Month: August 2017

The Other’s Burden

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Their transgressions, the others; those who followed the lying soul. Black as the icy night, he who has brought upon us these darken days.

With weeping eyes, the world watches, and we are pierced for their iniquities; with bitter pride, they march in lock step; all like sheep being led away.

The light has gone and the world buckles in the stormy night; weakened by their transgressions, each of us has turned to our own way, burdened by the iniquities of the others.

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Race and the National Anthem

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I can only imagine the anxiety the young quarterback must have felt as the team walked out from under the protection of the dark tunnel and out onto the field. The quivering butterflies in the stomach, the dry mouth, as teammates walked by patting each other on the shoulder or rear offering encouragement for the contest that was to come. It was that time of year again, autumn, football season, the opening contest of a sixteen-week campaign. As Colin Kaepernick stared down at his cleats the preseason game he was about to play in was the last thing on his mind. Colin was thinking instead of Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, and Walter Scott just to name a few of the victims of police shootings that occurred in 2015.

I’m sure he was also thinking of the consequences of the action he was about to take. I’m not sure he expected the fallout to be so immediate and fierce, but it was. It was a crisp autumn night and the temperature was steadily dropping, perfect weather for football. As game time drew near players and coaches gathered on the sideline and prepared to pay homage to our great nation. The men stood and stiffened and placed their hands over their heart or respectfully behind their backs. Heads bowed as the start of the national anthem begun. Colin Kaepernick would not stand. He could not stand and honor the symbol of oppression for so many.

As the last notes of the national anthem float skyward and faded into the purplish black night, the fire storm began. I don’t believe Colin Kaepernick ever intended to be the face of a movement. I think this is a guy who woke up one morning and heard about yet another senseless killing of an unarmed African American citizen and simply decided to make a stand in the best way he knew how. Why, you ask, would a young, rich, professional athlete who from any rational outside observation appears to have it all decided to one day refuse to stand for the national anthem?

His explanation was simple and to the point. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,”(Wyche) Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”(Wyche) I would guess that there are millions of African Americans that feel that same way about the national anthem.

In 2015 more than 102 unarmed African Americans were shot and killed by the police. (Mapping Police Violence). Unarmed African American and Hispanics being gunned, protest in major cities, minorities are skeptical about receiving any form of justice or accountability from behind the blue wall of silence. I didn’t see the first game that Colin Kaepernick’s protest began, but everyone I know was talking about it. Luckily I have the NFL channel and I was able to go back and see what everyone was talking about. I got home from work grabbed me a cold adult beverage and settled in on my favorite sofa to watch my favorite sport. As the national anthem began I to ease forward on my seat in anticipation of what Kaepernick was about to not do. Even though I knew it was coming it was still a bit of a shock for me to see a professional athlete refused to stand for the national anthem.

Honestly, I had never given Colin Kaepernick much thought before this. He plays for the 49ers and I’m a Bronco and Lions fan so the guy really wasn’t on my radar. Of course, I knew who he was, the guy can run like the wind and has a great arm. He is a top player just not one I followed. Kaepernick exploded onto the scene and took the national football league by storm a few years back taking his team to the playoffs and eventually to the Super Bowl where they lost. As the national anthem begins I noticed in a sea of crimson and gold a singular player sitting on the bench, it was Colin Kaepernick. After watching the game, I couldn’t help but wonder what the big deal was all about.

I understand that it’s the national anthem and it’s about respecting our flag and country, I get it. Honestly, after hearing him explain why he did it I found that I had a new-found respect for the guy. He didn’t run or try to hide. He sat at his locker after the game and looked the camera straight in the lens and said without any reservation and said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color” (Wyche).
Minorities being falsely arrested or murdered by peace officers is nothing new to the minority community. That sort of thing has been going on for generations.

What is new, is the exposure of the abuse to the mainstream. People outside the black community are now seeing it for themselves. The ability to claim self-defense or you were afraid for your life when someone is running away doesn’t quite carry the same impacted once you see on film an unarmed man/woman die simply for being a minority in the wrong place at the wrong time. It hits you in the core of your being to see the bullet impact a person and they stagger to the ground dying, wondering why. It’s a troubling thing to witness. Despite making up only a fraction of the population 2% to be exact of African American males between the ages of 15 and 34 comprised more than 15% of all deaths logged this year by an ongoing investigation into the use of deadly force by police.

Their rate of police-involved deaths was five times higher than for white men of the same age. (Swaine) It’s even more troubling when no one is held accountable for the taking of an innocent life. Only 10 of the 102 cases in 2015 where an unarmed black person was killed by police resulted in officer(s) being charged with a crime, and only two of these deaths resulted in convictions of officers involved. (Swaine)

I remember an incident with my son when he was young. We were out taking a walk in our suburban neighborhood. It’s a cozy cove with rows of neatly stacked bungalows sitting behind rows of well-manicured lawns. It was autumn so it was a getting cool, and the night was beginning to fall. My wife was wearing a jacket and my son and I were both wearing hoodies. Like most young kids at that age, my son was a bundle of energy and he just wanted to run ahead, I watched him for a moment as he ran ahead happily skipping and singing to himself. I noticed out of the corner of my eye a patrol car rolling by us. They slowed and eyed my wife and me for a moment then pulled ahead driving in the direction of my son.

I have never felt such a sense of fear and helplessness. I started to run after my son, but my wife grabbed my hand and whispered the police would only wonder why I was running and that could make the situation worse. She was terrified so I stopped and called him instead. I prayed that they wouldn’t mistake him for someone and do something drastic, all they saw I know was a young black boy wearing a hoodie running. I quickly called my son again and told him to stop running and to come back. He stopped and looked at my wife and me with a blank confused expression. The police rode on without an incident, and we hurried home. I was furious and humiliated because I knew that I was going to have to do one of the hardest things I would ever have to do in my life. I had to take away a little of my son’s childhood.

My son stood before me and my wife with the wide eyed innocence of a child as we struggle to find the words to explain to him that because of the color of our skin some policemen/women are going to view and treat him differently than some of his white friends. It was a life lesson that had to be taught way too soon, the rage inside me boiled as I fought back tears. This is not a conversation a parent should have to have with a child, but it’s a conversation that has happened or will happen in some form or another in every African American household at some point.

My friend called me a few days after I watched the game and asked me what I thought of the Kaepernick protest. The conversation began as they always did with us asking about the family, or wives, and children. He has three boys. His oldest is readjusting to society after being a guest of the state for a while. His second eldest is finalizing a divorce, and his youngest is starting to show signs of behavioral problems.

Still, the conversation was light and airy that is until the subject of Colin Kaepernick was broached. My friend asked me as a veteran was I just as offended by Kaepernicks action as he was. I told him that I was not, which seemed to catch him by surprise. I understand why Kaepernick decided to do what he did, I explained to my stunned friend. That Kaepernick has a platform and this is the way he chose to use it. My friend disagreed vehemently and argued that “What Kaep is doing is disrespecting to our troops and our country.”

I was taken aback. My friend had never displayed such passion for the troops or the flag for that matter before. We have known each other since we were both five and six years old and these were the very first semi patriotic words to ever come out of his mouth. We grew up in the same neighborhood, the fact that he was white and I was black rarely if ever came up. As I listen to him discuss Kaepernick and how he should respect the flag no matter what made it clear to me that white people and black people live in separate America’s when it comes to the police and the legal system. His answers seemed so right-wing to me, and he had never before this night struck me in that way before.

We went back and forth about how it was or wasn’t disrespectful to the many men and women who serve. I tried to explain to him that those of us who served in the military fought not only to protect our country but to preserve the rights of individual’s freedom in our country. We went around and around and the more we did the more he began to sound like one of those blathering anchors over on Fox News which was disturbing to me. He tried to hide his aggravation by making a joke about Donald Trump (who he voted for) not begin fit to serve as president, but like I’ve said I have known this guy a long time and I knew he was hot. “Picture this,” I continued. “It’s Monday night and you’re at a professional Football game it’s the New England Patriots at the San Francisco 49ers. The stadium is bustling with excited fans. It’s three minutes to game time and the PA announcer comes on the loud speaker and asks the eighty thousand fans to stand for the national anthem.

What if Tom Brady decided to take a knee during the national anthem? “He wouldn’t do that.” He quickly interjected. “But, what if he did?” I asked. There was a long silence on the other end of the phone before my friend answered. “I really don’t think he would do that.” He insisted. “Me either” I countered. “But what if he did?” after a short pause my friend answered as if I had taken all the wind out of his sails. “If Tom did that, he would be as bad as Kaep.” He said the words but they didn’t ring true. This is coming from a man I have known all my whole life who I know is no racist. It’s just an unconscious bias that we all have in one way or another. The reaction to Colin Kaepernick’s protest to the national anthem was swift and for the most part harsh. My friend and I often live in two different Americas. He has never been accosted by police at gunpoint while walking with his wife simply because he looked out of place in his own neighborhood like me and millions of minorities do every day. There is a double standard and I can say with almost one hundred percent certainty that if this was Tom Brady the reaction would be different. I’m not saying that there wouldn’t be those that disapproved. I believe they would be more muted.

I’m not sure there would be people questioning his motivation, or even his love for his country? This country has a history of disenfranchisement and bias against communities of color and to ignore it or pretend that it doesn’t exist is part of the problem. Discussing race has always been a difficult thing, but constructive dialogue and understanding is the only way that things are going to get better. Colin Kaepernick doesn’t hate his country and his protest has nothing to do with disrespecting the military. “I have great respect for men and women that have fought for this country,” Kaepernick stoically said during a media session Sunday” (Jacobs). Is Colin Kaepernick an unlikely vessel to put the spotlight back on an issue, maybe. A person of color living in a predominately white community. In an interview with Mr. Porter in The Journal, Colin discussed his feelings of isolation as a child. “I knew I was different to my parents and my older brother and sister,” the San Francisco 49ers quarterback shared. “I never felt that I was supposed to be white. Or black, either. My parents just wanted to let me be who I needed to be”(Corsello). Kaepernick was adopted by white parents and raised in Wisconsin in a predominately white community.

Although his adopted family always treated him with love and respected the older he got the more the outside world began to see him first by the color of his skin. Kaepernick recalls an incident when he was a teenager on vacation with his family checking into a motel. As the family checked in Kaepernick found himself alone waiting for his family. Across the lobby, the manager would watch the tall minority teenager lingering in the lobby waiting. The nervous manager watching his every move until he could build up the nerve to ask the towering teen, ‘Excuse me. Is there something I can help you with?” (Corsello) Colin Kaepernick said he could no longer watch silently, he thought about it and decided to not stand for the national anthem as a way of protesting what is happening in the African American community. Protesting to bring about change, what could be more American than that?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References
Corsello, Andrew. “Mr. Colin Kaepernick.” Mr. Porter. Web. <https://www.mrporter.com/journal/the-look/mr-colin-kaepernick/535&gt;.
Jacobs, Melissa. ““Don’t take Kaepernick’s protest as disrespect for military”.” Sports Illustrated. Web. <http://www.si.com/nfl/2016/08/29/colin-kaepernick-national-anthem-protest-49ers&gt;.
Swaine, Jon. ““Young black men killed by US police at highest rate in the year of 1,134 deaths”.” the guardian. Web. <https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/dec/31/the-counted-police-killings-2015-young-black-men&gt;.
Wyche, Steve. “Colin Kaepernick explains why he sat during national anthem.” NFL.com. Aug. 28, 2016. Web. <http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000691077/article/colin-kaepernick-explains-why-he-sat-during-&gt;.
Mapping Police Violence. “Unarmed Victims.” Mapping Police Violence. Web. <http://mappingpoliceviolence.org/unarmed/&gt;.

 

7 Ways To Boost The Metabolism

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Kick starting your metabolism is as easy as eating right, getting the proper amount at rest, and a few days of moderate exercise a week, that is it.

There is no magic pill. The only thing that is needed is a few small tweaks to your already busy life style and you will be well on your way to boosting your metabolism.

Below is a list of ways to boost your metabolism.

1) Eat more often – At least five or six times a day. Keep in mind I am not saying have three huge meals more like three medium meals and three healthy snacks. This keeps the blood sugar level and in the process cuts down on the cravings.

2) Build muscle – Studies have shown that one of quickest ways to boost the metabolism is to add lean muscle. Muscles are made up of metabolically active tissues, which need the energy to be built and maintain.

Fat tissue on the other hand just sits there basically just taking up space so if you want to boost your metabolism it is very important to begin a workout regime. I know with most people’s hectic schedule’s there isn’t much time set aside for trips to the gym.

If you don’t have the time or money to go to the gym there are things you can do in your home. A few push ups and sits ups in the morning or before bed will go along way boosting the metabolism.

3) Diet – Although eating more frequently will certainly help to boost the metabolism we have to be smart about what is consumed. Here is a short list of some of the foods that will help kick-start the metabolism. Foods like Fish, turkey, chicken, egg whites, fresh vegetables, and whole natural foods.

4) Cardio – You have to get moving. You need to get a least twenty minutes of cardio in at least three or four times a week. Walking, bike riding, jogging, whatever it is that you prefer this is a very important part of increasing your metabolism speed.

5) Water – It is very important to stay hydrated. Water plays a huge part when it comes to our digestive system. Extracting all the proper nutrients from the food, you consume and are a healthier alternative than the sugary counter part. At a minimum, a person should try to drink about 2 liters of water a day and more on workout days. Another added benefit of drinking more water is it water tends to simulate the feeling of being full.

6) Proper rest – It is very important to get the proper rest the body needs. Irregular sleep patterns can disrupt the metabolism. If possible you should try to get a solid eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.

7) Add Spicy – Curry, Cayenne, Jalapenos, Increase body temperature. Studies have shown that the body’s temperature and the metabolism are related thus if you raise your body temperature, you will also raise your metabolism.

 

From the Page to the Silver Screen: 3 Essential Screenwriting Tips

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It seems like everyone and their mother has a film script or a screenplay idea, the question is how can you make your screenplay stand out in a sea of bad scripts. It’s simple, follow these tips and watch your script go from the page to the silver screen.

Tips For Screenwriting

The most important part of any screenplay is the story. It doesn’t matter if your screenplay is in the perfect format, and completely error free. If the story is no good it won’t matter. The most important thing to remember is that it all begins and ends with the story.

1. Keep it simple.

A good screenplay in its most basic form is about someone doing something they really don’t want to do, but if they don’t do it something really bad will happen. Drama, in other words, conflict is what keeps the story moving and the reader reading.

2. Script Format

Having the right format is very important. If the script doesn’t look right on the page it is going to get tossed. It’s a harsh, but true reality. Not enough white on the page is a flashing red light signaling to the reader or producer that this screenwriter is not quite ready for primetime and off to the trash heap your script will go.

Know the proper format. There is no excuse for getting the format wrong; there are a lot of books out and even some free software that can help you get it right, use them.

3. Grammar

Take the time to spell check. It sounds simple and easy but you would be surprised at the number of people who don’t do this.
Being lazy, and doing things half-hearted will only get you half way there. Sending in a script without making sure that the grammar is correct sends the message that you’re not serious and that you are lazy. It’s not hard to do.

Take the time and check your grammar. There are a lot of good sites on the web that offer free trial periods, take advantage of them. I recommend using a couple of different ones that way you’ll be sure not to miss any mistakes. It is very important that your script looks and reads like a professional’s.

 

Losing Weight on the Cheap

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Do you want to know how to lose weight on the cheap? This is what worked for me; maybe it will help you drop those stubborn pounds that refuse to go away. I’m a former football player, and after I stopped playing I put on a few extra unwanted pounds.

I tried expensive diets and workouts plans, but nothing seemed to work and the only weight I was losing was coming out of my wallet.
I used to think in able to have a ripped beach body it was going to take a massive amount of time, money, and discipline, I was wrong.

In fact, after I made a few minor lifestyle changes the weight fall off a lot easier than I ever thought it would. The first thing I had to realize about losing weight is getting fit is not about looking good it is about being healthy; looking good thankfully is a by-product of being healthy and getting healthy doesn’t have to cost a ton of money.

For those who prefer going to the gym or working out with a trainer there are plenty of gyms that are offering discounts due to the bad economy, so finding an affordable gym shouldn’t be that hard. If you do choose to join a gym and you need a trainer, bring in your own if possible.

I am not saying this because of the qualifications of the trainers at the gym; not at all most professional trainers are surely qualified it’s just that if they work for the gym they will probably cost more because they have to pay a portion of their earnings to the gym.

If you decide to bring in your own trainer from outside the gym, that is a cost that will not be passed on to you. If you are like me and you do not have the time to hit the gym four days a week, or if you simply cannot afford it here is a cheap workout you can do in the comfort of your own home with minimum equipment.

The Equipment:

1) Three workout bands: yellow, blue, and black.
You can find them at any retail store for less than twenty dollars for the set. The great thing about exercise bands other than the fact that they are very cheap as you can do a whole workout with them.

2) Two thirty five pound dumbbells, another easy to find the item
If you want to try to save a few bucks you can get them used at Play it Again Sports, or you can find them at retail stores such as Meijer, Wal-mart, and even Target.

3) And as for my cardio, I have a treadmill, but if you do not have a treadmill, a regular brisk walk will do and the good thing about a walk is it is free. Getting fit does not have to cost a bundle of money and it does not have to take more than 30 or 40 minutes a day.

Try to exercise at least three times a week for 30 minutes and the pounds will begin to fall off. Small daily lifestyle changes are all it takes, instead of chips try fruit, instead of juice try water small changes like that make a huge difference.

Through the Eye’s of African American Writers

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The contribution of African Americans to this country has been enormous and rather it be writers like Olaudah Equiano who wrote of the struggles of slaves and fought to change it after becoming free or Ralph Ellison who centuries later wrote of the linger effects of slavery and the ongoing struggle of the descendants of those slaves for social, political, and economic equality.

The real power of the many prominent African American writers, poets, screenwriters, and novelist is their ability to provide insight into the world of black people and show it to people who may not be aware of issues facing the African American community. This gain knowledge is very often the catalyst that can and often brings about change. The first published work by an African American author came in the 18th century.

A narrative of the conditions of slavery is believed to be the first published author of African descent. Olaudah Equiano wrote of his experience as a kidnapped child sold into slavery. He provides the reader with a first-hand perspective of what it was like to be snatched from freedom and thrown into bondage. He writes of the culture shock, the horrors, and the experience of being treated as a thing and not a person.

He gives us a glimpse of the horrors he experienced, “When I looked round the ship too and saw a large furnace or copper boiling, and a multitude of black people of every description chained together, every one of their countenances expressing dejection and sorrow, I no longer doubted of my fate; and, quite overpowered with horror and anguish, I fell motionless on the deck and fainted” (Equiano).

This narrative and the many slave narratives that came after it was instrumental in giving a face to the victims of the horrible institution of slavery. Fredrick Douglas’s an autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845), immediately sold thousands of copies. In the period immediately before the Civil War, historians estimate that the book may have sold about 30,000 copies.

Another important author who wrote of her experience as a slave and the violence she endured was Harriet Jacobs. These narratives help large portions of society who may not have thought much about slavery one way or the other see the cruelty of the system.

These authors and many like them were the pioneers of many of the social conscious African Americans who came after them rather it be authors like Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois who wrote about issues pertaining to African American access to education and equal rights. Washington’s “Up From Slavery” (1901) appeared in close proximity to DuBois’s “Souls of Black Folk” (1903), both of which have become canonical in tracing the literary and political histories of African American thinkers.

In addition to being socially conscious, the early part of the 20th century also saw the dawning of prominent black poets and fiction writers who used their voice in a more artistic way to speak of the social conditions of blacks during their time. Modern poet Claude McKay notable poem “If We Must Die,” spoke the system racial discrimination and Jim Crow laws.

An important figure during the Harlem Renaissance which gave brought us prominent black voices like Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, and May Miller the most widely published female playwright of the Harlem Renaissance.

African American’s have contributed to this country rather it is by the sweat of their brow or the swap of the pen, their contributions have been many and are undeniable.

The Rise of The Self-Publisher

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Last night I went on Amazon searching for new authors to read and what I found was a little disheartening. After about thirty minutes of wading, through samples of stories that might have been better served being rewritten or edited, I gave up. This isn’t the first time I’ve had this experience. Please don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of very good writers coming out, and for the most part, my experiences have been good, I just think that there should be some sort of quality filter that one must go through to post to some of these self-publishing sites.

The urge to publish and read can sometimes hurt the quality of the product that is flooding the market. Trust me, I’m not throwing stones at anyone I’m sure I’m guilty of this as well. I understand the unstoppable urge to put something before it is ready. I think it taints the industry and makes it harder for those who are serious about writing to be taken seriously.

I believe self-publishing one’s own work is a good thing; it allows some very talented writers to be read that might not have had the opportunity otherwise. Self-publishing gives the writer more control and is virtually free to do which are good things. The flip side of that is a lack of quality control, which means almost anyone with a computer can write and publish their own work, rather it is good or bad and this, of course, floods the market making it harder to find talented writers to read.

Yesterday, as I searched I read a lot of samples that looked like first drafts. I honestly think that there should be a threshold that needs to be met. I’m talking about a review board not there to reject works but to enhance and offer support. Most of the samples weren’t bad they just seemed rushed. Let me reiterate, I think self-publishing is a fantastic opportunity for writers, but I do think that there should be a minimum threshold that should be met before anything goes to the market.

Is Artificial Intelligence Really a Threat?

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Is Artificial Intelligence (AI) really a threat? Possibly, but not likely. So why is this a debut that seems to be growing in intensity? One reason is the mystery that surrounds (AI) development coupled with prominent voices like Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking, and Elon Musk has warned humanity of the threat posed by artificial intelligence. Then, there is the explosion of (AI) themed television shows and movies. HBO’s “Westworld” and “Ex Machina” are just the most recent carnations of super intelligence, humanoid machines secretly plotting against their creators, us. Who can forget the calm, soothing, yet deadly voice of HAL 9000 of 2001: A Space Odyssey or the rampaging T-800 Model 101 Terminator played by Arnold Schwarzenegger walking through walls to kill Sarah Conner. The bottom line is there are no murderous cyborgs powered by super (AI) intent on our extinction. There is no credible proof that artificial intelligence (AI) now or in the future poses a threat to humankind.

YouGov took a survey for the British Science Association and found that 36% of people truly believe that artificial intelligence (AI) poses an existential threat to human survival. (Shead) The reason in large part is the fear of the unknown, the need for a bogey man/woman. The fact of the matter is the term “artificial intelligence” itself is a misnomer. (AI) is neither artificial nor all that intelligent. (Miller) Dr. Akli Adjaoute, founder and CEO of Brighterion, a San Francisco-based provider of (AI)and machine-learning software for healthcare and identity fraud, believes that “Computers, unlike people, have no imagination.” (Bertolucci) Computers are unable to think for themselves. They lack cognitive capabilities. Even powerful (AI) systems such as IBM’s Jeopardy! -winning Watson, don’t mimic the human brain. Computers need to be programmed, they need to be given the task to accomplish, they need human guidance. They do not have the ability to become self-aware.

The second reason is (AI) could never become a real threat to humanity is human beings. Human intervention would prevent this from ever happening. If we are smart enough to create something with super (AI) I’m sure we would be smart enough not to give it the power to destroy us. Further more, why would they want to destroy or control us? This fear of being dominated and the need to dominate is a very human characteristic. Humans have always had a penchant for pushing boundaries to the outer limits. Human beings are explorers by nature seeking the unknown. Rather, it by sailing beyond the flat horizon, or reaching skyward toward the outer limits of space, and now Artificial Intelligence. A being with (AI) would have no such desire.

Allen Institute CEO Oren Etzioni recently told CNBC, AI’s critics may be blurring the distinction between machines capable of performing instructions very efficiently, and truly autonomous systems that think and act independently. (Bertolucci) in summary, we do not have the capability to build an (AI) something that can freely think on its own mimicking the human brain.

Works cited

Bertolucci, Jeff. “No, AI Won’t Kill Us All.” informationweek.com. http://www.informationweek.com/big-data/big-data-analytics/no-ai-wont-kill-us-all/d/d-id/1319202

Milleri, Sean. “The Fascinating Truth About Why Artificial Intelligence Won’t Take Over the World.” alternet.org.
http://www.alternet.org/culture/fascinating-truth-about-why-artificial-intelligence-wont-take-over-

Shead, Sam. “Over a third of people think AI poses a threat to humanity.” businessinsider.com.
http://www.businessinsider.com/over-a-third-of-people-think-ai-poses-a-threat-to-humanity-2016-3

The Concept of Race

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Does race have any scientific validity, or is it a social construct without any biological meaning? Many mainstream scientists believe the latter. All modern humans originated in Africa and have only small variations in their genes. The race is understood to be a useful tool to elucidate human genetic diversity but is also understood to be a poorly defined marker of that diversity and an imprecise proxy for the relationship between ancestry and genetics (Gannon). Researchers of genomes from various parts of the world have found that there is no quantifiable genetic difference between people of African descent and those of European descent.

Even though there is no scientific proof to back up their theory many geneticists and social scientists still believe that human beings are genetically distinct and hold a special place in nature. There is no scientific validity when it comes to race and science. There is no biological gene that identifies a person by race. In the 19th and early 20th century, scientists believed “a race was the equivalent of a subspecies, so that it had meaningful biological utility (Ghose).

Race is a social constructed designed to place people into social boxes where they can be held down social and economically with privilege going to one group above others an example of this was Louis Agassiz and Samuel Morton’s book “Types of Mankind” (Understanding Race), Edward Long’s “History of Jamaica” where he viewed somewhere between whites and orangutans. In the 1820’s and 30’s, a Philadelphia physician named Samuel G. Morton collected and measured hundreds of human skulls to confirm that there were differences among the races. Morton was a proponent of polygenism, which theorized that the different races were different species, with separate origins. Morton assigned the highest brain capacity to Europeans—with the English highest of all. Although Morton was a scientist, he used his influence to make the case for black inferiority (Understanding Race).

Although there is clearly no scientific evidence or proof to support their claims that different races representing different species, proponents of the polygenist theory claimed to have believed that people of European decent represented those who were at the top of the hierarchy latter and those of African descent represented those at the bottom. Even Thomas Jefferson, founding father, and slave owner believed the misconception that blacks were a separate inferior species, “I advance it therefore as a suspicion only that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind” (Understanding race).

Frederick Douglass challenged the leading theorists of the American School of Anthropology, work by early “race scientists” who tried to prove that blacks were not the same species as whites, and their attempt to rob people of color of their history by claiming that the rulers of ancient Egypt were not Africans. The ramification and intentional damage of this pseudoscience can still be felt throughout minority communities, in particularly African American communities to this day hundreds of years later African Americans are still struggling to break the chains of social bondage placed upon them so many years ago, by a system that was designed to minimize and dehumanize them and other minorities. The culture and true history of African Americans are often stolen or altered to fit a more mainstream white American palate. The reality is biologically we all are almost identical, but socially and culturally we are viewed differently, and often treated as such.

References

Gannon, M. (2016, February 5). Race Is a Social Construct, Scientists Argue. Retrieved from

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/race-is-a-social-construct-scientists-argue/

Ghose, T. (2015, June 17). The science of Race. Retrieved from http://www.livescience.com/51245-what-is-ethnicity-racial-identity.html

The Paradox of Freedom and Slavery. Retrieved from http://www.understandingrace.org/history/gov/paradox.html

One Race or Several Species. Retrieved from http://www.understandingrace.org/history/science/one_race.html

 

 

 

The Matrix of Domination

The Matrix of Domination1

The definition of the matrix of domination as it is explained by Patricia Hill Collins is the interlocking system of oppression based on race, class, and sexuality. The Matrix of Domination was developed as a concept to represent the fact that to truly understand oppression we must understand its counter position of privilege (Women and Gender Studies). I will explore how identity politics (Civil rights, Feminism, and the LGBT movement) and the oppressive system that makes it more difficult for minorities to gain and maintain equal footing. I begin with African American civil rights and the oppressive system of slavery and the lingering effects which can still be felt to this day. We all know who held the privilege and benefited from slavery, the white antebellum societies of the south.

The southern states and in particular white men who were willing to divide into two warring factions to preserve their position of power and privilege over those of African descent. One of the ways they did this was by using fear and intimidation and murder. Another way was by not allowing them knowledge. Knowledge is power so slaves were not allowed to learn to read. Malnutrition was another way of maintaining control. By all accounts, slaves were fed just enough to be strong enough to work and were constantly hunger. What is true is that the African American has still yet to recover fully from the system of slavery and many of the tactics that were used back then have been modified and still used today. Since the end of slavery African American’s have still been systematically discriminated against rather it is the system of Jim Crow, housing discrimination, job discrimination, lack of educational opportunities, or a justice system slanted against them. This country has made some progress, but we still have a long way to go.

I move now to feminism in a system that still to this day refuses to pay women doing the same jobs as their male counter parts equally. In a system designed to preserve white male dominates women of every ethnic group and cultural background had struggled to find their way in the workplace. Certainly, there have been times when women dominated the work market during times when the country was at war and there was a lack of man power to do the available jobs. Those jobs were filled by women, but when the wars ended and the men returned home women were often fired or given menial positions for less pay. Although things have improved, but not nearly enough. There are still too many instances where women have been passed over or viewed as not smart or strong enough to do higher paying jobs. We have made up some distance regarding women and pay equality with President Obama signing as his first piece of legislation as president “Fair Pay Restoration Act” inspired by Lily Ledbetter.

I move now to the LGBT movement. Many have equated the LGBT movement with that of the civil rights movement. I agree that both African Americans and people in the LGBT community have faced many of the same discrimination in a system designed to minimize their power rather it be housing discrimination, equal civil rights and questions of gender identity. Unlike African Americans who can marry whom ever they choose and are able to leave benefits behind for their spouses, this is a battle many people in the gay community are still waging. The matrix of domination as responsive to human agency. Such thought views the world as a dynamic place where the goal is not merely to survive or to fit in or to cope; rather, it becomes a place where we feel ownership and accountability (Collins).

 

 

 

Refences

Collins, P. H. (1990). Black Feminist Thought in the Matrix of Domination. Retrieved from http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/45a/252.html

WOMEN AND GENDER STUDIES. Retrieved 2017, from http://wmst.gmu.edu/center/publications