Archive | January, 2013

Racism: 101- Part 2

6 Jan

So, do we have a new race?

Sometimes there are some things that we need to STOP teaching our kids and racism is one of them.

Here is what we should be teaching them: (With a little help from Wikipedia)

anatomically modern-appearing humans originated in Africa about 200,000 years ago, reaching full behavioral modernity around 50,000 years ago.

Humans have a highly developed brain, capable of abstract reasoning, language, introspection, and problem solving. Other higher-level thought processes of humans, such as self-awareness, rationality, and sapience, are considered to be defining features of what constitutes a “person”.

Like most higher primates, humans are social animals. However, humans are uniquely adept at utilizing systems of communication for self-expression, the exchange of ideas, and organization.

Humans create complex social structures composed of many cooperating and competing groups, from families to nations. Social interactions between humans have established an extremely wide variety of values, social norms, and rituals, which together form the basis of human society.

With individuals widespread in every continent except Antarctica, humans are a cosmopolitan species. As of January 2013 the population of humans was estimated to be a little over 7 billion.

Humans are noted for their desire to understand and influence their environment, seeking to explain and manipulate phenomena through science, philosophy, mythology, and religion. This natural curiosity has led to the development of advanced tools and skills, which are passed down culturally; humans are the only species known to build fires, cook their food, clothe themselves, and use numerous other technologies

The hue of human skin and hair is determined by the presence of pigments called melanins. Human skin hues can range from very dark brown to very pale pink. Human hair ranges from white to brown to red to most commonly black. This depends on the amount of melanin (an effective sun blocking pigment) in the skin and hair.

Most researchers believe that skin darkening was an adaptation that evolved as a protection against ultraviolet solar radiation. However, more recently it has been argued that particular skin colors are an adaptation to balance folate, (a B vitamin) which is destroyed by ultraviolet radiation, and vitamin D, which requires sunlight to form.

The skin pigmentation of contemporary humans is geographically stratified, and in general correlates with the level of ultraviolet radiation. Human skin also has a capacity to darken (sun tanning) in response to exposure to ultraviolet radiation

Put succinctly human beings are creatures all of one species whose skin comes in a few colors of which there are many shades depending upon their prolonged relationship with the sun. (and with each other I might add)

They also can think, socialize and create, sometimes unfortunately and with great misfortune, to their own detriment. And that, like it or not, is about as different as we get!

Racism 101:

5 Jan

Racism 101: Are Hispanics: The New Race?

One day in class a young African American student raised his hand and asked a question.

“Mr. Picone, I just don’t understand it. Why are white people afraid of me?”

“What do you mean?” I said.

“Wherever I go, whenever I see a white person or they see me, they always look scared and afraid. I don’t get it. What did I do?”

One of the things that can make being a teacher so difficult is that we don’t always have the answers to questions that students ask, even though we want to have those answers. It’s been over 30 years now and I still don’t have the answer to that students question…and I still wish I did.

Teachers know that when it comes to life, there is always more to learn and perhaps one of the most confusing and complicated problems in the public schools involves learning what to do about the complicated problem of racial inequality and injustice that is still plaguing our society today…and yes, it still is a plague on our society.

And just when you think that the question of racism in the public schools couldn’t get more complicated a new race comes to town! Now the question is are Hispanics white or black?… and who cares? Are racists simply people who believe in races? After all what does the division of people into “races” really mean? Aren’t people just people after all? Your nose belongs where mine does, right in the middle of my face! Eyes, heart, liver, lungs, legs toes, you name it and we’ve all got one…same number of bones and muscles too and all in the same places on our bodies and all interchangeable! Even our blood! In fact the only thing that really separates us is our blood type and the only thing that can really identify us, one from the other, is our DNA. Isn’t everything else really all just about looks? What races would exist in a land where no one had eyes?

What we have learned in the public schools is that when young children first go to a school with a culturally diverse population they may first notice that there are different skin colors and different faces but as they interact they quickly understand that kids are kids. Pre school and kindergarten teachers know this also. There’s no “race” of children who know how to share or play fair or smile or make friends better than any other children. They all have to learn the basics of how to interact and get along with one another, just like everyone else.

So my question is: with all that children need to learn and with all that adults need to teach, then why do we still insist on teaching them about races and differences when we should be concentrating on our sameness and shared needs and shared interests? Over my 33 years in teaching I have had many Hispanic students tell me that they don’t consider themselves “white” because their white friends aren’t being profiled and asked for identification papers and threatened with deportation, and they don’t consider themselves “black” because their black friends aren’t being profiled ID’d and threatened with deportation and they don’t consider themselves Asians because (you can see where I’m going, right?)

So, do we have a new race?

Trickle Down Downer?

4 Jan

Legislation passed by the Senate on Tuesday night as part of the effort to avoid the dreaded “fiscal cliff” will limit the amount wealthy people can claim for charitable deductions on their taxes. The cap will apply only to individuals who make 250 thousand dollars or more and married couples making $300,000 or more, and It could save the government up to 50 billion dollars in tax breaks.

And now in response rich folks are apparently up in arms claiming that if they can’t deduct all of their charitable gifts they may not be so charitable in the future. Ari Fleischer, a former White House press secretary under President George W. Bush, tweeted: “This deal limits my deductions so I, & many others, will likely donate less in 2013.”

So why give if the giving can’t get you something good? That’s the exact opposite of what it means to be charitable isn’t it?

And According to Philanthropy News Digest, the new cap on tax deductions could potentially deter giving by anywhere from 0.4 percent to 2.3 percent –- up to $7 billion a year.

So 2013 may finally see revealed the answer to whether or not the trickle down theory of economics really is just economic theory or indeed economic fact.

Will the rich be truly generous enough to keep trickling on the poor…or will it all Depend?

Rock Me Like a Hurricane

3 Jan

I still must insist that we stop naming hurricanes after women or men with normal and harmless sounding names and if we can’t use horrible sounding adjectives or common expletives then we must name these terribly destructive storms after familiar people with whom we recognize and associate infamous deeds, especially in light of the recent news that Congress will be taking its own sweet time in deciding whether or not relief in the form of economic aid will be coming to the Northeast.

Naming a storm Sandy or Betsy or Fred just doesn’t cut it when trying to describe the devastation left in its wake or the homes and lives and livelihoods destroyed by its wrath.

“Congress can’t decide whether to give aid to victims of Sandy”, sounds like a bad date gone wrong rather than a mega-storm of death and destruction.

If we could say that “Congress refuses to vote on aid to victims of Attila the Hun!” that certainly might carry more weight don’t you think? I seriously doubt that any Congressman would want to be remembered as the lawmaker who vacillated over voting for relief to victims of Hurricanes Hitler, Judas, Cain, Vlad the Impaler, Jack the Ripper, Saddam Hussein or (if we must insist using women’s names) even Lizzy Borden.

For goodness sakes, even being able to say something like, ” You should have been there when Hurricane Lindsey Lohan tore up the boardwalks and laid waste to the Jersey Shore! It was horrible!”  At least that might paint the proper picture of destruction in the minds of Congressmen who are less in tune to the suffering of their everyday average constituents while being more familiar with pop cultural references and internet trivia.

Or Maybe from here on out we should all just agree to only name hurricanes after Congressmen. Then at least we common folk will know exactly and without any doubt what we’ve got coming…

GRACEFIFTEENTEN

Unleashing the beauty of creativity

mvschulze

Stream of Thought observations, images, and more

SARAH THE GARDENER

Real Gardening in my Real Garden

My Life As A Wife

Have I Lost My Mind?

Amber Evergreen

Elite Submissive Companion in Scotland

When Life Hands You Lemons...

Figuring life out, one post at a time.

Mono Girl

Life Beyond Tired

Pen of Contention

Giving ink to life's little annoyances...

Budget Abode

home is where the heart is, but it doesn't have to break the budget. Here's to pinching pennies and DIY-ing our way to a happy home (and heavy wallet).

Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Travel the world, one trip at a time

The Floating Thoughts

thoughts of yours & thoughts of ours...would create an unforgettable memoir !!!

Offering CrossFit SEO Services

Relentlessly Pursuing Excellence in CrossFit & In Life

The Mouse's Soapbox

observations from a certain, unique perspective - especially, these days, about dating

dancingnomads

Travelling the world and dancing

ruminationville

a gated community for the overthinker

Southern Georgia Bunny

Adventures of an Southern Bunny everything from dating, sex, life and shake your head moments.

%d bloggers like this: