Monthly Archives: September 2013

Better Food for a Better Life

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      At the beginning of 2012 the Aricultural Department required that schools follow a more strict feeding guideline put in place to aid with the growing health problem children are seeing at younger ages. This program is federally subsidized. Not all schools are agreeing to follow the guidelines. Those in opposition say that they are difficult and expensive to follow. With its main goal being to stem childhood obesity levels. Acoording to the National Health and Nutritional Surveys approximately 7.5 million children between the ages of 6 and 18 are obese. Increases such as these have been apparent across all racial group but are more prominent in a few.
The shools that follow the rules are reimbursed, given federal tax dollars for the free and low cost meals given to low income students. Schools with a smaller population of kids living in pocverty have a better chance of operating outside of programs such as these. A large portion of food officials believe that they face problems putting standards in place which is closely associated with food costs and availability, time required to train employees to follow the new guidelines and lack of proper equipment to prepare the healthier meals.
Rather than just solely depend on programs such as these to guide adolescents to healthier lifestyles I feel like an emphasis can be put on exercise. In all grade levels kids are required to be active in an athletic class if not and actual team of some sort. The curriculums that are set in place can also be altered to make it more rigorous and affective to those participating.

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Malcolm X Message to Grassroots

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“We want to have just an off-the-cuff chat between you and me — us. We want to talk right down to earth in a language that everybody here can easily understand. We all agree tonight, all of the speakers have agreed, that America has a very serious problem. Not only does America have a very serious problem, but our people have a very serious problem. America’s problem is us. We’re her problem. The only reason she has a problem is she doesn’t want us here. And every time you look at yourself, be you black, brown, red, or yellow — a so-called Negro — you represent a person who poses such a serious problem for America because you’re not wanted. Once you face this as a fact, then you can start plotting a course that will make you appear intelligent, instead of unintelligent.

What you and I need to do is learn to forget our differences. When we come together, we don’t come together as Baptists or Methodists. You don’t catch hell ’cause you’re a Baptist, and you don’t catch hell ’cause you’re a Methodist. You don’t catch hell ’cause you’re a Methodist or Baptist. You don’t catch hell because you’re a Democrat or a Republican. You don’t catch hell because you’re a Mason or an Elk. And you sure don’t catch hell ’cause you’re an American; ’cause if you was an American, you wouldn’t catch no hell. You catch hell ’cause you’re a black man. You catch hell, all of uscatch hell, for the same reason”

Message to Grassroots is a very interesting speech given by the one and only.Malcolm X. This speech was given during a crucuial time for African Americans. Civil Rights were being fought for and at this point in time there were two ways to fight for your rights. It was either through non-violent marches or retaliating. Malcolm X felt like African Americans had gotten beat down enough and it was time to retaliate and fight back. The speech grassroots was a wake up call to his people. Letting all the Blacks know that they must fight and realize who the common enenmy truely is. He made statements that the Europeans dont dislike you based upon your religion or even you social status but your skin color.

Although times are different and racism has slowed down tremendously , this is still an imporntant piece. I feel like African Americans still need to wake up and realize that anyone of their skin color shouldnt be their enemy. African Americans should realize we need unity and we need to stop killing or looking down on our own.

 

African American Women and Their Awareness of HIV/ AIDS

“I’m HIV positive.” This is the first line of many HIV/AIDs commercials, and this line is normally spoken by an African American women. Unfortunally, African American women are the faces of HIV/AIDS, because they are the ones who are increasingly being diagnosed with the disease. This is because the women of African American decent are not being properly educated at a younger age on how to protect themselves from STDS and or HIV/AIDS. However, this is not solely their fault. It has a lot to do their ethnics, the community in which they have grown up in, and the lack of education that has been bestowed on the African American race as a whole. African American women are more likely to contract the HIV virus because the knowledge of it is very limited. They are unaware of the risks of this disease; therefore they do not take the precautions needed to be HIV free. If more time was taking to educate African American women at a younger age, then HIV rates would be an extremely lower rate in the African American community.

Many African American women are being diagnosed with the deadly HIV/Aids virus everyday. Needless to say, it is easy for any race to contract it, but for African American women, the rate in which they are being diagnosed is higher rate. This is because the knowledge that is being ascertained by these women is not nearly enough to assist them in protecting themselves to the best of their ability. HIV is not something that has just started to take toile on African American women, for the past couple of centuries HIV has been a growing epidemic. According to an HIV/AIDS fact sheet, “most women with an AIDS diagnosis were diagnosed between the ages of 25 and 44(71%), indicating that many were likely infected at a relatively young age.” (Kaiser) This information shows that not only are women unaware to the fact that they carry this disease for years before they actually know they are infected but the age of infection is so tender that they have not a clue as to what to do to prevent it, which is unremarkably sad because this means they are having sex before an appropriate age and doing it unsafely. Since the diseases are being contracted at an younger age, there should be programs in school which insure that younger African American woman are educated on how to protect themselves. Unfortuanlly, there is not an outstanding problem such as sex education in many African American elementary and high schools, teenage African American females are left to live off instinct and some times slip up without using condoms.  The HIV/AIDS virus is seriously taking over the African American Female youth. According to an article sub-titled Young African American Women suffer a Disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS, “in 2003, black teens (ages 13 through 19) comprised 66% of aids cases among women in 2003…” (Advocates for youth) this shows how at very young ages, black women are starting to contract HIV.

What do you think?

 

Assata Shakur

“People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave” (Shakur). The strength of these words penetrate deeper and grow with more effect every time they are read. Not only does it explain the commonality between the majority of African American race, but it also resonates as a weakness, and the very reason African Americans continue to struggle to ascend in society. The woman who wrote these words, Assata Shakur, is a phenomenal woman because she chose not to let this commonality become an opiate, but instead take action.

Assata Shakur was born Joanna Chesimard on July 16, 1947. Her family was working class and taught her to love herself and to fight against injustice. At a very early age she began to protest and joined the Black Panther movement soon after high school. In Assata Shakur: The Autobiography, Shakur speaks on her wrongful imprisonment, the country’s attempt to oppress African Americans, her pregnancy while in jail, and much more. The book also brings a sort of humor to the stupidity and pointlessness of racism.

This book was an amazing read for me. It was full of emotion and real life experiences that I felt approximaty to, being an African American woman. The hardships that she endured were very inspiring and her words helped the reader feel as though they were in the room with her. Undoubtedly, she is one of the strongest women that I have read about, and I plan to pass the knowledge that I’’ve read in this book on to my piers.

are standardized test fair?

Standardize testing is used to make sure that every child is being educated properly and is on track with their states education system. These test hold material that are “suppose” to be fundamental rules. I personally do not believe that standardized testing is a good method because it test every child based on what they “should” know when every child learns differently and every schooling enviroment is different.

 Some children attend good schools where the things that are on these test are usually taught in nice enviroment. Some children attend schools where the enviroment isn’t very pleasent and they have to constantly defend themselves. Some children come from homes were they can their education seriously because they from a home with few problems. Some children come from homes where they can’t take school seriously because they have issues going on at home, these students often times have many absencses. I’m providing these examples to say that not every situation is the same so how can a test on standard material give background on students that live in a not so standard world.

 I personally found standardize tests not to be very difficult because i was able to focus on my education. I usually scored the average score that most students in the state or country had and i was considered a smart student. Other students didn’t fair so well because they had many issues going on at home.

 I feel that standardized test should be removed and students should be given test made for the area they live in.

For lack of a better title: Depression in Students

Results from research performed by Sultan Qaboos University Clinic showed that of 133 students or 27.7% of the participants, 66 males and 67 females with an average age of 20 years and within their first 3 years of academic life, had depression of various grades based on the PHQ-9 diagnostic criteria.The focus of the research showed that emotional disorders among students had adverse effects on the student’s functioning vital to not only their academic performance, but their social development as well.

Students often become overwhelmed with the transitional period of moving away from their family, home, and all familiarity. Disrupting one’s comfort zone in which they were traditionally under the protection and social support of family and long term friends. Some students deal with financial worries for the first time in their lives. These sudden dramatic differences have been recognized as a catalyst for developing depression. Up to 60% of university students left their university without finishing their studies due to inability to manage psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety and maladjustment.

Understanding factors inhibiting academic achievement is critical in order to support such vulnerable students from imploding and becoming a victim of emotional distress. What can we do to prevent decreasing productivity? How can we make them aware and ask for help? From my view, fear belongs to my generation. It’s become socially unacceptable to “have something”, whether it be a common STI, HIV, or in this case a psychological disorder, young adults are no longer interested in “finding out”. Studies have been shown that 12.6% of the people that choose to get tested for HIV never return for their test results and an additional 34% never return for treatment.  The encouragement of young adults to get tested and educate themselves commercialized several years ago and has only just begun to make a dent over the social influence of our peers. If we cannot give our peers the courage to be evaluated, then how will they ever be treated? I believe it’s due to fear of social exile. Somehow we need to find a way to reach out to our peers and let them know that they have our support, not our judgement.

Prejudice & the Bar

There continues to be a great deal of racial, socioeconomic and gender based inequality in today’s society. After working in an environment which put me in a situation in which I saw greater prejudices based on gender and socioeconomic than on simple race. In the six months I worked at the bar is shown a deeper more complex prejudice which was not as static as most prejudice is usually depicted. It focused more on a hierarchy of the male dominated field of bar work where women are routinely objectified, even when in managerial positions, as well as the blinding effect prejudice has on taking responsibility of ones actions. Presently, we are reminded that there is an upper echelon of wealthy predominately white business owners that could care less about the lower classes. What we sometimes forget is that this upper class disdain is not only rooted in a need, rather a want, to keep the social divide, but also a deep rooted thought that lower economic classes, as well as women are unable to live up to the potential of the higher economic class.

The problem that arises in this prejudice is twofold; firstly, when the prejudice is not localized to bar patrons, whose objectification can be attributed to, at least partially inebriation, but is also shared by the owner of the bar, secondly, when the prejudiced view of the owner is not only targeted at the servers but at all women including ones in managerial positions. Even though both of these are wrong, the latter leads to greater problems, since not only was this manager in charge of the servers, she was in charge of special events. When respect isn’t given to employees, especially those in management positions, they are rarely given the tools they need to perform their job to the best of their ability. One such example is the constant turnover of servers because of the owner treating the servers as goods for him and his friends to look at and fawn over, instead of employees. Because of this there was a constant revolving door of servers who were not prepared or experienced enough to be put in some of the jobs that they were. In one particular instance a server, comes into work on a Friday night. She was not ready for a regular Friday night and subsequently walked out in the middle of the shift. Even though she was forced to hire her and further forced to give her a full shift on one of the busiest nights of the week, she was blamed for the employee leaving.

From working at the bar for the amount of time I did it became apparent to me that there are cases in society that no matter the amount of work you put in your worth is predetermined by factors you have no control over. After visiting the bar again recently I also learned that situations like this are not conducive to long term employment. That was a learning experience for two reasons; firstly as an employee seeing two managers that I respected greatly and knowing their own situations with a certain degree of understanding, I learned that in these cases the prejudice is in no way worth the trouble, secondly as a future employer I learned that a healthy work environment will assure you of a comfortably and profitable staff as well as a loyal staff. Even though we all worked for him and worked our hardest, we felt no sense of loyalty or camaraderie with the owner on the contrary we held nothing but contempt for him, because of this we did not go out of our way to protect his investment or increase his profitability.

 

STEP-parenting dos and don’t s

Last Monday I had a conversation with a good friend  of mine, he  had asked me when does he think I will ever be ready to settle down and have kids! To be completely honest with you I don’t really know when I’ll ever be ready to have kids but if had to give an answer I would say 25 years old (23 , at the earliest). We then went on to discuss parenting skills and how we will think ourselves and our significant other or baby mama/ baby daddy would be! Personally I would hope in my near future I am having  a child  or  children with my husband! In the case of  it not working out and I do find someone else to share my life or time with I would have to let them know that  my kids have me to discipline them. Now if my childrens father decides to get a girlfriend in his life I would pull her to the side  or take her out to eat and explain to her woman to woman, Look my kids have ONE mother the whole calling you mom also is not going to fly its either Ms.Whatever or Whatever her name is! Also my kids have a mother and father to discipline them so I should never hear about you EVER putting your hands on my children because the consequences and repercussion to that of which you putting your hands on my child will result into something that does need to be started.  I also understand that it may seem like myself and (who my childs father is) may not have everything together and you wanna help and add your two cents in, but at the end of the day any discussions made about my children will be made by myself and their father. At the end of the day as long as you respect me and my children we will return it  to you!

Needless to say once my friend and I ended  this conversation he was atonished about my replies.lol

The Object of Caring

After discussing and reading Nel Nodding’s “An Ethnic of Caring” in class,  I began to let her philosophy marinate in my thoughts. As she explained “natural caring” and “ethical caring, ” I reflected on my actions, loved ones, and strangers. I questioned how much natural and ethical caring  I portrayed,  in which left me in a state of confusion and at times, guilt.

As humans, it’s only natural to naturally care about someone or something because they/it aligns with our morals and/or is close to our hearts. Thinking about this formula of life obligations also caused me to think of my loved ones or those I consider friends. Do they naturally care for me, or is it fake?  Do they “love me” because they are labeled as my “friend?” As friends, do we ethically care because it’s the right thing to do?

And the same thing goes for family. Do we naturally care about our family because it comes from the heart? Or do we love them simply because they we have to? I’ll always remember my elders telling me to forgive and reach out to the family members who hurt me. Even at the age of 21, I still can’t grasp my mind around it because it’s illogical. I’m the victim, yet I’m supposed to extend an olive branch because they’re “blood?”  To sum it up, they advised me to be the “bigger person” because it’s the ethically correct.Family is supposed to love  you because you’re related to them, but a lot of times I feel like we confuse this love or caring with it being natural. My elders certainly don’t perceive it this way, but it’s true.  Why are so many families dysfunctional and divided?  Why is that we can go years, even decades without speaking to one another? I just know that the care I would have for my boyfriend would be natural instead of ethical because it just flows. It’s not something forced. Once the chemistry is there, it comes naturally.

So is it wrong to ethically care about your family? That’s up to the individual. As humans , it’s only natural to exude the binary elements of caring, but in return, it keeps us aware. I take it as a forewarning. Be cautious of your loved ones; you can never be so sure that they naturally care about you. A lot of us only care out of obligation.

Why an HBCU?

Why an HBCU? Many people seemed to ask me this question often, especially when I made my decision to come to Dillard University three years ago. For a long time I couldn’t answer that question I use to use the excuse “Dillard give me the most scholarship money” as a response to the question.  The trust was I had no clue why I had picked a Historically Black Colleges and Universities; it wasn’t because I didnt want to be more in touch with my black heritage nor did I pick the University for its Location. The question was still in the air, but this one question stemmed many more.

Why Not an HBCU? Was the question that was brought to mind, figured I need to have to conversation with someone who had went  and graduation from an HBCU to give me a clear piece of mind. I sat down with my older sister and I stated the question “why not an HBCU” she began to talk and she give me many reason why I shouldn’t attend an HBCU from the lack opportunity, to how people will view your degree as being non in void because you didn’t attend a PWI with diversity a place that will give you real like experience as far as your career goes. Before I stated the next question “why an HBCU” she answered it for me saying;  it makes it so much easier for someone to learn when you’re  around people of the same race, it makes you not feel so pressured or like your competing with the entire at your university.

The biggest reason for attending an HBCU is for the heritage as a race my sister stated that lot of people are quick to say that they earned this and that  because they’re  black but they can’t  tell you a piece of their history unless it referring to MLK or Malcolm X. An HBCU is a tool that keeps our black history alive and throbbing it reminds the students at the university why the college came about the importance of our ancestors, and they also showcase the important things that our current generations of African Americans are succeeding  in.

Why an HBCU? The Question is for you to answer!