Friday, October 30, 2009

Post 23: 40,000 Troops

Today is something a little different for my Blog. I had wanted to post this for a few days now but I hadn't had the chance due to a lot of other school papers/projects I have been keeping up with so I don't fall behind. Sorry Mr. Blog... you got neglected this week. However I have this interesting link to the Daily Show that deals with several topics, but more importantly it focuses on Obama's pressure to come to a decision whether or not to send 40,000 troops to Afghanistan. This is catching a lot of public attention from the media and even political leaders. Even Dick Cheney took his shots at Obama, which is absurd considering his administration got us into this mess to begin with. Anyways due to Obama taking his time with making his decision a lot of people are targeting him on his inability to decide... as if signing a possible death sentence to 40,000 more American's wasn't enough on his plate along with an economic crisis and the world all hating our country. But I will let you all make your own decisions, and if anything, I hope this is an entertaining media clip for you!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Post 22: Ideas of Paper # 8

Well it’s the end of the week and it’s time for another blog post. It has directly to do with the response we had to type our weekly paper about. The question presented to us was:

"Of the various sites of Chicano struggle for media access, the one I would guess you are most familiar with is the college / university setting. This week, in 1-2 pages, I'd like you to consider what colleges in general, and what Bridgewater State College in particular (and the Dept. of Communication Studies even more so, and you and me EVEN MORE SO) should be doing to increase minority media access and cultural diversity. What is to be done? Be concrete as you can!"

My response to that (which could be applied to any college in my opinion, Bridgewater State College included) was that exposure can be increased for ALL cultures in the following formats: Internet, television, and theatre/drama.

Without going into the details of the paper (which would make this Blog two pages long and I have so few followers as it is, and I don't want to scare them away) I will simply break down what I observed with each.

-Create different portals of each culture that ties in with that campus' database, or even external databases that deal directly with that particular culture (Chicano specifically since that is what we are focusing on right now). That way the searching for history, traditions, myths, legends, stories, discussions, etc can be easily found, accessed, and more importantly LEARNED. I would also like to think that these links would have a place on the main College's Library page to make it more well known and easier to access.

Essentially it was my idea that most colleges have a local broadcasting channel or creates shows for local town programming. I think it would be very interesting to have a representative of each culture's community have a weekly or daily roundtable discussion about relative topics of the day that would involve history, traditions, and stereotypes and how they overcome those stereotypes. I feel this would be highly educational and beneficial to not only the round table members to learn about each other but for real debates and issues to be brought out and discussed that relates to modern struggles of that culture.

Imagine the Chicano student body presenting their version of I am Joaquin as a drama piece with their own versions of images and music being displayed for a modern crowd. I think that would be fantastic and a great opportunity to help the rest of us understand the struggle of the Chicano community. But why stop there? This movement could do all sorts of Chicano based history, myths, legends, and cultural stories dealing with their society to help further understanding. Another thing about theatre that seems to be an advantage over other media forms is that it is a form of artistic expression and has the chance to be a bit more edgy in its message and presentation. That coupled with controversial material almost always created a “buzz” about the production giving it more of an audience and a real chance to spread a message if well constructed.

Well these were my papers ideas. I hope that my fellow classmates were able to come up with some interesting ones as well. If anyone wants to discuss theirs on this Blog post please be my guest! I think it’s just another way of exposure and brings about good discussion.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Post 21: Obama the "Black Hitler"??

My friend sent me an interesting article via email about Obama and how his entire administration (more specifically him) has been met with nothing but racism and hate. The article was written by Philip Weiss on 9/28/09 titled “The Obama Crazies and Why They are Not Going Away” published in The New York Magazine. I had always known that Obama faced racism from the moment he decided to run for office, but I suppose what has bothered me most about it was how racially charged a lot of people were willing to take the arguments against Obama. From technical analysis of his campaign to blatant racism, Obama has had a very tough year.

But I am glad that this article goes into depth about the issue of race and how it has plagued Obama’s campaign ever since he took up the mantle of running for Presidency. I would like to think that he got elected not for his color but for his message. Granted he has made some choices that I don’t 100% agree with but he is doing the best that he can with the amount of disaster that was placed before him after the previous administration. He has given the country hope and has been doing the best that he can to deliver on his promises.

He doesn’t deserve this racist backlash, and I am grateful that a widely known magazine had the guts to publish an article shining the spotlight on those would tear Obama down for his color.

Well done Philip Weiss!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Post 20: Remember the Past, to Strive for a Better Future?

Note: the following blog is merely contemplative in nature, intended to make people (myself included) to think about what is the best way to mature in our current situation in society and nothing more.

“The cartoons you are about to see are products of their time. Theymay depict some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that werecommonplace in the U.S society. These depictions were wrong then andthey are wrong today. While the following does not represent the WarnerBros. view of today's society, these cartoons are being presented asthey were originally created, because to do otherwise would be the sameas claiming that these prejudices never existed.”

It’s an interesting quote and one that I had seen earlier this week by a poster on our Comm 300 Black Board discussions. It is about old Looney Toons cartoons. This is in fact a quote directly from Warner Bros themselves, posted on their DVD collections of classic cartoons. When I read the paragraph it makes total sense to me. I mean, back then there were stereotypes, and they were clearly expressed with little regard to the cultures involved, and as humanity evolved the recognition of these cultures as strong and vibrant and EQUAL prevailed.

But has it disappeared? I think the answer is obvious, all we have to do is turn on the news and we are swamped with images of racial killings, wars between religious countries, stereotyping of gays, and so forth. So when I read that quote from Warner Bros there seems something very wrong with it. Is it the knowledge that these prejudices existed to blatantly that it makes me uncomfortable to see it? Is it because Warner Bros is trying to make a few bucks off the consumer with the knowledge that these racial stereotypes existed within their cartoons, especially now in the modern society where we flat out speak against such inequality?

Perhaps the most disturbing or at least noticible sentence of the paragraph is the last one: “While the following does not represent the Warner Bros. view of today's society, these cartoons are being presented as they were originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming that these prejudices never existed.”

So is this the key to moving on? Should we acknowledge that it happened but that it shouldn’t be happening now and forget about the past to move on to the future? Or do we continue to refer back to the past to REMEMBER how awful it was in the past and that it has slowly been getting better. At least that way a better future can be formed. I am not exactly sure which is the best way to go about this… I suppose it’s always good to remember for how can one learn from the mistakes. On the other hand the stereotype/race/religious/gay/etc “issues” we face in our country (and world wide) should be forgotten to MOVE ON. It’s a tug of war question in my mind and no side wins out completely so I thought I would make mention of my thoughts in this blog.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Post 19: Ethnic Diversity Conference

I got word of something interesting sounding from a friend who is doing teaching and traveling abroad. She told me that from October 15’th-17’th there is an Ethnic Diversity Conference being held in Northern Africa to discuss the stereotypes that not only plague their country but others as well. It’s held and supported by the Art and Action Festival. For more information go to:

From what my friend was telling me is this is a very large conference that tries to take place every two (or less years) to discuss the state of the country and the world. Apparently it is very progressive and looks to find not only representative identity amongst different cultures, but a way to strive forward and celebrate our cultures as unique but able to be unified with mutual respect. I found this webpage very encouraging that this is taking place. I am sure that there are conferences like this held in America but I generally don’t hear about them too much. My friend was also telling me that typically this conference is televised and can be seen by most of Northern Africa, however this year due to budget concerns it will not take place. In its place they intend on making a 2 hour DVD of all the high points discussed which will be offered to the attendees at a discounted rate and sold to the rest of the country at a normal DVD pricing.

I like the idea of something like this being televised. Again, I am not sure if something like this is normal within America, but I have certainly never seen anything like this on television before. But I think that perhaps it would be a very good thing to see. For one night for a few hours, television programming can be suspended to see a conference that not only identifies the stereotypes and racism that exists, but finds ways to counter those feelings by beneficial facts, discussions, and praise of the individual cultures. Imagine if Barack Obama, the White House, and many others supported and even attended this event! The coverage would be enormous and the message would actually get across. I know it’s a fantastical concept but I can’t help but think how much positive results could be harvested from something like this.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Post 18: The Bandito lives to Fight, Sneak, and Steal for ANother Day

I was just finishing up chapter 3 of the book Noriega wrote, Shot in America, when I was confronted with a stereotype I never even truly knew I had living inside of me. The Frito Bandito, which has been loosely translated down to just the Bandito in general these days. I think that as I grew up as a child through cartoons (such as Looney Toons), fast food places, Mexican restaurants, etc I have come to accept the Bandito as a symbol for the Chicano community. Of course having these things shown to me as a child and growing up with them, one doesn’t fully understand the negative implications of the stereotype until slapped in the face with it. To be completely honest with myself (and what few followers I have) I am rather ignorant of the Chicano community and its stereotypes and with that ignorance I accepted the bandito as a symbol for their culture and community.

How wrong and foolish I was…

After reading Noriega’s description of the internal war this symbolic character caused for the entire Chicano Nation I am finding just how destructive the image is. I mean let’s look at the facts of the bandito: they are gun toting, aggressive, sinister, sneaky, criminal-driven, thieves who derive their pleasure on lawlessness and greed. To have this imaged used to represent a community, I would be upset too! What’s even more difficult was at the time the Chicano community was divided in half about what to do with this “character” created. On one half (as mentioned) it was regarded as degrading to their culture and they wanted it gone! However on the other half they liked the character because it brought them closer to popularity in America and finally having some recognition on television and in the movies. This was a delicate tug-o-war taking place and it was happening Chicano against Chicano!

Even today we see this image being used in Mexican restaurant menus, the signs, etc and its disturbing that it is still being supported. Granted the Frito Bandito who started this whole thing had been removed a long time ago, thanks to fierce opposition from some of the Chicano representatives, but the effects have been long lasting. I had mentioned on my class discussion board that I remember having fond memories of a Mexican restaurant I went to with my family that was located in Abington right off of Rt 18. The name eluded me as I was writing the discussion board response but I now have remembered it as Carman’s. I am not sure if it is still there today but I distinctly remember what the sign was: a bandito wearing a sombrero and a chest strap of guns and bullets while leaning back and sitting into the sand with a cactus thorn sticking out of his toe.

Ladies and gentleman the bandito lives on despite the fight to banish him into the past…

If there was any proof of how damaging an iconic stereotype of a culture can be, here is your proof.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Post 17: Help End World Hunger... and have a Snickers Bar!

So on Saturday after doing some homework (while at my job) I decided to take a break and sit with the residents I work with and spend time with them in front of the television. They were watching a movie on the USA Network, and this station does this thing called "character fantasy" in between commercial breaks of the movies they show. I typically think these are okay. They essentially respond to a person who writes into the network saying they are interested in particular jobs or duties they they are curious or interested in learning about. So today's character fantasy was a woman who was curious about how the food donation, organization, and shipping procedures take place. She currently donates food to many organizations but she doesn't know the intricacies and behind-the-scenes work that goes into it.

All of that was completely fine with me, but there was something that bothered. me. They decided to put a product placement ad into each break and what's worse was that the product was not only food but it was junk food (Snickers to be exact). I don't know but for some reason the talk about ending hunger, supporting charitable causes to meet that goal was diminished when this sponsor to Snickers kept popping up saying "Okay now that we have done that, lets take a break and have ourselves a little snack! I love my Snickers bars!" and the camera zooming in 200% so that the bar in his hand with the logo was taking up the entire screen. I was suddenly growing more and more offended by this each time. There wasn't even any benefit to Snickers being promoted! They weren't helping the cause to end world hunger. They weren't feeding people with good nutritious food. They were obviously placed into the program because USA got paid a lot of money by Snickers to be shown in the advertisements and they are advertising a product that not only has no nutritional value but are contributing to the Nation's obesity problem!

I know this doesn't have anything to do with minorities being represented on television or movies but it was still something that bothered me and an example of the way the media injects its products into something with potentially good goals and reasons that could make a difference in the world.

Here is more of a reason to get into film and television... and get involved with people who speak against consumerism or profits or money making ploys. I know that its near impossible to avoid it in some way but dammit I can try... and do my best to help make changes and differences.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Post 16: Obama's Prize

I hadn't heard till yesterday, on the Saturday morning news, that Obama had won the Noble Peace Prize. At first I was curious at the choice... Why had Barack won? Some people were saying was that it was because he was not Bush. Other people were saying that his visions of peace and unity were the cause. Others said that it was celebrating that he was the first black president in American history. In any case this is highly controversial and an honor I am not sure Obama wants due to how much unwanted heat it has put upon him.

I was curious to know if other Presidents had won the Nobel Peace Prize, and after some brief research I found that Thoedore Roosevelt did 1906, Woodrow Wilson in 1919, and Jimmy Carter in 2002. So I guess the real question in my mind is why is Barack coming under so much attack for this honor? Especially since at least one of the previously mentioned Presidents was considered a disaster for this country.

It's rather sad to see that he has mixed feelings about the situation. Winning the Nobel Peace Prize should be a moment in your life that is memorable for being proud for what you have done for humanity, not bad due to the amount of negative press you get from overly critical people. Of course I support Barack, I helped put him into office, and while I don't agree with 100% with his decisions I do support him in the majority of his goals, decisions and objectives. So I think, considering the unbelievable burden put on his shoulders from the previous administration, he is doing everything he can to provide peace to America and the rest of the world in terms of dealing with the US. I also think that it was a triumph for the African Americans that he was elected into office with words of peace, unity, and promise. I think he does deserve high praise for accomplishing this in a clearly prejudiced world.

I suppose we will see if Barack is worthy of this honor by the end of his term and see what he has brought to the table. But I feel that as it stands, with him being the leader of our country, and speaking consistently of unity, bipartisanship, and peace I think he is deserving of this award. I know I will come under attack for my beliefs but I stand by them.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Post 15: I am Joaquin

"I look at myself and see a part of me who rejects my father and my mother, and dissolves into the melting pot to disappear in shame. I sometimes sell my brother out and sometimes reclaim them as my own when society gives me token leadership... the reward of Kings and bloody revolutions designed to give the future the tools to grow"
Rodolfo Corky Gonzales

For Comm 300 we had to watch the short film I am Joaquin, based upon the poem written by Rodolfo Corky Gonzales. It was a powerful depiction of a culture that has been under attack by external and internal forces, similar to Native American culture, and has sustained serious damage in the process. I made a post on the discussion board for my class, stating that I had actually seen this performed years ago in my high school creative writing class. As mentioned in my post I compared this building and destruction of a culture over and over again to the symbolism of an etch a sketch. There was once a beautiful picture, but something fundamentally disastrous shook the picture up, leaving only fragments behind. The then current Chicano society, tried to put together the pieces of their heritage and create the picture again, only to have something else further shake the image and have cause for rebuilding.

All the years of this has left the Chicano people with very difficult situations to deal with in terms of properly representing itself in a society now seemingly all too willing to listen yet expecting immediate results and overnight solutions to hundreds of years of degradation.

It leaves me wondering how they can fix this problem. What can I do to help? I am hoping that as we read our current text Shot in America by Chon Noriega, I will have a better sense of the demands and needs of the Chicano nation and what I might do to help.