothing wrong with their nation to speak out about, which is good to have a positive outlook. Others will argue that there are plenty of problems. But if you have a problem, the Egyptians showed the world what you can do: revolt.

It was about time the president stepped down. When he made the challenge “I will NOT leave my position. I will not leave Egypt. Not until I’m buried underground”, I was saying to myself, ‘Be careful what you wish for’. The perseverance of the Egyptian nations is one that will go down in history. It will encourage the world to stand up.

You know, before internet, American youth were thought of only caring about music, movies, and celebrities (nothing important), compared to other youth in other nations who were interested in politics and issues in their world, and making a change. Now with the world becoming closer…well the two are integrating. More Americans are interested in politics than ever before, and more people around the world are interested in music and the celebrity world! It’s funny. Even during the world cup, that was the first time I ever even heard of Americans tuning in to see the World Cup. That was always thought of as an international thing. But Americans finally joined the world in that world-wide sport…it made me realize how our worlds our changing. That’s why this is the perfect time to do all you can to make a difference, whether in your community or nation. Create a history for yourself and change your future.

‘Black Power’: Useful or Abusive?

20 Jul

Today, I came to a resolution: Black people can and do ruin things.

I am African American myself, so I think that it’s fair for me to say this about my ethnicity.

First and foremost, yes, I think a small portion of it has to do with black culture colliding with white culture. Is that not the problem? Since the beginning of time, Asian, Native American, African, and European culture have been distinctly different from one another. But unlike other nations who came into the US to live in a new country, and so they even gave up some of their old country’s ways to adapt, most African Americans didn’t come on their own free will, and so didn’t really want to give up African ways. This made African culture a part of American culture largely because it just wasn’t given up in their hearts or minds, and instead, made an impression on society, just like the Native Americans. Of course, back in the history of America, slavery caused bitterness, and then later prejudice, segregation, injustice, inequality, and racism did as well, which people who have never gone through it would never understand. They would simply say “Get over it”.

But let me tell you why it’s not easy to GET OVER things like that. What if you were forced to be in a relationship with someone for 20 years, and for 20 years they abused you by beating you, spitting on you, calling you names? Just because you were short/ugly/pretty/fat/slow/fast etc? No one here could say they would accept it. Many would say they couldn’t forgive that person. And say for instance you were forced into a nice marriage…is it still not force? What if you loved someone else? What if you didn’t want to be tied down just yet? What if you didn’t want children, but they forced you? But you were still forced to follow the will of someone else? Someone you barely knew? And you were forced to live with that person? And no legal laws could get you out of it? How would YOU feel?

American slavery is similar to the banking system now…the more I think about it…

Anyway, some people can say the following things: 1) Slavery is over and so is segregation 2) Generation today never lived through it, so why should this generation bring it up?

Well for starters, the Civil Rights Movement didn’t end until about 40 or so years ago. Slavery and Segregation lasted over 100 years. That’s 100 years of oppression versus 40 years of freedom. It would take about another 60 years or more before the seed of it is completely vanquished. Many of the people who lived through it are still living today, and teaching their children about what they went through during those times. These are grandparents and mothers who still live today that went through it. My mother was born when the Civil Rights Movement was taking place, and my great-grandmother, with whom I am so close to, went through it. So, yes, our generation didn’t go through it, but it is painful when someone you love has gone through it, and to think about them being treated wrong is hard itself. It will take a lot of action to make up for the mistakes America’s ancestors made. ‘You Break it, you gotta fix it’ America.

And racism still exists. Maybe not at the magnitude it was, but it still exists. Racist attitudes exist. Observe the comments’ section on Youtube while watching videos about “Africa” or even “Salt N’ Peppa”. There ARE white people who truly think they’re superior to black people. There are white people in power who take their racist ideas and try to subtly hold other minorities back.

I have experienced real racism in high school in 2006. My sibling was in a class with a white teacher, who hated Asians, Latin Americans, Islamic, and African Americans/Black people. She would sit all of the people of color at the front of the classroom and would subtly allow white people to sit wherever they wanted. She gave them an assigned seat to cover her tracks in case someone turned her in, but whenever they moved around the room, she wouldn’t say much. But when any of the people of color moved even slightly, she would scold or write them up. She wrote up the valedictorian, a black girl, because she “thought” she was talking, and the girl never EVER said a word!

When white students didn’t complete their assignments, she would give them extensions. But when a person of color accidentally forgot their COMPLETED assignment in their locker, she would count it as an F.

I remember there was one boy who was half Mexican, half white. For most of the year, she thought he was white. But when he celebrated Mexican Independence Day, she found out he was Mexican. Guess what? You know what. She began to treat him differently after that. That’s when he began to realize this.

This woman was so racist, she wouldn’t even ask to see the parents of the minorities on Parent-Teacher conferences, even if the student was failing and poorly behaved! That’s how racist she was. And it was hard to prove that she was racist, too. She definitely covered her tracks.

For me, racism is real. Many people may think that I’m exaggerating or lying. No, it’s real.

I just wanted to add that this teacher also hated Jews and Catholics, so if she found out you were affiliated with those religions, she would also treat them like crap. But many of the white kids in this class didn’t associate with any religions. I can’t imagine if they had…But this made it even harder to prove. We didn’t have the full support of every kid in the class.

So, see? I’m not just a self-hating black person, who is excusing racism like so many of my readers may think. I’m not ignoring issues, and yes, my life matters.

But that goes for in the WHITE community AND the BLACK community.

I must admit, though, that the idea of segregation, discrimination, and racism has really been taken too far among the black race. It has no longer really become about the black race anymore. It’s just about power and money, the ruination of the whole world. It has been taken out of context so much, it isn’t taken seriously anymore. And this makes people ignore when it REALLY happens.

To add, black people have far greater issues than White-on-black crime.

Instead of elevating, coming together to combat our problems so we can combat greater issues, the black race is still in the state it’s in. And yes, we can say it’s because other cultures who came to this country and were able to start their own businesses and ground family businesses. They were able to prosper. But whatever happened to bouncing back up from a crisis? And the new immigrants that come every year who have to start over? There were plenty of black people in the past who were able to make changes and start their own business, and they LIVED in the days of segregation. So what is the excuse?

We can blame gangsta rap, because ever since the inclusion of it, blacks have been encouraged to fight for equality by using their own methods and using violence to do so. However, blacks aren’t fighting for equality against the police for racial reasons nowadays. They are too busy shooting each other.

So who is to blame anymore? If you look at statistics, shall we get a peek, and embarrass this ethnicity? :

http://www.afropunk.com/forum/topics/2059274:Topic:79518

Anyone and everyone has witnessed black people having the following problems in the following areas:

1) Crime increases when black people move into neighborhoods. Especially gun violence. Black people also always fight anytime they get together for any event. The Black Expo in Indiana seems to have a shoot-out every year. It’s the reason the Black Expo was cancelled in Chicago. Black people don’t seem to know how to act in public, in private, and they don’t know how to run productive communities without messing it up. They don’t clean their communities, show up for community meetings, or pay taxes or give other donations. The schools also become violent and dangerous, and as much as parents try to move their kids, more than likely it could be your kid causing most of the problems. Drugs are always the main foundation for businesses if there are any productive businesses. This is very true in my own neighborhood.

2) Businesses begin to close down because businesses are afraid of being robbed and killed through gun violence. To add, they are afraid of drama, like fighting, loud and flip-mouth customers, and other disturbances within the community. Plus, the value of the store decreases and people stop shopping in areas where violence is prevalent.

3) Black people are the laziest workers, the least willing to make changes on the job and in relationships, they never want to commit to anything, neither do they want to take up more responsibilities,  and often are amongst the least friendly when it comes to people who are different from them. Black people love to complain about their jobs, they complain about who is getting more money, but in the same breath don’t want to do any work and come late in and leave early out. Black people want to deny this, but at every school, job, or other important event, I have experienced the same pattern of behavior. And I don’t know where it comes from, but it’s there.

4) Black people always want to pull racism into everything, which not only takes the joy out of freedom of speech for everyone, but makes people walk on egg shells every time someone of a different ethnicity comes around. And I blame comedians for this one. Anytime a white person does something, it doesn’t make them racist. Nigger is not used as a derogatory term anymore, especially if used like “What’s up, Nigger?” Simple as this: Black people can say it, so can everyone else. But oh no, black people are so ignorant, you’ll hear the ignorant people in the comment sections saying “That’s the way it is, black people say nigga, no one else.” Technically, that would be make Black people racist.

And this list doesn’t apply to ALL black people. But this is the spirit of the neighborhood. This is something that has been prevalent in the city of Chicago, Detroit, Ferguson, and basically, many communities that are dominated by black people.

Black people even tried to pull racism in the Princess and the Frog! They changed the freaking story because BET said it made black people look bad.

As much as I liked the new story, the old story would’ve been far deeper. They should’ve been thankful they made a black princess movie AT ALL. But black people are never satisfied as long as a white person is making the movie. Nowadays, black people have become the most bias and prejudice ethnicity ever. Now, they just hate white people because they are white. It’s sad. Hate the white people who TRULY hate black people. That is NOT every white person.

Maybe they just really don’t trust white people. And it comes from how they are taught by their parents and grandparents, who grew up not trusting white people. And anybody can be easily persuaded by words from loved ones. To add, who can blame black people for not trusting white people? You just can’t tell the good ones from the bad. Still, you can’t go wrong by getting to know someone first and finding what they are about. I’m not saying become best friends, but see what people are about by observing. Sitting back, and watching.

And goodness, why kill your own race with guns and violence and ruin your own neighborhoods? Soon you’re going to kill so many black people, the only people around will be white people (over-exaggeration). Why? You make yourself look dumb because in one breath you say that you hate white people because they treated blacks wrong, but the same people who cried that they hated white people, killed other black people. Contradictory, much? You’re leaving black people into the minority category by killing them off! By robbing and stealing from other black people, you are taking from other black people who are struggling. This happened to me in my neighborhood. I was robbed by OTHER black people. Not a white person, a BLACK person. If #BlackLivesMatter, why didn’t MY life matter in the eyes of this other black person?

And no, it’s not ALL BLACK PEOPLE, as I said before, but it must be a vast majority, because when a group of black people come together, our communities become destroyed.

I will say this: The black race is a powerful race. The darker colors are associated with “Scorpio” or “The sign of power”. With that being said, power is a black man’s tool, and its use or abuse will prove the black man’s worth.

Black people can use their power for good, just as they did in the past when they built the city of Tulsa, or marched for Civil Rights for all Americans, or just as they came together to vote for the first black president. Even in the way they support their music artists and actors and actresses, like for movies like Dreamgirls and Tyler Perry movies, or singers like Michael Jackson, James Brown, and Beyonce. Most of the biggest talents have been supported, sponsored, or produced through some very successful black people. If you are working with a black person, like Justin Bieber is working with Usher, black people will support you, and you are bound to be famous. If anyone wants to get famous, find a black person. Disney really became the icon for teen shows especially when That’s So Raven came out and she started the children’s sitcom trend that continues today.

But when they use their power for bad, woe is the person who is around them, because it can bring devastating and disastrous results.

I conclude this by saying that people of Generation Scorpio may really admire black people and their way of gaining power. But there is a warning for all people of all ethnic backgrounds: Learn to direct your power so that you can benefit everyone and help EVERYONE elevate, not just you, or your mother, or your grandmother, or your best friend, or your “kind”. Until people learn to do that, there will always be problems in the United States of America and in the black community.

Generation Next: Do you remember the late 90s, Y2K?

5 Jul

Anyone who grew up in Generation Next probably remembers the following between 1995-2003:

Pop culture……We are generation “Scorpio” which also defines our generation. All we care about is sex, violence, and power. Our generation is marked by everything dark and mysterious…we hate superficiality and anything “cheerful”…anything mystical, psychic, and occult. We transformed ideas of tranformation, lost the adult “rites of passage” other generations before us had, and are the only generation who can’t find jobs in the recession, still living with parents well into our twenties, and take a while to get married, if at all. But we still find ways to rebel against society, use the internet as our way of gaining social power, and stick to ourselves in our secretive and mistrustful minds. We are also quite an emotional generation….dangerously emotional.

Television

Anyone who is anybody can’t forget the grand children Networks of Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and Disney Channel. Rugrats and ALL That defined Nick, until the Rugrats grew up and Kenan and Kel left All That and so did Nick Cannon, and Cartoon Cartoon Fridays, Toonami, Ed Edd and Eddy, and Powerpuff Girls defined Cartoon Network. But MTV was infested with a bunch of teeny boppers who began filling the channel with their pop videos. At least we still had Michael Jackson… VH1 was filled with oldies. And BET actually had funny comedians on Comic View and showed black movies and shows. Let’s not forget Nick Jr. owned Blues Clues, Face, and Little Bill, while Playhouse Disney had Little Mermaid and Madeline…they even used to show Timon and Pumba, Arabian Nights, and other “Disney-like shows”. Back then, cable was just becoming the “It” thing. I still remember My Brother and Me and Clarissa Explains It All, Sabrina the Teenage witch. Fox and ABC were big back then, UPN too…Sister, Sister, Smart Guy, which also came on Disney Channel along with Boy Meets World, Growing Pains, and Brotherly Love…with those Lawrence Brothers that everyone loved. Disney even had shows like the Famous Jett Jackson, So Weird, and The Jersey. Courage the Cowardly Dog was like So Weird…except weirder…Scooby-Doo was still big. We liked a lot of mysteries like Shelby Woo and the occult like So Weird and Goosbumps….we also loved Power Rangers and Anime as kids. Barney was even in our slot time, though I always preferred Kid Songs….and Zoom, the new version. Aurthur was our show too! And even Sesame Street, especially Elmo’s World. And we weren’t too far from old classic cartoons from Tex Avery, Toonheads like Bugs Bunny, and even some Animaniacs….best time for television. In later years, we supported shows like Lizzie Maguire, the first tween show to make over a million viewers, and That’s So Raven which was the first longest running show on Disney Channel. We loved Lindsey Lohan…until she got cracked up.

Remember tha babies who could talk?

What a creative show! Back when Klasky was running things: Rugrats!

The Simpsons, South Park, 90210, Living Single, Baywatch, X-Files, Law and Order, and other nighttime television. Not to mention, watching the Bulls game was far more entertaining than it is now.

Technology

Computer was just becoming a part of the home, and laptops was spreading jobs across the nation. And everyone used to chat on AOL…it used to talk back and say “You’ve got Mail” which used to be so cool. Of course, I was always on yahoo…..Then MP3s came out, though you could only play one song at the time. CDs were still pretty big. Downloading became big like two years after 2000. But people still bought CDs, and everyone had a CD player with big headphones….The DVD player was it, but then everyone found out Playstation 2 could play DVDs and it was done. Playstation 2 was like the biggest thing, though Dreamcast and Gamecube also marked the generation. Of course, realistic graphics were the biggest thing back then. LOL Remember Street Fighter, Tekken, Final Fantasy? And NBA Live was regular too.

Playstation, remember? LOL

Literature

It varied, actually towards the end, kids stopped reading and started again. Babysitters’ Club, Sweet Valley, and American Girl marked the generation. For boys it was between How to Eat Fried Worms, There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom, Help! I’m trapped in Obedient School Again, Anamorphs, and Goooooosssbumpsss!!!! Who doesn’t remember Goosbumps? That was like the biggest thing. Then Harry Potter came out like in 1999 or before, and that took over. A Series of Unfortunate Events was big too. And Pirates of the Caribbean marked the later generation.

GOOOOSSSEEEBUMMMPSS!

Music

It sucked balls. Pop idols like Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls took over the industry. Who can forget the Hansen brothers? Pure lamety. Then here came Britney, the first teen solo act, and she influenced the whole world to come out with pop imitations. Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, Mandy Moore who dyed her hair for the “occasion”, and all of these pop groups like Dream and Play, and just too many pop artists to count. And then the boy Britney Spears came out, Aaron Carter. Even black people changed genres like After Dark and Blaque…TLC was the biggest group…until, well you know. It was back when Jesse McCartney was part of the group Dreamstreet. Hoku and Myra marked Disney and Nick movies for their contributions, and Baha Men music swept the world by storm. Then in 2001, it seemed Dark Child took over everything, and so did 50 cent…later Avril Lavigne stole Britney’s shine in the early Y2K years. Then all these poprock artists came out of the closet, of course singers like Michelle Branch, Lindsay Pagano, Vanessa…can’t remember the rest of her name, and even Pink came out of the closet with her “real self”. Evanescence also dominated the industry. Metallic and Coldplay were even at their peek. All the most hard-core music marked our generation….along with the most giddy… If only Panic! At the Disco had been around….

Britney Spears when she was a little innocent...only a little...

The wildest group around! Spice Girls!

Original famous style! Avril Lavigne!

50 Cent back in 2003...

Fashion

I remember overalls….which no one wears anymore. Jordans were popular too…Capri pants were the “it” thing…and for some reason…ponchos….baggy pants, bandannas and scarves, and surfer boy hair cuts. Jean jackets and Timbaland boots were in too. That’s what Spongbob used to remind me of back in 2002, his debut…a surfer, valley dude, which those bleached-blond idiots were the “it” thing. Now, Spongebob is just a geeky idiot…Ponytails, and scrunchies were popular. Lip gloss had just become a big thing. Belly tops were “oh-so revealing” but not compared to now…especially if you consider Gaga’s “no pants rule”. Skorts were popular, and no one wear those either. Numbered tees, like with “57” or “23” and words all over the pants. And because of 9/11, everyone was wearing red, white, and blue. Feathery and hot looking jackets marked later generations. Like this:

Jackets of early Y2K...

jacket

And these checkered and worded jeans:

checkered pants?

Backstreet Boys look...LOL

Words and Sayings

The words and sayings that came back were “Cool” and “Awesome”, but we also added “Totally hot” and “bogus” and “wack” and “corny” and “lame” and who can forget “psyche”. “Wicked Cool” and other sayings that are too funny to repeat. “For shizzle my nizzle” was popular too, and you could add of “izzles” if you liked. And” then “it’s off the heezy for sheezy. “Da Bomb” was it too. And “Bad” or “Sharp” was in too. “Totally Rad” was in too. LOL This is funny.

This is really a walk down memory lane…

I feel sorry for this generation. Sorry later generation, you missed out on the best age to be a kid. Your Television Network producers have gotten so stupid they can’t even read their own network titles. Instead they show everything but music on MTV and live actions on Cartoon Network. Not to mention, the face of Disney is no longer Mickey, but Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus….

No one uses their voices in music anymore, it’s now been replaced by cheap equipments that electronically “disguises” real voices.

Glad I grew up in Generation Next.

Movies

Movies ranged between Sixth Sense, Scissors hands, well really anything with Winona Ryder and Johnny Depp. Matrix marked the 21st Century. We also had “Ritchie Rich”, remember the little blond boy from Home Alone? And let’s not forget the Disney movies. The best movies in the 90s were the Disney movies, hands down, like Lion King, Huntchback of Notre Dame, and Beauty and the Beast. Of course, there were some pretty good thrillers here and there, and other children’s movies like Little Rascals which had Mary-Kate and Ashley, America’s Twins. Also, Dennis the Menace. Remember Free Willy? LOL That movie still makes me laugh. Childrens’ movies had reach their peak in the 90s. The first child actor won an acting award, Haley Joel Osment, and you used to see him everywhere before his sister went all “Hannah Montana”…though he still acts as Sora on Kingdom Hearts, which is all I care about.

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