Racialization and Immigration

“And I slowly begin to see why poverty like love is blind.

Or maybe just colour blind?
A tiny inconvenient truth about labour groups
And the masses of the working classes,
But then again some people say that race doesn’t even exist.
Well tell that to the trees still sore from hanging lynches.
But during this day and age,
We have fresh new waves of semi-paid slaves,
Willing to work for less than our minimal wage
And these foreigners don’t understand these foreign concepts
Thought they were Canadian, but slowly dismissed that nonsense
And I hate to be the one to say it, but, this is it
This is your stinkin’ land of dreams
A place where you can still live 3rd world in a first world country”

     – Boonaa Mohammed

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http://the11thhour.blogspot.ca/2009/10/post-racism-racism.html

This post is a response to the following video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Th04ZQCt5A

 

How long will it be before human beings are treated as equals? How long will it be before human beings are not segregated based on skin colour? At the end of the day, the differences in the colour of our skin, just like the colour of our eyes, the colour of our lips, or even the colour of our clothes, is just a matter of pigmentation. So why is it that in our society White privilege still seems to prevail over anything else?

White privilege is often not seen as such by white people. White privilege is often recognized by ‘visible minorities’ or groups that are not white. White privilege is essentially when upper class white individuals have privileges in society that others may not. These privileges may include accessibility of jobs, accessibility of resources to support the family or yourself, accessibility of political and economical advancements, etc. These things are often more available to white men and women, and are rarely available to anyone else without some type of bargaining or slave-type labour happening to achieve what they want.

Along with ethnic discrimination, there is a further discrimination against immigrants. From the people who have been born and raised in a country, seeing people come in from the outside is often seen as a threat. Residents see immigrants as a threat to their security, a threat to their employment opportunities, a threat to their economy, and essentially a threat to their lives. But why is that? There is a misconception presented by such outlets as the media and political leaders that immigrants are to be a threat. “What [most people] know about war, persecution, and displacement comes mainly through the mass media, and perceptions of refugees… are shaped in large part by the language of journalists and politicians, and the images they create.” (UNHCR, 2012) Residents do not often see the story behind why there are strangers ‘invading’ their land. They are not shown where they come from or what made them need to leave their home country in the first place. They are not told about the abuse stories, the war stories, and so on. What the residents know is that there are these people that are coming in and are different than they are. This causes discrimination and isolation of immigrants, and often these immigrants are forced to return back to a place that is not safe.

Although it has been some time since ethnic equality has been seen as somewhat normal, not everyone understands the ongoing existence of White Privilege. And I suppose that is usually the problem. So many people are ignorant to these dominant hierarchies which causes them to further perpetuate stereotypes and discrimination. So how can we overcome them?

We can begin to overcome this by helping youth to exercise their agency and become active to overcome this for future generations. We can help youth understand a place where things are equal and things are fair, for everyone involved in the situation. If we set an example and start to improve things now, then youth will recognize and be able to apply popular statements like “things get better”. Because they can, and they do. 

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http://aloftyexistence.wordpress.com/2010/11/15/why-i-am-leaving-race-blogosphere/

Works cited: 

UNHCR

2012     The State of the World’s Refugees: In Search of Solidarity. Oxford University Press. United Kingdom.

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Responses to Chris Brown on Twitter

This post is a response to the following: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/horrible-reactions-to-chris-brown-at-the-grammys#21312sf

Warning: This post contains graphic images.

“Call me crazy buttttttttt I would let Chris Brown beat me up anyyyy day”

“Everyone shut up about Chris brown being a woman beater… Shiiiittt he can beat me up all night if he wants”

“Not gonna lie.. I think I’ld let Chris Brown beat me #sosexy #lovehim #awkwardtweet #dontevencare”

“Like I’ve said multiple times before, Chris Brown can beat me all he wants…. I’d do anything to have him oh my”

“Chris Brown.. Please beat me ;)”

The quotes above are among the first 10 of 25 Extremely Upsetting Reactions To Chris Brown At The Grammys. Over the three years since the ‘incident’ first occurred, there has been much controversy over it. According to one source, this is what reportedly happened:

Brown, who was Rihanna’s boyfriend at the time, was arrested on suspicion of beating the Grammy winner on February 8, 2009, leaving her battered and bruised.

The singer, whose full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, canceled her Grammy performance that year after the incident.

Brown pleaded guilty to attacking Rihanna and was ordered to serve five years on supervised probation and to complete six months of community service including roadside clean-up, graffiti removal and manual labor. (Association Newspaper Ltd; 2012)

Reactions like those listed above by young girls around the world are a result of teenage culture. Teenage culture reinforces a hegemonic society – one that carries normalized ideals of behaviour. In this case, hegemonic masculinity highlighted in the sense that Chris Brown, especially in regards to this brutality, is seen by girls as strong and dominant. It is also hyper sexualized, fitting the norm to a tee. Girls in this culture tend to feel that they must be submissive, in that they are to let guys do whatever they want with them in order to please them. There is an idea in teenage culture that a girl needs a guy to make her happy and to make her complete. Therefore, a guy can do no wrong. In this sense, being abusive is almost seen as fulfilling his role.

There has been, however, some outrage because of this as well. In an article published by the Washington Post, Valerie Strauss said

“At a time when schools across the country are struggling to figure out how to stop kids from bullying each other, and educate teens about dating violence, it seems fair to ask why producers of the 2012 Grammy Awards thought it was an acceptable message to young people to allow Chris Brown to perform just three years after he famously beat up his then-girlfriend, Rihanna.”

So what is this teaching youth? That violence is okay? That violence is something that should be desired? That it is natural? Chris Brown posted a video to the public a few months after the ‘incident’. The video can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzZUsNC76GU. Chris Brown is quoted saying “I hope to live my life so that I can be truly worthy of the term role model”. Does this public apology make up for what he did? Does it make it okay for girls to want to be beat simply because it is what society is teaching them is sexy or desirable? It didn’t take long for Chris Brown to be welcomed back to the music scene. Just three years after the incident he was performing at largely popular events once again.

Youth are influenced greatly by pop culture because it takes up a lot of what they are exposed to in society today. With messages like this one, that violence is acceptable and that this type of behaviour can be forgiven for any reason at all, there isn’t anything left to be resolved, is there? Of course there is. In our society, youth need to once again believe the power that they have. The need to believe the influence of their power, and once youth understand how to stand up to things like this, then, and only then, society will truly start to see it in a different light. I think that the more dominant groups need to take a stand also. For instance, if pop culture is going to promote the career of a man like this one as if nothing has happened, then youth are going to understand it as normal. We need to take a look at society’s current ideas of what normal is, and this might result in a different opinion about wanting to be beaten.

Rihanna wasn’t able to take a stand against this publicly, likely as a result of the advice of her agents and managers. Usher and Jay-Z, two other well known artists did make comments after the incident that indicated their discontent with the incident. They were later made to retract their statements by their managers so that it would not affect their career. So what should be more important? Your career? Or your life?

What do you think?

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http://www.lipstiq.com/2012/08/17/rihanna-breaks-down-to-oprah/rihanna-bruised-face/

On a side note, Rihanna and Chris Brown have been reported by various media sources to be dating once again. Chris Brown also recently had a picture of a battered woman tattooed onto his neck. So then what does that say to young people?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/the-womens-blog-with-jane-martinson/2012/sep/11/chris-brown-tattoo-sickening-rihanna

Works cited:

Boyle, Louise

2012     “Female police officers ‘who leaked photo of Rihanna after beating by singer boyfriend Chris Brown’ will not face criminal charges”. Associated Newspapers Ltd.

Strauss, Valerie

2012     “Chris Brown, the Grammys and the message sent to teens, kids”. The Washington Post Company.

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“You are not Special” High-School Graduation Address

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/7711591@N04/2683696286/

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/projectpi/4295731444/

This post is a response to the following video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lfxYhtf8o4

It’s been four years since I graduated high school. As I think back to my graduation ceremony, the things I most remember about it are how crowded and warm the gym was, and how much I couldn’t wait just to get out of there. I didn’t have such a great high school experience to say the least. Some people may argue that high school is the most important four years of an adolescent’s life. Some believe it is a learning experience like no other, but what do I remember learning? Not much.

Your high school experience very much could have been something that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. You may have made lifelong friends and it may have left an impact on your life. The point is, experiences of youth are not all the same, and they’re not supposed to be.

Everyone comes from a different place. Everyone intends to go in different directions. It’s because of these differences that make each experience unique. Sure, many people can experience the same high school curriculum, but that is typically the extent of anything they experience being near to exactly the same. The way that youth are socialized is based on several different unique actions and choices on behalf of both themselves as well as those around them. This is part of what makes everyone special.

The video is essentially a testament to the fact that all youth should be able to choose their own life path, and by finding something that they love and believe in, it will be of benefit beyond just themselves. Mr. McCullough Jr. said that “selflessness is the best thing you can do for yourself” and also that “the fulfilled life… is what happens when you’re thinking about more important things [than just watching YouTube videos or having people do things for you]”. The power of choice is in each individual’s hands. No one can decide what is right or wrong for them, regardless of age or ability to relate to a situation. We are all entitled to make our own mistakes.

“A non-oppositional understanding of social groups involves valuing the differences and uniqueness of groups rather than seeing them as necessarily locked into a binary, hierarchical relationship” (Albanese et al. 2011:57). Whether it relates to different genders, different ‘races’ or different age groups, everyone is unique and therefore “you are not special, because everyone is” (McCullough, 2012).

Had I been given this speech I may be in a different place right now. Who knows if I would even be writing this blog. What I mean is that I might have been in a different mindset after high school; one that believes the power of youth, in the strength of youth, and understands what youth can do with these traits, if given the right opportunities.

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http://timkastelle.org/blog/2012/06/you-are-not-a-special-snowflake-other-innovation-obstacles/

Works cited:

Albanese et al.

2008     Youth & Society: Exploring the Social Dynamics of Youth Experience. Oxford University Press, Inc. Austrailia.

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