May 1, 2007

Two Worlds Apart, One Location...

Coffman is a place of acceptance and relaxation. From the comfy couchesof the first floor to the food and games of the lower levels. But this massive building shows its diverse acceptance on the 2nd floor. On this floor are rooms, each inviting to a single group and yet open to any that should pas.. My analysis is based on the Latino Sactuary of La Raza and its neighbor down the hall the QSCC, Two of various different worlds in the same building.

On this particular day La Raza is dark. Lights off, its only light comes through windows from the outside. Upon entering one is greeted by a group of couches all facing a tv turned on to a basketball game. Here is a welcome invite to anyone, a common ground to draw in any passer by. To the left a bulletin board filled with info related to the U in general and Latino Issues. Just from the door one sees skull cutouts from tissue paper to remind its visitors of the sacrifices made everyday in our lives. When one enters further one sees a mural covering the entire side wall. The mural consists of tradition. history of struggle and survival as well as lifea nd folklore. tables occupy the middle of the room and at the far end are three computers free to anyone for use.

La Raza's presense uses the past to bring in people and welcome them. The main attraction is the mural. at the moment the Latino Community is under attack so to bring Latinos together the room uses the common past of the people to invite them. This toom welcomes as well as educates those who enter. They are proud of where they come from and who they are. The Dim lighting gives the toom a relazing calm feeling to it. So while this one room invites and welcomes with history the next uses other methods to attract people.

The QSCC is the GLBT common room. With brouchers and pamphlets outside the room, this group invites with straight up fact and information. As I entered the room i notice that though the lights were not on the room was completly lit up. It may have to do with the four large windows along the back wall and the multiple multi-colored flags that hang on the walls and from the ceiling. I think that this tactic is used to create a happy and accepting atmosphere. Though it targets one certain group of the U, the group is one that is seen as shameful and embarrassing, so the brightness of the entire room helps to bring in those that are shy and unsure of themselves.

These two rooms target certain groups but they are open to everyone who is willing to take a chance and meet others. Though it is strange, I have seen members of the BSU and La Raza mingle with each other, it is rare that I see others mingle. Why is this area of diversity and support...keeping people apart?

April 24, 2007

Antics of a Burbanite

The city is a mecca for technology and pop culture. Complete with its own soundtrack of people talking, cars vrooming, music blaring and the occational dogs chorus of barking. It is here where people join together to root on the atheletes that have been chosen to represent their fair state. Where one can go to live a new life, unlike the one at home. To see a Prince marry a princess or a long haired idol rock the stage. Cluttered with people of varying shapes, colors and sizes, it is a place where one can be comunal and yet must be wary of who they choose to coverse with. Though this place offers a lot, what it sacrifices is not always the best. the city trades in lush greenery for solid grey sidewalks, a clear sparkling sky for the fog of industry and an open horizon for giants made of glass and steel.

This description came to me with comparison to the place I grew up in until I graduated from 8th grade. I brew up on the Northeast side of El Paso, TX. By my house there were plenty of houses, but on the other side of stanton, was miles and miles of endless desert. Though i lived in the burbs, i went to school in the city. I never realized it till now, how different things were. When i went to school, there were police sirens sounding, and horns honking in the distance. cars lined up at stoplights and the heat from their engines rose in a blur to the sky. In the burbs, it was peaceful. you could stand in the middle of the street and not see another car for almost 10 minutes.

I'm not quite sure why there are burbs and there are cities. The one thing that comes to mind is that some people would get really bored in the burbs, like i did since there is not a lot to do(sadly i never explored the dessert by my house, regret it to this day) so they go to the cities to find entertainment and joy. but sometimes the ruashing pace of the city can be hectic, so i guess one may need a place to just relax and just walk around without be too fearful about being robbed or meeting someone that they may deem different or dangerous.

April 10, 2007

Um meester, is this ok?

When reading this article I have to say that at times the phrase, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder? came to mind. Though in this case it would be “acceptability in the eye of the majority of society.? I can see why people now would look back and be like, “What were they thinking?? and “How could they?? and of course, “There’s nothing like that now a days.? Well maybe they are right, what were they thinking? I mean those crazy advertisement people preying on the egos of the white majority to sell their merchandise, and doing so in such a way that also made those they were making fun of, see it as the integration of their culture. It’s sneaky, but then again to survive in this world, you kind of have to take every chance you can get to prosper. Now what about the statement of there’s nothing like that now a days. Now this in a sense is true, we don’t see Pedro sitting on the back of a truck with his five brothers, seven sisters, thirteen cousins, six uncles and his twenty-four friends all heading to the orchards in California saying, “ Meester Johnson’s orange juice is Fantastico!? But then again we don’t see him on very many commercials at all. I believe that advertisement evolves with the generation and society it is produced in. Today’s advertisements have replaced many of the racial stereotypes with cute and cuddly spokes…animals. We have the monkey that rides on a dog delivering tacos to people in traffic, the soft bouncy bear that pops up in random peoples houses, and how’s about a gecko that sells car insurance!! Now if you ask me I think we have traded in racial stereotypes for complete idiocy. Cause I mean one must be able to see that with today’s generation, if its stupid, ‘Xtreme,’ or shows the camera some cleavage, then the male population is down for it. And if it’s pretty, fluffy and all in all comfortable, you have just rung in the females. Now I know this is a bit of gender..ism remarks but can you honestly tell me that a cute little Chihuahua dog that says “Yo Quiero Taco Bell? didn’t have the cute cuddly hearts of women and the stupidity and comical mindset of men? All in all I don’t think we stopped using stereotypes in advertisement, instead I think we just switched the people we make fun of, or in this case the animals. I mean in this world there are protests and a group or coalition for and against every racial, gender, social, and even sexual group it may just be easier to make fun of a category that can’t fight back, cause what do animals know, they only live here before we did? Peace out ya’ll!

March 8, 2007

The Inequality with-in equality...

Many in our society want to transcend stereotypes, classes and even racial statuses by fighting those that oppress them…right? Well I will not put down any movement because everyone deserves to fight for what they believe to be right, and who am I to say they are wrong or right? I believe that if one wants change, they must first forget that there is any difference between where they are and where they want to be. Now this may sound like I am saying to ignore the problem, but that is not it at all. I just think that one can not accomplish equality if they acknowledge inequalities. I believe that a person fighting for equality, but divides groups up into ‘us’ and ‘them’, has already failed in truly gaining equality. Our society is broken up into many different social classes, and with each class comes stereotypes and prejudices. The lower class may complain that the upper class has lots of money and are privileged, and the upper class may think that the lower class is lazy and dirty because they don’t want to try. And when these two meet, they bring along their prejudices and thus treat the other based on them. In the end both classes act the way that the other assumes they will because they don’t take the time to really get to know each other. An example from the movie was when the three guys were sitting against the wall of their High School talking about how there is division, and how they are treated poorly, but when the ‘popular’ kids come along asking the boys why they say the ‘popular’ kids hate them, the trio responds by acting like the ‘popular’ kids are stupid. Thus the ‘popular’ kids end up disliking this trio, because of the way they acted because they believed that the upper class hated them in the first place. It’s an endless cycle that I believe will not end unless we are to wipe the minds of every person living and start anew.

February 28, 2007

Classes according to Danielle and The Baroness.

What do movies and TV show us about class? Personally when I think about classes I see high-class people as usually pompous, greedy, heartless and all in all a little lazy. One movie that I can attribute my influence to is the movie Ever After. In this movie Baroness Rodmilla De Ghent, played by Anjelica Huston, is the stepmother of Danielle, played by Drew Barrymore. The Baroness portrays a higher class to Danielle. She is portrays a pompous attitude when she constantly walks around acting like she is queen of everyone and everything, by holding her head up high and wearing very clean clothes. She treats her servants rudely by ordering them around and complaining when things are not done specifically as she wanted, even when she did not state it. She portrays being lazy because she never does anything herself, expecting everyone else to do it for her. Though she does choreograph the entire charade of selling her belongings to a merchant and then accusing the servants of stealing. Although the previous act shows that she is greedy, she is also greedy and heartless when she sells Danielle to the same merchant for all the belongings back.
I see low-class people as hard working, but not gaining the respect that they deserve. As well this is seen in Ever After though the characters Danielle and the other servants. Throughout the entire movie they are constantly working and doing everyone’s bidding, but they never receive any praise or gratitude. Since they are lower class they do not deserve the respect of anyone. They take the threats of their masters and continue working.
All in all this is a very bad picture to show to people as they grow up. It gives off the assumption that to be respected and to live happily you must have money and be in a position to order others around.

February 13, 2007

A Queer Solution to Bigotry?

So when I read the artilce by Archana Mehta, i was a little shocked, especially in the beginning where she tells about the coming out of a boy and his friend's reaction to it. The thoughts and feelings written in the note that the boy shows her are very similar to the ones in the noteook of "freewriting' or a journal that I have kept for a while. A few of my friends have come out and they recite to me tales of how hard it was coming to terms with themselves and then getting the courage and finding the right moment to tell the people they loved. One particular story came from my friend who was in speech with me. He told me that he had gone back to judge a competition for the school and everything was going great until our old coach told him that at least half of the team knew that he was gay. My friend decribed the feeling that washed over him and how after that moment he felt bare and outcasted, even though everyone he had talked to before the statement had greeted him with smiles and treated him with little to no change as they had when he was a part of the group. And yet, he could not look any of them in the eye or even talk to them. He said good bye to everyone and left as soon as he could.

What really interests me is why he felt so abandoned and out of place when moments before he was happy and mingling with everyone. In the article, the author says that after she read the note, she seemed to realize how much her friend had to struggle with his identity. It really helps me to see why my friend reacted the way he did. Before writing this I called him and asked him if he felt confused as to how he was suppoed to act and why he freaked out? His answer pretty much followed this line of thinking. He said that he had been one way around all these people and that when he found out that half of his friends knew about him, and he, not knowing how they reacted to the thought or idea of it, was very confused and realized just how big of a lie he had led. A lie that pretty much left him not knowing how to act or who really knew. He told me that when his coach told him, he lost his identity.
It seemed to show me just how powerful a label is in today's society. I know this may not go with the reading as much as I would have liked but i thought that a personal experience would be better fitting to show just how much stereotypes and labels from society and TV can really mess with the way someone acts and thinks.

According to the article about bigotry....we are all racists. To a degree I agree. Some people are racist to a group because of personal experience, while the majority of others are racist because of how they were raised. There have been times when I have sat with some friends and discussed everything and anything that came up. One time my friend asked, "Why do people in Iraq, hate Americans?" First of all, personally I hate when people from the US are called Americans. I don't hate Americans, but rather the name. If one is to look at an atlas there is no 'America' 'Canada' and "Mexico.' But rather a North America and a South America. Thus everyone that is a part of these continents are part of the Americas. The US just happens to be the United States of America...not America itself...ok now that that is out of the way, i can get to my actualy topic. So why do many people in the Middle East hate people from the US? I believe that many of the people that hate us...were raised that way from when they were little. Thus when they get older they come into a world that dislikes this group of people, and if the majority dislikes them..then there must be a reason and so a new generation grows disliking the US. Now this is not saying that there is no other reason for their hate. Quite the contrary, i believe there are tons of reasons...but that will be later.

As well it is not just in other countries that this is evident but in our own aswell...yes another story. I was sitting in a coffee shop with my friend Jimmy. As we are sitting in the shop a group of children walk in and sit down with one guy and they begin talking about politics and philosophy and the recent news. Now these children are about about 10-12 years old. While they are talking one of the kids decides he will tell a joke. And so he says, "Hey guys. Did you hear about all the Mexicans that went out in protest and Rallied in downtown last week? Yea there were like a thousand of them..." at this point all of his friends have crowded around to see what is so special about this. "..yea they all came in one car." now at this I chuckled, because me and my friends had joked about this same topic, but I was rather disturbed to the roar of laughter behind me, all coming from these 10 year olds. it was this moment that I realized we have a problem. When children that are not even in middle school know about stereotypes of a race, and understand what it means, really bugged me. At that moment me and my friend got up and left the shop. It surprised me that I felt angry, and yet later on I realized it was just how we are. And though you probably don't know and may not believe me, I am Mexican, or Mexican American, or chicano or Latino or any other label you want. So do you see me any different?

February 6, 2007

Cop Killer or Poetic Interp?

When I read this article I was shocked...but i wasn't surprised. This world has become a world divided by color and class. And no matter how many people try to bring everyone together, separation will always be apparent. This isn't because we aren't trying hard enough or that those in power are too good at keeping this on going feud and battle for equality vs exploitation. No I believe that the reason we have so much division, is because that is the world that we are all brought up in. No matter your race, class or creed, the world raises its youth to divide and to judge. It is my own personal belief that a person fighting for equality, is only separating many farther apart because they are acknowledging the division. How can one bring about equality, if the person refers to groups as 'us' and 'them'? So I don't blame the companties for doing what they did and interpreting the lyrics the way they did, but if you were in power and a song came out by a popular artist saying he is going to kill your form of law enforcement...wouldn't you try to stop it, regardless of perspective? I mean in the recent decades the world has traded in their scientists, revolutionaries, youth leaders and even political leader as heros for actors, artist both painting and music, and authors. We live in a world of ongoing fads and the popular trends that are influenced by these people. Now in no way am I saying that perspective has no validity in the matter, because when it comes to that issue I am all for it. Certain people grow in certain environments, my expressions and what I write about are greatly influenced by my upbringing and experiences.
Now onto the other perspective, though I have not lived through it, i can get a sense as to the feeling behind what people go through in these situations. I have watched many videos of 'blacks' during riots and their 'encounters' with police, but it never phased me, because i could not really relate. But then last semester I saw many videos on the injustices facing latinos in the recent decades. It was when I saw these videos that i really got a sense of what was going on. I relate to the Latino population because I am latino, though many have told me that I don't look it, this fact has only made me more passionate about this topic. Since watching those video, I do not hate cops, but rather dispise the idea of riot poilce. Their pressense at any protest only makes people feel uneasy and thus one wrong move from either side, one misconception or misperception and those that showed up unarmed and trying to fight for a better living, are the ones that get hurt the most. Please if you read this, help me understand how grabbing a girl in high school from her hair, dragging her to the ground and then hitting her with a baton is in any way, keeping the peace and taking control of a situation. I mean if this is what we do to protect and keep order, I hate to see what our armed forces are willing to do when there is real trouble...but i guess we already know the extent of that, whether all the information is true or not.

I don't hate cops, they are people doing their jobs, and for that I respect them, but as i have heard before "power corrupts" and it is the methods and mentality that amny of these people take that really does not sit well with me.

January 30, 2007

This is my Shitty First Draft...

Ahh shitty first drafts. The name really caught my attention at first. And as I read the reading, i realized why I felt bad about my paper whenever I turned them in, in High School. During High School, i would wait until the night before and write the paper starting at 10pm. I always thought this was when I would get my ideas flowing and would be able to write my best, sort of. See every time I finished the paper, I would re-read it and believe that it was the best thing ever, and when I turned it in, my teachers thought it was good and well written as well. But when I would get the paper back I often re-read it and realized that there was so much more that I had to write or express in the paper and I would ask myself, man why do I always get great ideas, after the assignment is due. Well now I know. See just like the author described the way she writes her first drafts, by simply putting everything on her mind in the paper, I too did that, but with a little more restraint on what I actually out down. I now realize it really does help to write a first draft, take a break, read it and then rewrite it, because though many thought my writing was great in the first place, what would they have thought if I had taken more time on it and revised it?
Now back to the reading. Another thing I liked about this reading was that, well i guess I already stated it, but she had so much in common with me. When I am writing something or doing any homework, many different thoughts on other things I could be doing break into my head or I’ll get up and get something to eat, then check my mail or watch a little TV. Its nice to know that though I am just a normal nobody in the grand scheme of life, that one who has made it and is successful to an extent has the same mannerism that I do. This gave me hope that maybe one day i might become a writer, and possibly help someone else out in some way.

January 23, 2007

Ways of Seeing

The excerpt from “Ways of Seeing? by John Berger, was a difficult read, but an interesting one none the less. I found that the way the author writes is not like most texts on a subject. Where usual texts tell me the facts and how I should see something, the author seemed to make the text more of a informational conversation. As I was reading I was reminded of my friend Grace who never stops talking and tells me whatever is on her mind. Similarly, it was like John sat at his computer and wrote me a long email about what he thought about art, explaining what he meant as he went along but in a franticly rushed sort of way that at times I wasn‘t sure what was going through his head. An example of this was when he was talking about mystification on page 468. He discusses how society’s present assumptions about art obscures the past. About how when one looks at a painting now, they attempt to use history to explain its meaning, but at times when dwelling on the past, we can make it harder to see the true meaning. It was only after re-reading the last couple paragraphs multiple times that I began to see into the thought process of my ecstatic friend John.
One particular part of the reading that I found a little like common sense but at times lost in the drama of the world was that perspectives are subject to ones experiences or beliefs. Many times I have seen something or heard a comment and wondered, “How could they say that? What is so special about this place?? It is only after realizing this idea that I can understand how so many different ideas and beliefs can be expressed by ever person. Now if only we could learn to respect others’ beliefs and not judge that which is different from our own.
What do reproductions do to art? I really hadn’t ever thought about it till after reading this. I guess that in a way by reproducing famous works and making them available to all of society, one who can not afford to see the originals can still experience a glimmer of the beauty and awe of art. But as a down side, by making a painting available for everyone the original can seem to lose its uniqueness and importance. The way I see it, if the Statue of Liberty of the US, the Eiffel Tower of France or the Pyramids of Egypt or Mexico could be found in every town all over the world, would you feel any significance in traveling to see the original, if you could see an exact replica in your backyard? I believe that many would not take the time or get everything they could out of the experience if they did travel to the origins of these marvelous masterpieces.