May 2, 2007

The City and The Suburbs

I described the city as noisy and crowded. The buildings there are close together and there are more people walking around. The public transportation is more developed and it is easier to get to your destination.
Compared to the city, the suburbs give the feeling of more freedom. The houses are more spread out and there aren’t any tall buildings. Public transportation is less developed and people mostly drive to work. It is quiet and there is less crime.
When I moved from Bulgaria to Minnesota I came in Stillwater. The fact that I didn’t see many people on the streets surprised me. I was used to living in a city where people were walking around all the time. I could walk to school, to the store and to church. Even if I wanted to go some place far away from where I lived I could always rely on public busses. But here in Stillwater it was I little bit weird because I couldn’t get around without a car. There aren’t even sidewalks around the place I live. This made it harder to get around and go wherever I wanted without using a car, especially when I didn’t have a license. I guess these were some of the negative things I noticed.
The nice thing about living in the suburbs is that it is quiet and there is less crime. If you have car it’s not a problem to get wherever you want. For some people it is boring, but there are more and more places you can go and have fun with your friends. You just need to know where to go.
Both living in the city and the suburbs has its advantages and disadvantages. Some people like the hectic live in the big city, other the peacefulness of the suburbs. I don’t mind either of them, but sometimes I miss the craziness of the city.

April 11, 2007

Advertising and People of Color

This article reminded me that many times we watch television and we don’t realize how the media affects our opinions. The article gives a lot of examples of advertising that offends people racially. Many times we watch all this commercials and we don’t think about what they really mean. They make stereotypes about different races and cultures look normal and true.
Even though the article gave so many examples of advertising of this kind I personally couldn’t come up with a current commercial that portrays people in a racist way. Maybe I am just used to all of them and I don’t notice the offensive parts.

March 27, 2007

"In Living Color: Race and American Culture" by Michael Omni

Omni’s article “In Living Color: Race and American Culture? reminds us how many shows and movies present to us racial discrimination in “invisible? way. Most of the time when we watch TV we take the opinions of the media as our own, without thinking if they are right or wrong. We are so used to them that for us they are something normal and we don’t even notice them.
An example of this kind of discrimination is the TV news. Every day we watch them on different channels and most of the faces we see are white. A few exceptions that I recall are Fox 9’s news and NBC’s morning show. Most of the time this fact is not drawn to our attention because that is the way it has been in the past. But if we think about it, we can see it as pure discrimination. It is just something that the media is trying to convince us is normal.
In the movies many times the image of black people is portrayed in humorous way. They are put under the stereotype of comic characters. On the other hand the white men are the serious ones, the cops that save the situation. Movies of this sort try to show the idea that this is true even in real life and different color people behave in a way that no one else does.
The way different peoples are represented in our culture could be another example of racism. In some American movies, for instance, Jews are shown as selfish greedy people. It is stereotype through which we separate them from the rest of the world and create a specific opinion about them, even though we don’t realize it. The television makes it fine to see people in a certain way and not to worry about discrimination.

March 16, 2007

People Like Us

The film definitely made me think about the way I see people around me and how I see myself. In interesting way it showed the perception of rich and poor families of the idea of social classes. One of the things that the movie talked about was how the lower income people are “invisible?. They work hard to feed their families, but no one notices their effort. Some higher class people even don’t know they exist because they just don’t need to. Their lives are far away from the poverty and most of the time they don’t think about how lower class people struggle. They see the world in a different way and have different values. Some people’s comments from the film were that there are two kinds of people: “people who have it from the beginning and people who must work hard for it?. The people who grow up with money and high lifestyle are taught to think in different way. They see these problems that concern them, but the problems of the poor people are just not part of their daily lives. The people who work hard every day for their food and shelter deal with much bigger problems. They have to find money not only for food, but also for their kids’ education so they have better future in front of them. Many times this is impossible for them, but they still fight for it all their lives.

February 27, 2007

Michael Parenti-Class and Virtue

Through his article Parenti presents the point that working people are “less desirable and less moral? than upper-middle class people. This essay meets us with different side of the idea of richer and poorer. Unlike Parenti, many people see the upper class as more greedy and cruel than the lower class. This idea is described in many movies and TV shows that we watch every day. An example of this kind of shows is “The Simpsons?. In this show Mr. Burns is an old rich guy who cares only for the money he has. He is represented as greedy and self centered person, who doesn’t even see the people around him. He is ready to crush everybody only to gain more money. Through his character “The Simpsons? is trying to show us that there are many people who act in the same way as Mr. Burns. Through sarcastic jokes it makes us think about our attitudes and real values. It points out how something like money can change our morals and turn us into people who see only the material world. Here the upper class person, Mr. Burns, doesn’t have any true morals or desires. He is just sitting alone in his office looking for a chance to get more money.
All people have desires, no matter what part of the social class they are. The difference in the morals and values comes just from the lives they are leading. Something that is really important for one could be insignificant for others, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have morals or wishes.

February 6, 2007

Cop Out? The Media, "Cop Killer," and the Deracialization of Black Rage

One of the ideas that the article talks about is that when you take the lyrics out of their context they change their meaning. This is what most of people did-they looked just at the lyrics without knowing the whole story. The critics took the song on a piece of paper, without realizing that it is written because of a certain event of brutality-the beating of Rodney King by the police. By not knowing the facts people couldn’t truly understand the meaning of the song. They took every word literally as attempt of the Ice-T to make his fans “kill cops?. But I think this song had different meaning, especially to the people who were part of the event. It was just a way for Ice-T to express his and probably many other people’s frustration. He chose this direct and scandalous way to rebel towards the injustice. Many people didn’t even hear the song because it was removed from the album so quickly. The only thing that was heard was the criticizing of the media and this is what most people took as their own opinion.
These lyrics might sound extreme even after hearing the story behind them, but every person has different ways of coping with situations and this was Ice-T’s.

January 31, 2007

"Shitty First Drafts"

Many times when I start writing my papers I get stuck just at the beginning. I need more time thinking on what I want to write and usually by the end of the page I end up crossing most of it. I write down different ideas and in some cases I throw some of them out at the end. Sometimes my first drafts look really bad. They are many pages long, but most of the writing on them is crossed out. This article helped me realize that even the famous writers go through that kind of process and that my first drafts are probably always “shitty?, even when I think they are pretty good.
By writing a first draft I have the chance to leave it on the side for a day and then come back to it and correct the mistakes I haven’t caught earlier. It gives me the time to think more about what I have written and maybe expand my explanations and make my final draft better. It is a way to organize my thoughts and make sure that the reader clearly understands the message I want to send.

January 23, 2007

"Ways of Seeing"

Everyone has different knowledge on a given topic and it has influence on his perception. The things we know determine how we see the world around us; they shape our beliefs and thinking. In his article Berger presents to us the idea of how learning new information about a piece of art, a painting for example, changes our perception. His example is Vincent van Gogh’s Wheatfield with Crows. By giving us more details on the history behind the actual painting he makes us look even closer and question our own opinion. Suddenly everything makes sense-the dark feeling, the emptiness, etc. The fact that this painting was the last piece Gogh painted before he killed himself makes us go deeper into the image, appreciate and understand it. Through this example Berger points out how knowledge is a huge part of the way we look at our surrounding. What we have learned helped us build our understanding of how other people saw the world around them, how they felt and what they wanted. But that doesn’t mean that everybody sees the same image and story. Knowledge just gives us the chance to notice things we couldn’t before.

January 21, 2007