Archive for the ‘American Society’ Category

Becoming Joey

I was reading today and came across a poem that really caught my attention. I thought it was worth sharing since I’ve been on my writing so much about diversity this week…

Becoming Joey
By Paul. C Gorski

Jose’s ten.
Looks six by size,
twenty in the eyes.

Down
the school-morning street
he ambles along
dotted lines of busses and cars
that spit exhaust like expletives,
disturbing his meditation
on a few final moments of peace.

He is frail but upright.
Hand-me-downs hang from his slenderness,
patched and stained.
Soles flop beneath battered shoes,
worn through but hanging on,
if only by lace.

He pauses in the schoolyard
where white kids laugh and scurry
unaware of this, his battle;
of this, his burden; of this, his borderlands.
Behind him; cracked sidewalks
and frosty nights
sweetened by the warmth of belonging.
Before him: manicured playgrounds,
heated classrooms,
and enthusiastic lessons about a world
that doesn’t see him.

Still he moves forward,
what feels in his stomach
A regressive sort of forward.
And he straightens his shirt,
tries dusting off the stains of ancestry.
And he clears his throat,
tries spitting out his Mexican voice.
And, becoming Joey, he crosses into school.

 

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Teenage Gays Epidemic

Bullying is hardcore right now, as we have all heard about the recent increase in teenage suicide related to school bullying. What’s really sad is that a freaking lot of these teenage suicides are related to gays. (Five gay teenagers just committed suicide this past week.) Right now dealing with homosexual harassment and prejudice is the number one cause of teenage suicides. One national survey found that 90% of high school gay students were verbally attacked, and more than 40% of  homosexual students reported physical harassment. And a sad 60% said they don’t feel safe at school. It’s no surprise that lesbian, gay, bi and transgender students have higher rates of depression, drug abuse and (considerably higher-4x higher in) suicide. And this isn’t just about suicide…the hate, fear and intolerance in the country right now is almost, in a way equally as bad. There are people murdering other people for being gay, and families abandoning their own children because they don’t know what to do with a gay child. Seriously people. Life is too short and too precious to be hating and ruining the lives of others.

There definitely needs to be a change. It’s funny (not really haha funny, but coincidental) that I wrote my blog yesterday on prejudice and reteaching of acceptance and then today was bombarded with media on gay suicides/murders. This is exactly why we need to reconstruct our society on dealing with and accepting people’s differences. Poor kids.  It’s bad enough trying to figure out who you are, and then being treated badly because of your differences…sad, sad, sad.

I’d love to write more but no time! Too much homework…Please watch the media here, and anything else out there. There’s so much coverage on this topic right now.

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) Youth Support Line
1-800-850-8078
Gay & Transgender Hate Crime Hotline
1-800-616-HATE
Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender National Help Center
Article on recent 5 gay teen suicides
The Trevor Project
A suicide letter from a gay teen
Suicide.org; Prevention, Awareness and Support


America’s Children Potential

My number one reason why I want to be a teacher is because I love kids. Absolutely, genuinely, whole heartedly love them. But there are other reasons of course. One major one is that I believe in order to produce education that is going to contribute to our society and democracy later, we must teach tolerance, love, and cultural acceptance at a young age. Intolerance and fear iswhat caused our country set backs in the past that are unfortunately still here today.

Instead of Anglo Saxon Americans just admitting that they had superior power in the past over the Black Americans for example, we had to make evidence up that we were a superior race. (Anglos’ skulls measured larger than blacks…must mean they are dumber? Come on. Race is completely man made.) All of a sudden the belief was that Blacks were an inferior race, therefore that was reason to enslave them. We couldn’t just admit that we had power, authority and the need for human labor…we had to make them lower than us. So what happened then after the slaves were free? Prejudice. Then it didn’t stop at Blacks; Americans wanted to assimilate and conform the Natives who were “savages,” then we put a ban on Asian immigrants because they were inferior. This prejudice applies to everything…or I should say, everyone. Some how we have become a country that believes one can be superior than another. Straights are better than gays. Men are better than women. The rich are better than the poor.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am so not bashing America. I love my country. We are a country that has good, very good, intentions. We promote freedom and have given everyone in the world the opportunity to pursue their dreams. We have so much to offer and we contribute to the rest of the world. I am a proud American, but that doesn’t change the past. The past is something to be shameful about, however we cannot undue the past…just move ahead and do better for the future.

Because of our past, our present is filled with prejudice, racism, intolerance, inequality, hate, and fear. This is no way for our children to grow up. It’s in our hands to fix the future. This doesn’t just apply to teachers, but to everyone…aunts, uncles, moms, dads, grandparents…we need to teach the kids of today to grow up open minded, tolerant, loving and compassionate.

Why? Why not? Children are constantly teased for being different, whether it is of their race, ethnicity, culture, weight, height, voice, opinions, dress, sexual orientation, social class…the list goes on and on. Why not stop the teasing in it’s tracks? Kids will be kids and teasing will never die, but could we at least try to teach our kids the concept of acceptance? Some people may say this is just a right of passage and that all children go through it however, there are teenagers committing suicide daily because of bullying, fear, depression from societal expectations, and rejection from peers.

I hope being an educator I can promote a classroom that is safe, loving, and open minded where I can have my students appreciate each other and welcome each other’s differences. I just wish these teachings and attitudes could go further than the classroom and reach the streets, homes, and lives of all children.

Veggies Can Feed the World

One of the most depressing things to me is waste. I’m a huge advocate of recycling, reusing, and leftovers. I don’t like seeing things wasted, ever. Although I am liberal in almost all parts of my life, I am very conservative with my money-which also aids me in my ability to never waste. I don’t like to see unused water go down the drain, food go uneaten, jars in the garbage, paper not being reused, etc. So of course it kills me that we are a country of completeexcess and waste. We have more than we could ever need or want, yet we want more, need more, and certainly waste a whole lot more. While we waste there are other places in our world that do not even have enough of what they need, and never see what they want. It depresses me all the time. Especially when I think of my parents who didn’t grow up in America, in particular my dad, who never owned a pair of shoes in his youth or tasted dessert. One of the reasons why I am a vegetarian is because I think its one step closer to solving world hunger. Yes, I am aware I myself am not changing the world, but I like to think that the more of us that become vegetarians, the more our country can start growing crops for the right reason, like feeding people. Jim Motavelli from The Environmental Magazine  has said, “The 4.8 pounds of grain fed to cattle to produce one pound of beef for human beings represents a colossal waste of resources in a world still teeming with people who suffer from profound hunger and malnutrition.” Now take a look at these horrific numbers that I found the other day from Diet for a New America, by John Robins.

• Human population of United States: 270,000,000 (and counting)

• Number of human beings who could be fed by the grain and soybeans eaten by U.S. livestock: 1,300,000,000

• Percentage of corn grown in United States eaten by human beings: 20%

• Percentage of corn grown in United States eaten by livestock: 80%

• How frequently a child dies of starvation: Every 2.3 seconds

• Pounds of potatoes that can be grown on 1 acre of land: 20,000

• Pounds of beef that can be produced on 1 acre of land: 165

• Percentage of U.S. agricultural land used to produce beef: 56

• Number of children who starve to death every day: 38,000

• Number of people who could be adequately fed if Americans reduced their intake of meat by 10%: 100,000,000

• Amount of meat eaten by average person in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and Panama: Less than the average American house cat

• Water needed to produce 1 pound of wheat: 25 gallons

• Water needed to produce 1 pound of meat: 2,500

Seriously. These numbers depress me! We are stuffing our faces, overeating meat that will give us cancer and other health issues while there are others who do not have enough to eat at all.

Another thing I want to touch on is that I know a lot of people will read these numbers and go “Okay, I kind of see the connection. But there’s no proof that meat is really a reason why people are starving.” Well, I would consider that, since I’m open minded, but the facts are hard to ignore. Jeremy Rifkin, president of the Foundation on Economic Trends in Washington, DC, stated that during the Ethiopian famine in 1984, “While people starved, Ethiopia was growing linseed cake, cottonseed cake and rapeseed meal for European livestock. Millions of acres of land in the developing world are used for this purpose. Tragically, 80 percent of the world’s hungry children live in countries with food surpluses which are fed to animals for consumption by the affluent.”

And to see that everyone could eat if we all gave up meat, or at least consumed less of it, is sad because not enough people will give up meat. Why have we become so meat obsessed? Like Steve Spielberg has said “Humans are the only race that hunts when not hungry.” So wasteful, it makes me want to cry. Especially since we are doing something so greedy, so wasteful, so unhealthy and hurting animals in the process. And I am no animal person, and many people aren’t…however I don’t know too many people who would turn their backs on a hungry child. So why don’t we all do our part and reduce our meat intake and help feed the rest of the world? I’ve already talked about it over and over…going veggie for your health, for the animals, the environment…but if you don’t care about any of those, can you at least do it for the people out there who are going to go to bed hungry tonight?

Peace.