When will this discrimination end? The U.S. is made up of immigrants, yet today there is a widespread attitude of xenophobia and nativism, specifically aimed towards Latinos (or, fuck, why not call all people of Hispanic descent Mexicans?). Even in France, there is a similar racist attitude towards North African immigrants, which has only grown worse after the recent terrorist attack in Toulouse by a radical Islamic extremist. In the U.S. we saw a similar sense of fear and ignorance grow out of 9/11, when many Americans came to associate ‘Muslim’ or ‘Middle Eastern’ with ‘terrorist.’
I grew up in a community that’s about 50% Latino, mostly Guatemalans, and yes, mostly illegal. I think it’s impossible to have a negative attitude towards immigrants if you’ve actually talked to one. It may be more convenient for hateful people to have the view of “get them out of our country, they come here illegally, steal our jobs, mooch off the system, refuse to speak our language, and blast their reggaeton all over the place.” However, once you have a conversation with someone who has come to the states illegally, to maintain this attitude would mean rejecting the truth.
Talk to these people who you view to be invading your land, and you’ll learn why they chose to go through the immense struggles required to come to America. They’ve come from lives of poverty, gang violence, murder, lack of education, and political corruption worse than the U.S. People don’t just wake up one day from a comfortable life of security and decide to risk their lives and leave their friends and family behind to live in another country. Also, I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t tried to get a legal U.S. citizenship, but been stopped by the system. There would be a significant decrease in illegal immigration if legal immigration was made more feasible. And the language issue… have you ever tried to learn a foreign language? It’s difficult, and doesn’t happen upon immediate entrance to a new country.
The issue of racism and hate in the U.S. is far more worrisome than the so-called issue of illegal immigration. Stop these Herman Cain’s with their alligator moats and electric border fences. Don’t let more people be discriminated against because of where they come from. Don’t let more lives be lost. FUCK HATE!
I have grown up in a time of war, but so far disconnected from it. From what I have gathered, I believe the war in Iraq was started as a way to “fix” what wasn’t working there, and in turn we would get resource benefits. We believed we had better ways to live and we could show the Iraqis how. However, this is how the country has been built, and though we could step in and help, we were intruding and patronizing them. Many Americans came to see the Middle East as savage when really, they have a different culture and way of life. It is very difficult to pull people away from the idea of cultural inferiority, but it is vital in terms of international coexistence.
When a country tries to help another country for the other’s embetterment, rather than for selfish reasons, it should be to solve a conflict of ethics and other basic rights on that same plane. For a loose example, America could go into a country with a strong dictatorship to try to change policies to better the people, rather than going in and telling the people they need to end arranged marriages and use condoms. It is not our place to say that we have a superior way of being, because that simply is not true. Different customs work for different people, and for a war to ensue because of different ideals is not promoting coexistence.
Let’s take America in Afghanistan as an example, but scale it down to a personal level. Imagine having a debate with someone who is trying to get something from you that they don’t have—your cows, for example. They say they want to fix or change a tradition your family has carried out for generations, but you know that they have alterior motives in this and you see no need to change it. They are taking away from your land and hurting your family, and although they have the most basic, minimum level of respect, it seems forced. Are you willing to work with them?
Now imagine yourself in a different scenario: your father is essentially locking you up in the house. You are scared to fight back and are rather helpless. Someone is willing to help you, but this means they will take you to move in with them about two blocks away. They approach the situation without any other motives than to help you, but they would also like you to be a part of the home and to help with basic chores. Are you willing to work with them?
Of course, these examples are on a very small scale but can be applied to international issues. However, the only way a country will be open to other cultures and identities is to remove the idea of superiority but with the intention that they can help each other. If someone is saying they want something of mine but are disrespectful, I will not give it to them no matter what tactics they are using. If someone tries to take away my identity, I will never work with them. But if they are kind and willing to promise something in return, I can work with them. Knowing most countries’ real motives to be economically successful and powerful, they will want as many resources as possible. But if they realize that the successful way to do this is by giving in return, acting with respect and embracing the other culture rather than destroying villages, they will have real power.
It is extremely wrong to think that the only way to gain power is through fear. This may work for a short period of time, but it is not sustainable. Once the world realizes this, the problems occurring will be less about religion, culture, and identity and more about substantial problems of ethics or unjust policies. But if countries continue to gain power through fear, to change the very identity of another, or to defile another’s land for their own betterment, the world will undoubtedly face an era of culture wars.
As Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.” America and dozens of other globalized countries are losing their freedom of the press, mainly through limitation and transparency by the corporate ownership of the media. America’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is in charge of the country’s media and also have a responsibility to ensure that the public has diversity in media ownership. However, the mainstream media is owned solely by massive corporations and in the past 30 years, the number of these corporations has gone from roughly 50 to 5. The 5 corporations, aka “The Big Five in Media”, are Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch’s News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany, and Viacom (formerly CBS). Corporate globalization is generating inequality for the public; the public is misinformed, not informed at all, and/or influenced in the direction the corporations want to take them. “The major media are large corporations, owned by and interlinked with even larger conglomerates. Like other corporations, they sell a product to a market. The market is advertisers - that is, other businesses. The product is audiences, [and] for the elite media, [they’re] relatively privileged audiences. So we have major corporations selling fairly wealthy and privileged audiences to other businesses. Not surprisingly, the picture of the world presented reflects the narrow and biased interests and values of the sellers, the buyers and the product,” (Noam Chomsky, Take the Rich Off Welfare). Media ownership by corporations is scraping at our rights and threatening true democracy the world over.
Mainstream media is said to be supporting free market capitalism. But when the concentration of media ownership does not foster competition, it is doing anything but. When the corporations have a monopoly of sorts, they have the most understanding of how to influence the public, as they spend their whole lives planning and making projects. With this, they do not inform the public in terms of their interest, but give the idea that their own interest is the interest of the public.
Large corporations buy out news sources and tell them how to promote the corporation’s image. There are also an enormous number of national and international trade agreements amongst their large corporations so that the interests of the owners are met. This media ownership then has irrefutably biased, misinforming political and economic agendas. This makes it difficult for the public to question what is being fed to them, making them unaware of the ideological chains that the mainstream media has bound to them. When a policy is made and is only covered in a biased fashion, is that really access to the media? The public needs to be aware of the policies made and how they affect the individuals. If they don’t have full access to the information, how can they be well-informed about their change in job security, welfare, or other pertinent policies? Well, isn’t that the motivation of the corporations?
Corporations’ manipulation of public interest in the media is stripping them of their rights, giving way to inequality. “By sanitizing coverage and seemingly depriving it of ideological content, the news [makes] public affairs increasingly obtuse, confusing and boring. This depoliticization has been marked by a general decline in political knowledge, by lower voter turnouts, and by a narrowing range of legitimate political debate,” (Robert McChesney, Corporate Media and the Threat to Democracy).
Economic reports may as well be coded—the concepts are familiar to the insiders but not to the general public. Media often uses blamegame so as to take away suspicions from the real instigators when they are connected to one of the big five. Protesters now get news coverage as an opportunity for the news source to promote the big corporations, usually reiterating the “the positive benefits and virtues of free trade”. Also, the media is really the only source that can hold big business and government accountable, but when the big business is the media, there’s no accountability.
This is happening in countries all over the world. India’s real problems no long reach their front page. “The 90s have witnessed a rapid growth of inequality the world over…this may occasionally be reported…but questioning the social philosophies and frameworks that generate this is just not done,” (P. Sainath). The people cannot be well-informed to make decisions based on their country’s future, but will more likely know the corporations’ side just by the subtle propaganda, and in turn perpetuate their misinformation.
"Narrow control…is inherently bad. In the end, no small group…with as much uniformity of outlook and as concentrated in power as the current media corporations, can be sufficiently open and flexible to reflect the full richness and variety of society’s values and needs. … The answer is not elimination of private enterprise in the media, but the opposite. It is the restoration of genuine competition and diversity," (Ben H. Bagdikian, The Media Monopoly). The FCC needs to do their job in restoring the diversity in America’s media through reforms and in turn give corporations regulations over global power. Corporations should not be allowed to merge with community-based competitors in order to dominate the economy; it ruins free market capitalism. It threatens the ability for local news sources to address the issues most pertinent to their community. The small, independent news sources must be able to thrive without corporate influence in order to secure our rights to information. Reforms for the uplifting of local and unbiased media sources must be presented not only to America and its big five, but also to other countries affected by corporate globalization.
“On May 19, Mayor 1% Emanuel will bring to Chicago military and civilian representatives of the 28-nation US-commanded and largely US-financed North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and heads of state and finance ministers of the G-8 world economic powers.
They meet on behalf of the 1% of the world, the rich and the powerful, the bankers and generals. Their agenda is to continue to impose austerity, or poverty, by cutting social spending for workers and the poor to maintain profitability for the rich and to launch more wars to stop the rise of the poor nations of the Third World.
The people of this fine city do not want these summits. The mayor has his own agenda. In anticipation of widespread opposition to the war & poverty agenda of the NATOG8, Mayor Emanuel passed a set of first-amendment crushing ordinances, known as “Sit Down Shut Up”, to stifle the exercise of free speech and assembly during the summits. The mayor single-handedly gave himself the abililty to issue no-bid security contracts and deputize out-of-town law enforcement while imposing harsh restrictions on parades, marches and demonstrations.
But we will not be silenced. We will stand up to this corrupt system and say enough! Join Occupy Chicago, Coalition Against NATO/G8 (CANG8), the Midwest Antiwar Mobilization and many more as we gather in Chicago in May!
The Coalition Against NATO/G8 is a broad formation that includes labor unions, community groups, anti-war and international solidarity groups and faith based activists. From the CANG8 website:
Protest the NATO/G8 Summit on Saturday, May 19th, 2012!
Noon rally at Daley Plaza, then march to McCormick Place!
Join in a legal, permitted, family-friendly march and rally that will end within sight and sound of the summit at McCormick Place!
At the invitation of the White House, military and civilian representatives of the 28-nation US-commanded and largely US-financed North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and heads of state and finance ministers of the G-8 world economic powers are meeting in Chicago, May 19-21, 2012. To that we say…
No to War and Austerity!
Money out of politics! Represent for the people, not the money!
No to NATO/G-8 Warmakers!
Jobs, Healthcare, Education, Pensions, Housing & the Environment, Not War!”
We live in a system based on a foundation of money, greed, and division. Racism, sexism, homophobia, hate, superiority, and violence are widely accepted and often reflected through the law. Our government is set up to encourage an attitude of every man for himself, rather than unity through helping people. There’s a huge gap between the rich and the poor (seriously: 50% of America holds 97.5% of the wealth, leaving the bottom 50% with 2.5%), and a huge discrepancy in the opportunities available for each. Corrupt police are left to do as they please, and the media is censored and skewed. Consumption is encouraged in every way possible, while the truth about environmental destruction is either denied or considered unimportant or inconvenient to act on. All of this and more create a cultural clash in America, between those who support this reality and believe it provides freedom, and those who are not content and want change. It has come to mean more than simply conservatives against liberals.
This conflict between cultures can be shown through the Occupy Movement. These protests are fueled by the disillusioned and discontented who aim to change the current state of affairs. While they haven’t organized one centralized message in the form of a slogan or demand, it’s clear that the protest movement stands for social and economic equality, human rights, free voice and more representation, and ending corruption and greed in the government.
Ironically, and unfortunately, many of the injustices the protestors oppose were illustrated through effects of the protests. Occupy Wall Street-ers were not allowed on Wall Street itself, which was soon barricaded off and guarded by police. Instead, hundreds of protestors gathered in nearby Zuccotti Park—but this wasn’t reported in the mainstream media for a few weeks, until gradually, vague and skewed articles (including, in the NY Times, condescendingly titled ‘Hippies and Hipsters Exhale,’ and ‘Protesting Till Whenever’) trickled out. The reporters chose to describe the protestors’ dreadlocks, tattoos, and grunge apparel rather than bothering to ask them about their views. Then, with mass arrests, police brutality, and the sheer number of protestors, it became pretty awkward to block it out of the news. Seven hundred arrests were made in one night during a march across the Brooklyn Bridge—it’s difficult to sweep that many people under the rug. However, the condescension and insulting tone stayed strong in the media, and in one news report the movement’s stance was even compared to the rise of Nazis (great job, Fox).
There is a significant divide between two different cultures in the U.S. today. These cultures aren’t formed out of race or ethnicity, but a way of thinking and view of the world. A war hasn’t broken out, unless you consider the police violence to be warfare, but there is an undeniable clash of two opposite fronts in one country. A solution doesn’t seem to be within close reach right now. Peaceful protest is designed to be a forum for expression and mediation, but nothing has arisen from a nationwide movement yet. But hopefully we will soon achieve change and cultural peace and agreement within the land of the free.
Our two-party system is no longer representing the public. I, for one, cannot identify myself as either a democrat or a republican. Other youths seems to choose republican or democrat, without really knowing their platforms, based on their parents’ affiliation. I remember being an oblivious middle-schooler, surrounded by a mess of a “political conversation” amongst the other middle-schoolers. Without any knowledge, I called myself a democrat, simply thinking it was more liberal.
I should hope our youth is glad to be moving away from identifying with the two-party system, and more are checking off the “independent” box. Surely, it will be messy in terms of future campaigns and plenty of confusion will (continue to) ensue. But we’ll be moving towards the representation we need. After all, isn’t that what America prides itself on?
The United States remains a two-party nation because its people don’t know anything else; our candidates get eliminated down to 2: the democrat, and the republican. The candidates must identify as democratic or republican because thats what the people know. Surely, we may identify with one more than the other, and we can vote for the other candidates to sway the majority platform. But why just sway it?
Anyone else feeling pessimistic in regard to our 2012 presidential candidates? Of course, if there were a politician running that matched well with my views, they wouldn’t be a real politician. But thats just not realistic. So I’d love to take the avoidance approach and get the hell out of America until its people are fairly represented; for a rather patriotic and cheesy example, the US isn’t just red and blue. It’s white, too, and I don’t want the independents to just fade into the background as long as I’m living in a so-called united nation.
I still have a year until I can vote, but thats not the issue. The issue is the public refusing to see what changes must be made for equality through representation. And I’m talking to you rich republicans, too. You may be benefiting now, but if you want your country’s benefits in the long run—for your children’s children’s children that won’t have a trust fund—you need to open your eyes.
the occupy wall street movement has met a lot of criticism concerning the 99% sentiment. those in opposition to the protestors often argue that they are exaggerating in saying that the majority feels oppressed and that a corrupt, looming, greedy 1% is creating a huge gap of inequality in america. think what you want about the protests, but check this link out before you make up your mind about the validity of the 99% in rebellion.