April 7th, 2009

What a powerful play. When I started reading it I was not that interested. After watching the performance in class I went home and finished the play. It is hard for me to comment on the reading outside of the movie, because the filming really made the point.

Smith was completely psychzophrenic in her performance. At first the different personalities and different view points lead me to believe that the L.A riots were completely complex, and there is nothing that can fix what did happen or what will happen. I was confused what Smith was trying to convey. Through emotion, smith expressed the LA riots in the most simple of terms, everyone involved was human. All of the personalities had different opinions on the justification of the verdict, and the riots that followed, but the underlining theme was that they were all in fear. Even the most angry rioter was rioting because he feared the government. Not only where they all in fear, but they were all in pain. Some reacted with violence, and other with tears.

I tried to read the novel in terms of where were the police, or what were institutions doing. But I found this counter to the purpose of the play. The play may have focused on the people who were forever changed by the riots to accentuate the lack of police involved. But as I read it, she brought to light how everyone felt. There were deep cultural issues. The classic teenage phrase sums up what I think “Nobody Understands Me.”
Nobody understands that store owners lose money from kids who DO steal from their stores
Nobody understands that just because Im a black kids in a mini market means I am going to steal something
Nobody understands that just because I speak mexican does not mean that I am in a gang

the list goes on and on, but these stereotypes do feed out of something that does exist. There is a blindness in American toward other cultures this creates fear, and often hysteria, but worse of all it leads to misunderstandings.


April 1st, 2009

After Reading this article I was really motivated to search on youtube for news coverings of the trial and of the Riots. Of course I had to take in some bias as some were montages of ridiculous and racially charged statements. But I cannot say I was shocked. It did make me question how civilized America really is.

One of the quotes that really made me think was ” A serious discussion of race must begin not with the problems of black people but with the flaws of American Society.” In an embedded sense of tolerance, many issues have become taboo. Can you really talk about race if there is a black person present? Does that change what you would say? I like this quote because the issue of race discrimination does not solely effect the black community in America, but all Americans.

These readings are becoming more frustrating. A repetition of the completely hopeless facts. I do not question their validity, it is their validity that makes them frustrating. My question is so what? Why are we learning this? Because to simply be aware that these issues exist is not enough. But that is all this class is focused on…asking questions. Where are the solutions, I dont mean theoretical solutions that are purposed in many scholarly readings. The question is what can we do? Can I really change anything that happens in LA? Sounds hopeless, but thats merely a reflection of the readings.

Born in East L.A and Chapter 5

March 30th, 2009

Davis again leads us into the complexities of LA street life, specifically here in the drug wars, and gang wars which often have more similarities than not. The LAPD is fighting in the gang war as well, but they do not strike at the heart of the matter. Poverty is a leading factor in why youth become involved in gangs. Gangs not only offer protection in a dangerous city, but also give support. By fighting crime, the LAPD is fighting the effects of poverty, but is surely not fighting poverty directly. But as the cops get tougher, the crime only increases. Davis described the LAPD to be much more concerned with power than justice.
Is the LAPD corrupt, or just frustrated in its never ending task?

Born in East LA

Fregoso analyzed the movie in a much more meticulous manner than I. As I watched it I could not bear the use of typical humor to convey the specified political critics. Obviously there would be a hot woman, and obviously everyone would turn their heads. This scene was completely too long, and the point was obvious, and displayed in a less than creative way. Clearly he would get deported to Mexico and do all the stereotypical jobs in order to get across the American boarder. Fregoso may have analyzed excessively a film that was undeserving.

How has this movie changed the way you see the boarder of Mexico and the U.S?

homeowners, and fuck the police

March 23rd, 2009

Davis pointed out the complexities of Homeowners societies, interesting, but daunting. When there are so many differences, the solution seems to be buried and only pieces are found at a time. But Davis compared street people to untouchables in the caste system in India. In India it is a part of their culture, but on the basis of religion. But in LA it is on the basis of fear. As the communities become more homogeneous in race and class, with less contact to the outside it reminds me of the movie “Signs.” The movie is so suspenseful because you do not see an alien until halfway through the movie. The movie makes you scare yourself. Your imagination creates an alien that is much scarier than any costume artist could create. But this actually becomes the case when communities only see each other, and when the media can make any small breaking and entering into a terrifying display of what The Other is capable of.

The next chapter (nearing the end) was one of my favorite readings of the semester. I listen to Ice T, Ice Cube, N.W.A, Public Enemy and LA punk rockers, The Germs, X, NOFX, Black Flag, The gears, Youth Brigade and others. It was a chapter academically saying Fuck the Police, which I loved. Both Punk and hip hop, though totally separate genres of music have similar ideals. A huge emphasis on revolution (usually socialist) and a continuing hope. The destruction of public space would be seen by both as a horrifying display of the power of the elite, which was a category that was entirely off limits to them (due mainly to class and race).

These chapters examined the perverted understandings of the Freedom of Property, and Freedom to assemble.

Does L.A have the right to home owners societies? Are the home owners societies acting outside of their right to organize?

Am I just Naive?

March 17th, 2009

I did not enjoy this book. It was really tough to get through. I am not trying to deny that this happened in war-time America. The beginning is completely depressing. Bob seems like a complete mad man trying to deal with his anger. Unfortunately he had a pretty unstable use of anger. Anger can be a great thing, especially when faced with injustice. It can give a person the strength or courage to rise up and fight. Anger can get completed twisted when it burrs reason. Bob would have completely justifiable anger, but he would leap past all reason to revenge. It was again disappointing when Alice convinced him how to be content. True, the white man could not have control over their property, or their family. But being silent to injustice is cowardly. But again I am struck by this too.
First how could Bob not have a chip on his shoulder, and how could he keep from getting angry for every action of the white man? Whenever he got angry and showed it, it was just what black people do. They get angry, and it played into white dominance. Everything wrong he did was blamed on his color. If he ever did anything right it was either unnoticed or proved that he was a “higher negro.”

This book brought about important issues about identity, race, gender, and war-time America. But it was hard to stomach.

What should Bob have done to keep from getting in trouble, but to protest how he was being treated?

The Great Thirst

March 9th, 2009

While the title is great, the reading proved to be quite dry. Here is yet another example of how bureaucracy can really scramble and confuse the local democracy. The dominate people are thinking about one thing (which is usually money), but is always self centered. But more interesting to me is the geography of this whole situation. Because I am taking an intro geography the city of Los Angela in their relationship to water sparks a flame.

Why would anyone build a city, destined to grow, in an area that does not have the resources to sustain such growth? Why attract more people to move in and then why cater to them? In this situation expansion was the driving force behind this city, with little thought given to the geography of the city. Once the new comers move, and bring their money with them water must become readily available in a climate and location where it is unnatural. The article slightly mentioned the environmental problems that the dams and other solutions created, mainly because it was not their point. They focused on imperialism as it applied to the natives of the area. But I was much more interested in the geographical consequences of the unnatural placement of the city rather the constant domination of the white man over the other.

Is the water situation we read about a detailed account of the failure of democracy?


February 25th, 2009

Though the points in this article were valid and well supported, I don’t understand the point in reading it. It is addressed to scholars and mainly historians, warning them not to teach children to love their country. Instead of focusing on how the country is terrible or wonderful, the literature should teach how these identities are constructed. Instead of scholarship complying with nationalism, it must be aware of the effect. Yes, it is noble but not relevant. We are learning about how cultures and relationships cannot be isolated and that they are not set in stone but changing all the time. This just seems like another piece of scholarship to prove this point. This article offers a solution that is less than enough and unlikely to have a significant impact.

Have you learned about the Zapatista movement? How does this article speak about it differently than how you learned about it?

Equal Rights as Political fiction

February 23rd, 2009

Lisa Lowe made a harsh statement that equal rights are a political fiction, while offering a solution in engaging the past to secure the future. Through her specific research, and also in applying this to other immigrants in American history, equal rights do prove to be quite fictitious. It is equal rights that draw countless immigrants to have the chance at the American dream. Though American culture promotes this dream, American history debases it. Equal rights, as I have learned, is at the core of American politics in writing, but in action it has little influence. This core seems now to be an illusion.
Lowe points out that Asian American immigration is distinctive from that of other immigrant groups in relation to U.S. citizenship in that it is open to cross-race and cross-national possibilities. Asian immigrants have built horizontal communities, not looking at the state/citizen relationship as the ultimate superstructure of society.

Yo momma so fat

February 18th, 2009

The introduction and first chapter that we read by Kelly demonstrates how academia can be simply ridiculous. After usually being annoyed from my readings in Sociology, History, Geography, and Anthropology classes, finally I find a scholar who finds his scholarship in the simple matters. While other scholars look for psychiatric and social reasons for phenomena they forget to look at the simple aspects. The first chapter addresses an intelligent though brief analysis on Ice Cube, rap’s original gangster. Scholars as well as fearful mothers read lyrics that were literally terrifying, without understanding they are much deeper. The bizarre thing is that Ice cube is bitingly forward about why he raps, and even why he has sex rhymes. How many times has he been called prejudiced against whites, Koreans, Mexicans? Or even sexist against women? As Ice Cube says in his own words, “A Black Woman is my manager so will you please stop bitching”
So my response to this reading turned more into talking about Ice Cube, but I am extremely encouraged about how Kelly challenges scholars. Many believe that you can only be scholarly if you step outside of what is happening, apart from bias. Kelly mocks the critics as they forget to see what black culture is all about. Though Kelly critiques scholars for not understanding the complexity of the poor culture, he displays simple analysis of what they miss. The problem is, when a problem is too complex, what kind of model can be used to understand and fix it?

Marxism and class distinction

February 16th, 2009

Williams stated that we can free ourselves from an area or category once we better understand the embedded contradictions of the superstructure; the super structure itself need not be studied but rather the complex idea of determination.

The theoretical terms used to discuss class make it is hard to understand the examples or practicality of the matter.
Determination brings into the class structure something more than individualism, which is free will.
Williams never specifically addresses freewill in the chapters that we read but points to it in his critique of Marxism in the form of consciousness. In marxist theory, consciousness is completely a product of social conditioning. Here it is impossible for anyone to break out of the mold. Americans pride themselves on self-determination and Horatio Algers’ stories no matter how rare they have become. We can not deny the immense impact of social and economic conditioning, and some situations are much more influential than others. The single black mother in the projects has a class distinction that has more restrictions than the white suburban mother who has completed college. The theory of class has little to do in such clear cut realities. Is it really class that leaves the single black mother in her situation? No. There are no options to escape. Free will comes back into play in this situation. Does one freely chose to stay in their class?

Can determination truly free someone from their given class?
Are classes in America clearly defined and abided by?