arley is a commonwealth of academic and creative works that represents the excellence and diversity of PPCC’s student body. Showcasing these works in a visually dynamic way, Parley provides an ideal purlieu where ideas can be exchanged. All the while the reader is challenged, entertained, and empowered by vibrant and substantive content. Parley speaks volumes. Interspersed throughout Parley are works of art: paintings and photographs produced by PPCC students. The literary pieces include the winner of the Burns Memorial Poetry Contest, short stories, and a melting pot of essays. The subjects range from education, consumerism, post-traumatic stress disorder, solitary confinement, war, and human trafficking to immigration, the future of automobiles, popular music, and the identity and the reality of deaf culture, as well as the winners of Parley’s “What’s the Power of Your Discipline?” Essay Contest. Beyond the standard of excellence that Parley symbolizes, much more has been realized in the production of this academic journal.
Though they had their own catalysts for doing so, I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say that all those that submitted their work did so in the name of their voices being heard. At its heart, Parley serves as a venue where students of PPCC can speak their minds and be heard. You, as the reader, fulfill that inherent desire by taking notice of any of the voices showcased in Parley. There is quite a bit of honor in being recognized for one’s natural talents, just ask any of the students whose works were published.
A Look Behind the Scenes: haven’t felt this way since Junior Achievement in elementary school. To put it in perspective, the organizers of Junior Achievement started class by giving out plastic briefcases with planners and mini, accordion-style filing folders tucked away inside of them. Instead of reviewing division problems or breezing through another spelling test, the J.A. representatives asked each one of us about
our ambitions and how we aimed to realize them. With that, the room was aglow with the colors of about twenty different elementary school dreams; aspiring singers, quarterbacks, doctors, nurses, and astronauts all passionately shared their predictions on the years that lay ahead. After the brainstorm session, the instructors stressed the importance of setting and achieving goals. Most of what they said went over my head at the time, but I still picked up the gist of it. Goals are like lights that guide the way in a world filled with uncertainty. After their lecture, we were dubbed Junior Achievers and given our official Junior Achievement certificates of authenticity. I walked home clutching my briefcase, overcome by the butterflies that flapped incessantly in my stomach; I had never had been so excited about the future before. Every Tuesday and Thursday around 2:30 PM, as I made my way through the hallways and towards room 224, I always got the same butterflies that filled my stomach that day in the second grade. Everything about the class was a breath of fresh air. We never operated out of a text book. The direction of each class was determined by a heavy amount of discourse, which suited me perfectly since I love to hear myself talk. In this class, we were allowed to play to our own strengths. Artistic types naturally gravitated towards design, writers contributed essays, critics validated their criticism with hours spent analyzing submissions. Some even exercised connections outside of
class, all for the good of Parley. I have never been in an academic environment that encouraged students to express themselves in such constructive ways. I don’t think there was one day during this semester that Parley wasn’t on my mind in some way or another. On Mondays and Wednesdays I would daydream in other classes about whether or not I could get the assignment I was working on published in the journal. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, around noon, you could find me in the computer lab reading through submissions and occasionally printing them out. On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays I would take those same submissions and read them on lunch breaks at work. It was tough, but it gave me a sense of purpose. I wasn’t working hard for another grade on my transcript, I was playing my role as an editor for Parley. From this point on, as I keep trying to get where I want to go in life, I will carry my time on Parley’s editorial board as a gold standard of sorts. If I can find another environment that gets me this excited about the present and future, I will know that I am in the right place. ~William Cameron Barrett, Parley student editor
A thirty-two year old engineering student, J. David Klausmeier spent the last six years working as a teacher and interpreter in the Middle East. His interest in the petroleum industry motivated him to write on engineering, and he plans to study petroleum engineering as a transfer student at the Colorado School of Mines. (pg. 1)
Patrick W. Perrodin is a high school senior who enjoys telling stories through filmmaking, graphic design, animation, art, and photography. Googleâ€™s innovation captured his attention because of his fascination with the idea of making the impossible possible. (pg. 3)
Randy Poe is a 48 year old husband, father, and granddad, who decided to reinvent himself to get back to a love of graphic design, wanting to do anything artistic for a living. During his time at PPCC, he has come to LOVE photography, especially experimenting with his photos. Randy photographed Carhenge Caddy (pg. 5), an Americana sculpture, during a tornado warning in Alliance, Nebraska, and Clothes Pins (pg. 104) in Winter Park, CO last June.
Jenny Garza is transferring to UCCS in the fall to major in Psychology. Jenny photographed Liquid Bow Tie (pg. 8), Gestures With Letters (pg. 26), In the Dark — Jodi (pg. 42), Taqueria on South Circle (pg. 95) and Beginning and the End (pg.109). Her approach to education is a process of discovery and self-analysis. Moments of this process are observed in Jenny’s photography. (Jenny’s photograph by Anthony Graham.)
Jacob Jett aimlessly takes classes that sound interesting in the hope that someday he may decide on a major and get down to the serious business of doing something productive with his life. His essay was inspired by almost true events, and no effort has been made to protect or conceal the identities of the parties involved. (pg. 7)
William Cameron Barrett is a young and stylish gentleman with aspirations of becoming a Highbrow Heavyweight. He wrote “Grey New World” to further shine light on the insatiable maw of consumerism, a subject that he has always shown great interest in. (Foreword and pg. 11)
A mother of two, Rebekah J. Artman is a non-traditional, full-time student at Pikes Peak Community College focusing on English. Rebekah is passionate about the subject of home schooling because she and her husband educate their own children at home, and she wants the general public to understand more about the home schooling community. (pg. 13)
Regina Brigham is a mother and artist in Colorado Springs. After completing her degree at PPCC this spring, she will relocate to Southern California to attend Laguna Beach College of Art and Design for a Masters in Fine Art. Genaâ€™s lifelong passion for art and the ability to express her vision was realized under the teaching and mentorship she received at PPCC. Gena painted Transition Windows. (pg. 21)
Christine Wiabel Smith is a 2nd time college student, returning to school after a 28 year hiatus to concentrate on dual degrees in Fine Arts Photography and Communication. She photographed Momento Mori (pg. 13), Swarming Blackbirds (pg. 81), and Ghosts of the Past (pg. 88); the little ghost child on the left is actually her father in 1915, who grew up to be a WWII soldier and helped liberate concentration camps across Germany and Czechoslovakia.
Judith Jenkins is a Christian, an Army wife, a mother of four, and attends Pikes Peak Community College full time. Judith was intrigued by the eye paintings because of their intensity. She felt like she could see through the painting to a person. Judith photographed the paintings Transition Windows (pg. 21).
With children, volunteer work, and a degree and career in the field of microbiology, Valerie McInroe decided to return to school in fall 2011 at Pikes Peak Community College, this time majoring in art and psychology. Being Deaf herself and wanting to share Deaf culture with others, Valerie chose this topic for a psychology class. (pg. 23)
Jason Bender, 19, is a full-time student pursuing an Associates of Art in Music from Pikes Peak Community College. His passion for music is matched only by his love for writing, and “The Universal Tongue” represents an intriguing synthesis of these beloved interests. (pg. 33)
Rick Weddle currently attends Pikes Peak Community College full-time with the intention of pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business at the University of Colorado, followed by an MBA from Harvard Business School. Rick’s time spent abroad fostered an interest in art, especially that which gives an insight into different cultures and what feelings and emotion can be absorbed from them. (pg. 29)
Kelly M. Anderson, a 26-year-old native of Colorado Springs, studies journalism and dreams of becoming a features writer, as well as commemorating her mom, Nancy Anderson. Kelly mixed the inspiration of Hunter S. Thompson and his “gonzo journalism,” along with her intense passion for music in order to form a story that would captivate future audiences. (pg. 35)
Erin E. Ward, a forty-one-year-old part-time housewife, part-time student, is majoring in English at Pikes Peak Community College, and planning to attend CSU and return to PPCC as a professor of English. She loves her discipline because she believes that language can change lives. (pg. 39)
Matthew J. McCleland, a thirty-two year old husband, father, and fairly recent transplant to Colorado Springs, attends Pikes Peak Community College full-time majoring in Literature. The poem “well worn” came from an assignment requiring that he write from the perspective of the opposite sex in any situation. This is the first time that Matthew has won a poetry contest and he promises not to let it go to his head. (pg. 47)
Erin D. Fronczak is a 23 year old attending Pikes Peak Community College, currently deciding whether to be an English or Literature major. The nature of love and relationships is complex at best, but she believes, as her friend says, that “eternal love is not real; however, true love can be found anywhere you want.” Baudelaire speaks to that idea in “Her Hair” by describing a fleeting moment in beautiful language and with precise word choice. (pg. 41)
Aaron Friese is a veteran of the Army and the Iraq war, and he is currently attending Pikes Peak Community College with plans to study social work. “This I Believe” started as any other writing assignment but quickly became a way to inform others of the less discussed side of war, and brings many powerful emotions to the forefront. (pg. 49)
Benjamin Smith is a deeply motivated student that moved to Colorado Springs in the summer of 2008 in pursuit of his education. His inspiration stems from the logic of a brilliant linguist, the sacrifice soldiers give for their nation, his fascination with widespread psychological trauma, and social manipulation. (pg. 51)
Emma Luecke has always had a love and passion for writing. During an English course at Pikes Peak Community College, she was inspired to write about human trafficking after having worked with at-risk women in a red light district in Thailand. (pg. 63)
Ismael E. Vega Jr., a twenty-six year old medically retired soldier from Saint Paul, Minnesota, attends Pikes Peak Community College full-time, majoring in Psychology, with plans in attaining a PhD. All gave some and some gave all; this is Ismaelâ€™s tribute to his fallen brother so that he may live forever in these pages when he could not in real life. (pg. 59)
Deborah LaPorta is a forty-three year old single mother from Colorado Springs who works full-time and attends Pikes Peak Community College part-time majoring in English. As an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and an advocate for those who have dealt with similar issues, this allegorical essay was inspired as an expression of her personal and spiritual journey of healing. (pg. 71) Parley 2012
Gregory P. Smith, a 24 year old, self-taught digital artist, is currently studying for an Associate’s in Multimedia and Graphics Design with hopes to work in 3D Animation. The Angel was created in 2008, and it was inspired by The Wounded Angel by Finnish painter, Hugo Simberg. (pg. 73)
Genevieve Soriano is a current PPCC student planning to complete her bachelors in Nursing. The subject of prolonged solitary confinement in prisons sparked Genevieve’s interest because of her passion to advocate for the health and well-being of others. (pg. 77)
Kristen Springfield-Ramsay is a 35 year old mother and grandmother from Colorado Springs who attends Pikes Peak Community College full-time majoring in History. Kristen’s passion for History stems from her belief that by analyzing the past one can better understand the present, and attempt to prepare for the future. (pg. 75)
Allison Raposo, former Air Force Medic and wife and mother to one son (with son #2 due in June), is in the second year of her AA degree here at PPCC. She plans to transfer to CSU in Fall 2013 to major in either Journalism or English, minoring in Secondary Education. She has been fascinated by the Holocaust since age sixteen and really wanted to show a different perspective with this piece. (pg. 85 and photo Air Evac, pg. 54)
Lex Sanchez is a twenty-seven year old husband and father of one. He grew up in the U.S./ Mexico border town of El Paso, TX and was the first generation in his family born inside of the United States. Lex is currently enrolled part-time at PPCC and manages a small business in the Colorado Springs area. (pg. 91)
Elizabeth Thorpe is a Colorado native who is in love with the state. She likes to capture the amazing beauty with her photography and loves to cook with organic locally grown foods. This is Lizâ€™s first semester at Pikes Peak Community College. She hopes to gain an AA degree in something that is related to photography and culinary arts. (Untitled, pg. 98)
Amanda R. Childress is a twenty year old student living at home while attending Pikes Peak Community College. After completing her undergrad and graduate studies in psychology, she hopes to become a clinical psychologist. Writing this observation paper for SOC 102 allowed Amanda to see how diverse Colorado Springs truly is. (pg. 97)
Brian Griffith graduated from high school last spring and is now studying full-time at Pikes Peak Community College with plans to pursue a degree in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Soil and Water Resources. The science behind, necessity for, and opportunities in water resources have motivated Brian to learn more about the role water plays in peoplesâ€™ daily lives and plans to use that knowledge to make an impact in the world. (pg. 103) Parley 2012
Engineering: The Power of Innovation
n his 1982 novel Space, author James Michener writes that “scientists dream about doing great things. Engineers do them.” From mathematics, physics, geology, medicine, astronomy and myriad other disciplines, engineers synthesize solutions that allow mankind to solve its most basic problems. We build, improve and innovate. We take the raw materials of Earth – soil, metal and chemicals – and with nothing more than the skill of our hands and the experience passed on from those before us, we create. Liquid steel and glass become rigid skyscrapers, soft polymers are worked and shaped into sturdy prostheses, and dead organic matter is processed into the fuels that animate our world. Engineering actualizes man’s dreams; it exists at the boundaries of man’s ability, and pushes outwards. Through the engineer, humanity tames the unexplored frontiers of our universe: medicine, technology, computers and even space. Not content to simply understand the problem, the engineer concerns his self with tangible solutions and
their implementation. From Leonardo da Vinci in the 15th century, who dreamed of seeing man fly like a bird, to the modern computer engineer asking how a microchip can ‘think’ like a human, adherents of our discipline live by Browning’s sentiment that a man’s reach should exceed his grasp. The engineer, through his innovation, creates order in a chaotic world. Our universe is falling apart. The physicist names this state of disrepair ‘entropy’: ordered things, given enough time, tend to move to a state of disorder. Through engineering we oppose this slow march towards disorder. The biochemical engineer extends and improves the quality of life with groundbreaking medicines; the civil engineer defies the elements with safer roads and architecture; and the aerospace engineer resists gravity itself with lightweight airplanes and earthshaking rockets. It makes one wonder what unshakeable, immutable natural laws we’ll be looking back upon as outdated in the decades to come.
J. David Klausmeier
Maybe most importantly, an engineer extends and increases the quality of life. The examples of this are numerous: earthquakeresistant buildings in Japan, medical technologies like pacemakers and defibrillators, and the airbags in our automobiles. It’s impossible to find a place in the world that either hasn’t been affected positively by engineering, or doesn’t have the potential to be. Many people alive today – myself included – can look back on times where their lives were saved through technologies or medicines that were dreamed up by an engineer of some sort. Engineering exists as a powerful discipline because of the potential it offers: potential to save lives, potential to improve ourselves, and potential to realize our dreams. Its numerous sub-disciplines allow it to touch our lives in countless different ways. Through engineering, we build on the knowledge of our past and boldly stake claim in the future.
The Google Car
n March 2011, Sebastian Thrun, a robotics and artificial intelligence expert, declared, “I’m really looking forward to a time when generations after us look back at us and say how ridiculous it was that humans were driving cars” (Sebastian). He made this announcement at a conference for TED, a Technology Entertainment and Design forum. Although this prediction may sound farfetched, Thrun’s vision for the future has already been partially fulfilled. After leading the development of the first unmanned vehicle to complete the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Grand Challenge, Thrun collaborated with like-minded innovators to create a fleet of self-driving Toyotas for Google Inc. Thrun and Google believe replacing humans with computerized drivers will minimize travel time, conserve resources, and save lives; however, despite the advantages of autonomous technology, self-driving cars will also introduce a serious safety risk (Thrun). To enable the Google car to make timesaving judgments,
numerous electronic sensors feed the autonomous system with current information about the vehicle’s position and environment. Engineers outfitted each self-driving car with cameras, radar devices, a GPS sensor, a wheel encoder and an inertial measurement unit. The most important feature is the laser range finder installed on the roof of the car which generates a 360-degree, three-dimensional depiction of the vehicle’s surroundings. In the trunk of the car, a computer interprets all this data and calculates the swiftest route to a specified destination. Thanks to these special sensors, self-driving cars are more aware of their surroundings than humans and can quickly react to sudden changes in the environment. Google’s self-driving cars offer a promising solution to the hours wasted in traffic every day. Google aims to better utilize space, fuel, and money with their smart cars. These goals can be accomplished by programming autonomous vehicles to drive closer together, start and stop only when necessary and avoid potential collisions. Driving closer together
will allow more vehicles to drive through a green light at any given time, preventing road congestion. Likewise, accelerating car engines less frequently will save fuel and consequently money, which makes autonomous cars especially attractive in today’s economy. But the prevention of accidents will carry an even greater financial benefit. The preservation of resources makes autonomous cars especially attractive in today’s economy. In 2005, the total cost of the lifelong effects of traffic fatalities and injuries in the United States totaled over 99 billion dollars (“CDC”). Safer driving will result in fewer collisions and could potentially
eliminate this debt. More noteworthy than the economic benefit is Google’s claim that self-driving cars will save lives. Approximately 1.2 million people die on the world’s roads, and 50 million are injured, this doesn’t include the wildlife that is also harmed by human driven vehicles (“World”). Humans have had their chance to reduce the number of deaths caused by automobile accidents, and now it is technology’s turn to save humanity. An attempt to increase road safety in the United States has been to prohibit texting. Since 2005, lawmakers in 30 states have attempted to ban texting while driving, but their attempts have proved futile, Parley 2012
Patrick W. Perrodin
Autonomous vehicles are free from carnal self-driving cars offer a theoretically perfect alternative to
R andy P oe — “ carhenge and a 2010 investigation revealed that deaths actually increased in three out of four states studied after the new regulations (“IIHS”). Researchers attribute this rise in accidents to drivers who lower their phones beneath the steering wheel to avoid the detection of law enforcers (“IIHS”). This dangerous habit forces drivers to avert their eyes from the road to look at their phones. Human factors, such as drunkenness and inattention, cause an estimated 93 percent of accidents (Lum and Reagan, par. 12). Autonomous vehicles are free from carnal weaknesses; self-driving cars offer a theoretically perfect alternative to human drivers. Despite the advantages of Google’s technology, autonomous driving presents one major flaw. Today most accidents result from human factors, as well as mechanical failure and road hazards. But computer-based technology presents a new threat -- hackers. The Google car makes decisions based on code, if a hacker alters this code, the consequences
could prove to be deadly. An Internet connection increases the susceptibility of a self-driving car to a virus or remote hacker. If people hack personal computers, cellphones and government databases, what will stop them from attempting to disrupt the software in Google’s cars? As demonstrated by texting bans, laws cannot force citizens to abide by them; neither can laws shield autonomous vehicles from criminals. Although Google has not publicly commented on the vulnerability of their technology, the development team at Google must address this issue and take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of passengers. Due to Thrun’s dedication and the financial support of Google, self-driving cars have become a reality. But since they are still under development, autonomous cars will not be available to consumers in the near future. In his speech at the TED event, Thrun revealed his motivation for developing autonomous cars by telling the story of how his best friend
W orks C ited “CDC Study Finds Annual Cost of Motor Vehicle Crashes Exceeds $99 Billion.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. USA.gov, 2011. Web. 14 Nov. 2011. Google Self-Driving Cars - Chris Urmson at European Zeitgeist 2011. Perf. Chris Urmson. Zeitgeistminds, 2011. YouTube. Web. 19 Nov. 2011. “IIHS Status Report.” 45.10 (Sept. 28, 2011): 1-8. Web. 14 Nov. 2011. Lum, Harry and Jerry A. Reagan. “Interactive Highway Safety Design Model: Accident Predictive Module.” Public Roads. FHWA, 1995. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. Sebastian Thrun: Google’s Driverless Car. Perf. Sebastian Thrun. TED: Ideas Worth Spreading, 2011. TED Conferences, LLC. Web. 10 Nov. 2011. TEDx Brussels 2010 - Sebastian Thrun - Rethinking the Automobile. Perf. Sebastian Thrun. TEDxTalks, 2011. YouTube. Web. 10 Nov. 2011. Thrun, Sebastian. “What We’re Driving at.” The Official Google Blog. Google, 9 Oct. 2010. Web. 11 Nov. 2011. “World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention.” World Health Organization. WHO, 2011. Web. 19 Nov. 2011. Parley 2012
Patrick W. Perrodin
died in a car crash. After this traumatic incident, Thrun dedicated his life “to saving 1 million people every year” (Sebastian). Traffic-related deaths and injuries are projected to rise by 65 percent in the next 20 years (“World”). Thrun’s confidence in the Google self-driving car is manifested in following the statement: “My life will have failed if I can’t bring this technology to all of us” (TEDx). Already, Google has logged 190,000 miles driven autonomously without human intervention. Software improvements will prevent hackers from accessing Google’s code. The advantages of self-driving cars outweigh the disadvantages. Switching to autonomous vehicles would greatly reduce the risk of injuries and death. Once Google’s design is perfected, autonomous chauffeurs will quickly outnumber human drivers. In the future, people will adjust to the convenience of traveling without having to keep their eyes on the road.
Buyer Discretion is Advised
hile wandering through the grocery store a few weeks ago, my roommate reached for his Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. “Dude, why buy this?” I asked. “The store brand sits right next to it and it costs only a third what the other one does.” I grabbed the blue box and started to reshelve it. “This stuff tastes better,” he contended. He snatched the Kraft again and threw it back in the cart. “Of course it tastes better. It’s name brand.” I could hear his italics. Alec paid too much for his pasta and I sulked. Why would anyone spend more for something just because it had a special label on it? People have transformed themselves into walking billboards for Abercrombie. They have spent days in line to buy Nikes and even made a point to buy a particular brand of bottled water because it is somehow more refreshing than water out of a bottle manufactured by another company. Sporting a flashy and recognizable logo advertises to the
world that ‘I have excellent taste and therefore I have every right to feel superior to anybody who doesn’t make the same spending choices as I do.’ Companies compete to get noticed. They want consumers to identify their name with a feeling of worth and value. The idea of a product and the symbol that it represents becomes as critical as the product itself. The concept called brand building makes a consumer not only reach for a shiny box on the store shelf, but also helps answer that deep question we all face: Which macaroni truly represents me as a person? Conventional wisdom says that name brands carry more value than generic products. The consumer feels safe with the seal of quality that the brand guarantees. The generic product can only be a compromise. I consulted Google, convinced that I could sway my roommate’s thinking to the side of reason. I found that in many cases the company that manufactures the brand name product actually manufactures the
J enny G arza — “ liquid
bow tie ”
generic counterpart. Reynold’s Wrap produces not only aluminum foil for their own label but mile after mile of it goes into the boxes of generic foil that sit on the shelf right next to it. Store brand and name brand come off of the same assembly line in the same factory. The same story applies to drugs. The Food and Drug Administration requires any generic version of a drug to have the same active ingredient in similar doses to the brand name drug. Advil and Equate ibuprofen each relieve muscle pain. The federal government says so. I showed the results of my research to Alec. “Whatever, man. I can tell the difference,” he said. “My Great Value mac’n’cheese can destroy your Kraft any day of the week in the Pepsi challenge!” Alec grinned. “Prove it.” I boiled the noodles, measured the milk and butter, and mixed in the delightful and almost convincing cheese-like powder. I set two bowls of hot, golden pasta product in front of him on the kitchen table and offered a fork. He took a bite of the first, chewed carefully, thought for a moment, and swallowed. A sip of water, then the next bowl. The food had barely entered his mouth when he said, “This is the Kraft.”
He had it right. Damn. “I told you I could tell the difference,” he said. “What about the tinfoil?” I asked. “It’s the same thing! Why spend extra?” “Maybe aluminum foil isn’t such a big deal, but I like my macaroni more when it’s Kraft. Some things are better if you spend a little more. Hey, thanks for dinner.” Alec grabbed both bowls and sat in front of the television. Apparently he didn’t object so strongly to the generic that he wouldn’t eat it at all. As I washed the dishes I contemplated the scenario over. I based most of my spending decisions on cost yet the results of my experiment clearly indicated a difference between the generic and Kraft macaroni. Did I need to rethink my entire approach? I wandered through the house. I discovered that in many instances, even I had strayed from my cheaper-is-better mindset. Waves of hypocrisy came rolling off of my Apple computer. My Premier drum set mocked me from the basement. The craft microbrew in my refrigerator conveyed a subtle nose of spicy hops and crisis of faith. “But drums and computers and beer don’t count!” I told myself.
Opting for the generic every time the same dogmatic and narrow-minded as always buying the brand name.
â€œThey are different. They are worth it.â€? At that moment I understood. Alec the Wise Macaroni Sage had not argued merely in favor of brand name quality but for discretion. While I scoffed at the people who easily fell into the trap of advertising and label recognition, I had focused so hard on the dollars dwindling from my wallet that I had not considered that some products were in fact better than others. Each purchase needed to be weighed and considered on its own merit. Opting for the generic every time shows the same dogmatic and narrow-minded devotion as always buying the brand name. I still buy generic foil. I prefer to save money on generic aspirin, toothpaste, and hand soap. Now, though, I do pay a little more for socks, electronics, and motor oil. I donâ€™t buy Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, though. I gave the Pepsi challenge to myself and learned that I actually prefer the generic. Now I can at least enjoy my pasta with the contentment of someone who has made an informed choice.
Grey New World
long with pages including buy two get one free deals on bags of potato chips and discounts for sixteen ounce blocks of Velveeta cheese, college education has become common advertisement fodder for newspapers. A popular flyer for College America, an institution specializing in job training as well as education, features a man dressed in a cap and gown with a maniacal smile wiped across his face. Above his head he holds a laptop like a star performer holds an MVP trophy at the end of an All-Star game. Directly to the right of this display, in alarming letters, reads “LAPTOP” and beneath it the phrase “Use it in college and keep it when you graduate”. The flyer includes other inviting phrases such as “Evening, day, and online courses start monthly” and, “College America... Delivers training that employers need”. What could be more appealing than an institution that not only “Delivers training that employers need” at any point in the day, but also gives away free laptops? Higher education, as it is presented in this flyer, appears to be a win-win situation.
Though College America’s consumer-friendly approach is exercised to a point of excess, their actions reflect a growing trend in how many colleges are choosing to present themselves. Mark Edmundson, a professor at the University of Virginia, reports in “On the Uses of Liberal Education” that his university has slowly begun to acquiesce to the material needs of its students. Funding often goes towards “new dorms” and “ever-improving gyms, stocked with Stairmasters and Nautilus machines” (327). Edmundson reasons this simply as a means of gaining capital. Despite the fact that universities offer education, a process whose value is truly unquantifiable, they still need money in order to function properly, and in “an ever more competitive market” (328) such as college education, measures must be taken in order for universities to stay open. Higher education now resembles a meat market, like countless other profitable facets of culture in consumerdriven America. What sort of ethos exudes from a generation of students that are
off the fat of such ideals? Edmundson proposes enthusiasm as a possible combatant of a Brave New World style future. In the essay’s final moments, Edmundson declares that he hopes to inspire enthusiasm in his students by “getting back to a more exuberant style. I’ll be expostulating and arm waving into the new millennium” (336). Though this is an admirable approach, in order for it to work, Edmundson will have to exhibit enthusiasm in such a way that it becomes appealing to a generation that is, for the most part, repulsed by it. Is he familiar enough with the ideals of this generation to pull off such a feat? If he isn’t, one can only hope that he inspires someone who is, someone who can clear the blinding fog of consumerism from the minds of an entire generation of students.
William Cameron Barrett
basically customers in the eyes of competing universities? The vision that Mark Edmunson presents is a damning one. These students are politically correct super-consumers; mouths wide open with eyes turned obsessively back at themselves. Together they are a faceless procession slouching through an indolent parade of resounding greys. Whatever this procession deems worthy of consumption must entertain in some manner, otherwise it is ostracized and left to rot. Edmundson’s vision of his student body is eerily reminiscent of Aldous Huxley’s vision of the future found in Brave New World. The parallels between both visions are plain to see in a paragraph outlining possible consequences of a generation as consumer driven as this one,” These will be people who live for easy pleasures, for comfort and prosperity, who think of money first, then second, then third… who hug the status quo… they will be so pleased with themselves that they cannot imagine humanity could do any better” (335). The people that Edmundson imagines so clearly bear an uncanny resemblance to those that populate the fictional universe of Brave New World. Huxley’s vision is of a people utterly enamored with the status quo, so much so that they have long abandoned principles of freedom and individuality. Within the context of “On the Uses of Liberal Education” these very people appear to be making appearances at colleges all over the country. Can this generation of blasé super-consumers avert a future that will magnify their lazy ideals? Especially in a nation that insatiably feeds
The “S ” Word I
magine, if you will, three kids sitting around a dining room table with Mom at the head teaching them math. These kids are painfully shy and socially inept, and they haven’t the slightest idea of how to talk with other kids, especially ones their own age. They keep to themselves, talking and playing only with each other and maybe members of their own family. This is typically the stereotype associated with homeschooling. Granted, there are some homeschooling parents who, for whatever reason, cloister their children in their home and don’t allow them to interact with other children; however, this is the exception rather than the rule. In some cases, the parents do not prefer to keep their children isolated from society; they simply lack sufficient resources to provide the kind of social activities their kids need. In Homeschooling: A Path Rediscovered for Socialization, Education, and Family, Amy and Frank Vahid point out that people with various educational
C hristine W iabel S mith — “ momento
Rebekah J. Artman
backgrounds believe the stereotype that homeschoolers are social misfits: “…an administrator at Frank’s university, when presented with the idea of recruiting homeschoolers, was concerned about the cost and complexity of providing special programs to help students adjust socially” (Vahid 2008). Larry Winget captured this public attitude in a more glib way when he said, “My biggest issue when it comes to homeschooling is the socialization aspect… Kids need to get punked on, be bullied a bit and made fun of by their peers” (Winget 2010). Besides the fact that Winget sounds harsh and short-sighted, both he and Vahid’s administrator are either ignorant of or have chosen to ignore the facts concerning the socialization of homeschooled students. Seattle University researcher Linda Montgomery said that homeschooled students were more likely to have neighborhood jobs and were just as involved as public students in piano and guitar lessons, ballet and other dance lessons, boy scouts, girl scouts, and
4-H clubs. Patricia Schetter and Kandis Lighthall, in Homeschooling the Child with Autism, said, “Reseach has shown us that homeschooled children are in fact exposed to nearly the same number of social contacts as traditionally educated children.” After completing an interview with a homeschooled friend of mine on Facebook I learned she was just as, if not more, socially involved as a homeschooled student compared to when she was a public school student. For all the talk about socialization, conventional students are often so busy with coursework and homework they do not have time for social interactions and activities. Michelle Yauger, author of “She’s Got to Learn,” was concerned about her homeschooled daughter’s socialization, so she put her in school for a year in seventh grade. After Yauger’s daughter spent all day in classes, she was forced to spend hours on homework. Her daughter was no isolated case, but after becoming a traditional student she had no time to think about hanging out with her friends, some of whom were friends before she entered the school system. It seems students in conventional school settings are not afforded
the time and flexibility to be social outside of school. Cafi Cohen confirmed this in “The ‘S’ Word”: “Our kids had friends when they attended school. But after a year of homeschooling, I realized they had more friends than they had had while in school” (Cohen). More defines socialization than the general public and even educators seem to realize. It is not simply about a child playing on the playground with other children or eating in a crowded lunchroom, but about how the child interacts with others. A healthy self-concept and self-esteem both play pivotal roles in this process of socialization. Opponents of homeschooling tend to think that homeschooled students lack a good self-concept, and a 1994 Eric Digest report confirmed this: “Critics further allege that the self-concept of the homeschooled child suffers from lack of exposure to a more conventional environment” (Nola Aiex). The research, however, does not bear this out. Larry Shyers, Ph.D., of the University of Florida, conducted a study of 70 homeschooled and 70 conventionally schooled children. He found no difference in self-esteem between the two groups (Karl Bunday 2006).
Through childhood and adolescence they need healthy from and exposure to adults to develop their brains and ability to stand peer pressure
embraced by their peers” (Romanowski 2006). In traditional school, students learn to adapt so much to their peers they don’t learn to think for themselves and find out who they are as individuals. The problem is this process of self discovery and forming your own opinions is an integral part of socialization. In her book, Childhood Social Development, Wendy Craig drew from research conducted by Stanford Professor of Education William Damon in discussing the role of individuation in the social development of children. She wrote, “The second function that Damon mentions is individuation, or differentiation: the process of defining oneself as unique and distinct from others” (2). Craig went on to say that if a child does not learn to integrate the two functions— socialization and individuation—it may cause conflicts, social alienation, or aggressive behavior, as well as problems with cognitive and emotional development (2). Bullying is one type of negative socialization that homeschooling parents are trying to avoid. Bullying is a significant and prevalent problem in American public schools and in those in Europe. In “Bullying Among Children and Youth,” Susan Limber and Maury Nation wrote, “In a study of 207 junior high and high school students from small, Midwestern towns, 88 percent reported having observed bullying and 77 percent indicated that they had been victims of
Rebekah J. Artman
For parents of homeschoolers, traditional socialization is not enough. They want their children to enjoy a more positive and affirming socialization, and for the most part, they are getting it. A Minnesota homeschoolers group confirmed Thomas Smedley’s research into socialization among homeschoolers. The group wrote, “Smedley noted that public school students are socialized ‘horizontally’ into conformity by their same-age peers, while homeschooled students are socialized ‘vertically’ toward responsibility and adulthood by their parents.” An informational piece in CQ Researcher entitled “Homeschooling” quoted Editor Sheffer: “…’homeschoolers actually prefer their kind of social life, without all the cliques and snobbery you get in schools. They have a broader range of friends of all ages and types, and it doesn’t matter if your friends disagree or don’t wear the right clothes’” (library. cqpress.com). This affirming socialization is particularly important among pre-teen and adolescent girls. It is interesting that the gender issue is one of the deepest concerns of homeschooling’s critics. Michael Romanowski addressed this in “Revisiting the Common Myths about Homeschooling.” He wrote, “Regarding gender, Sheffer argues that facilitating peer-dependency is part of how schools short-change girls. In a study of self-esteem among adolescent girls, she found that unlike their public school counterparts, homeschooled girls did not typically lose confidence in themselves when their ideas and opinions were not
bullying during their school careers” (Limber and Nation 1998). Nestor Lopez-Duran drew from a British study to confirm this finding. British researchers studied 6,000 children ages 8, 10, and 12 and found that 46 percent of those (2,823) experienced some type of bullying; 14 percent reported chronic bullying. Debra Pepler and Craig reveal that bullying is a normal part of school life in Norway, Canada, Britain, and Ireland (116). On hearing this, people may respond with the old adage, “Kids will be kids,” and they may say kids need to “toughen up”; however, kids cannot simply “toughen up.” Through childhood and adolescence they need healthy guidance from and exposure to adults to develop their brains and ability to stand against peer pressure. Bunday mentions another study conducted by Shyers involved “…direct observation by trained observers, using a ‘blind’ procedure, found that homeschooled children had significantly fewer problem behaviors…than traditionally schooled children when playing in mixed groups of children from both kinds of schooling backgrounds… Shyers concluded that the hypothesis that contact with adults, rather than contact with other children, is most important in developing social skills in children is supported by these data” (Bunday 2006). Key findings in recent adolescent brain research confirm this: “Impulse control, planning, and decision-making are largely prefrontal cortex functions that are still maturing during
adolescence. Adult response to stimuli tends to be more intellectual, while teens’ is often ‘from the gut.’ This suggests that while the changeability of the adolescent brain is well-suited to meet the demands of teen life, guidance from adults are essential while this decisionmaking circuitry is being formed” (Weinberger, Elvevag, Giedd 2005). This research suggests the adult interaction homeschoolers typically get yields more benefits for them emotionally and psychologically than the same-age peer interaction conventional students receive, particularly in light of the problem of bullying. Despite the lackadaisical attitude of much of the general public concerning bullying, its effects and consequences can be serious. Craig wrote, “Recently in North America there have been several incidents where children who are bullied frequently or isolated from the mainstream peer groups have brought guns to school and shot teachers and students… Children who are regularly victimized suffer from anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, and academic problems” (Craig 2000). Few Americans will forget the 1999 tragedy at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, in which Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris took the lives of 13 students and wounded several others. While many factors contributed to their behavior, Klebold and Harris acted out in part because they felt persecuted, and were not accepted by the main cliques.
behavior rather than negative social interactions that may promote negative social behavior and attitudes” (Schetter and Kandis 2009). For the most part, homeschooling parents want the best for their children, and they want the public to understand this fact. The public needs to educate itself on who these 2.04 million children are instead of depending on their out-dated stereotypes and blanket assumptions. If people are truly concerned that homeschooled students lack what they need on a social level, they should work alongside homeschooling families in their neighborhoods, churches, and other places in the community to organize field trips and other social activities for these students. Most homeschooling parents would welcome it. Homeschooling parents are weary of fielding misinformed questions concerning “the ‘S’ word.” Yauger put it well when she said, “In the face of abysmal public school performance and declining academic competence among high school graduates, ‘socialization’ is still the fallback justification for why children should attend school” (web.ebscohost.com).
Rebekah J. Artman
Bullying and victimization also has a correlation with psychotic symptoms, which is evident in the cases of Klebold and Harris. LopezDuran wrote, “Being victimized during middle childhood doubled the risk of experiencing definite psychotic symptoms in early adolescence” (child-psych.org). Moreover, the older a child when he or she is first victimized, the worse the effect. An article in New Scientist commented that when an individual is victimized for the first time late into puberty they seem to become more aggressive and are more likely to turn to alcohol as a way of coping (Helen Phillips 2004). Lopez-Duran also points out that suicide can result from being a bullying victim. The author writes, “Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among pre-adolescents and teens, and victims of bullying are at an increased risk for committing suicide” (child-psych.org). Correlation does not necessarily indicate causation, and not all bullying victims become Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, nor will they all commit suicide. Homeschooled students are not immune to social problems or the stress of adolescence. Most homeschooling parents want the opportunity to exercise more control over their childrens’ social interactions so they can attempt to lessen the likelihood of these negative social experiences. Patricia Schetter and Kandis Lighthall point out, “According to April Chatham-Carpenter, homeschoolers are exposed to more positive social interactions that promote prosocial
W orks C ited Aiex, Nola Kortner. “Homeschooling and Socialization of Children.” Eric Digest. 1994. Web. Accessed Nov. 2011. Bunday, Karl M. “Socialization: A Great Reason Not to Go to School.” Learn in Freedom. 2006. Web. Accessed Nov. 2011. Cohen, Cafi. “The ‘S’ Word.” Web. Accessed Nov. 14, 2011. Craig, Wendy. Childhood Social Development. Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers Ltd. (2000). Web. Accessed Nov. 12, 2011. “Homeschooling.” CQ Researcher 4:33 (9 Sept. 1994). Web. Accessed Nov. 2011. “Homeschooling: Socialization not a problem.” The Washington Times. 13 Dec. 2009. Web. Accessed Nov. 3, 2011. Limber, Susan P., Nation, Maury M. “Bullying Among Children and Youth.” Juvenile Justice Bulletin. Apr. 1998. Web. Accessed Nov. 2011. Lopez-Duran, Nestor. “Bullying: What makes a child a bully or a victim?” Child-Psych. 14 Oct. 2009. Web. Accessed Nov. 14, 2011 “Bully victims may be at risk for developing psychotic symptoms.” Child-Psych. 11 May 2009. Web. Accessed Nov. 14, 2011.
Phillips, Helen. “Effects of bullying worse on teens.” New Scientist. 29 Oct. 2004. Web. Accessed Nov. 2011. Romanowski, Michael H. “Revisiting the Common Myths about Homeschooling.” The Clearing House. Jan/Feb 2006. Web. Accessed Nov. 17, 2011. Russell, Hannah. Email. Nov. 10, 2011. Schetter, Patricia, Lighthall, Kandis. Homeschooling the Child with Autism. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass (2009). Web. Accessed Nov. 2011. Vahid, Amy Schecter, Vahid, Frank. Homeschooling: Apath Rediscovered for Socialization, Education, and Family (2009). Web. Accessed Nov. 2011.
Rebekah J. Artman 20 Parley 2012
ransition Windows speaks of the fact that eyes give sight, but vision is internal. These three PPCC students, of three different age groups, represent the internal vision that exists in academia. Whether young or old, their ambitions will lead them on a journey through many transitions, and the way in which they overcome or embrace these transitions will lead them to see their dreams fulfilled. Eyes are merely windows into what we desire, but the manifestation of those desires requires internal vision. Genaâ€™s paintings won the 2011 Art Department contest to improve student learning sponsored by the Faculty Senate. The paintings will hang in a composition classroom on Centennial Campus, inspiring writing students every semester to inquire deeply and express uniquely.
he language used by the Deaf is referred to as American Sign Language, or ASL. ASL has a unique linguistic structure that differs from spoken English. Sign language systems around the world vary. There is British Sign Language, French Sign Language, American Sign Language, and even a unique sign language exclusively used in a mostly-deaf Bedouin village in Israel (Fox, 1). As it may be assumed, sign language isn’t universal in dialect. For example, the British and American spoken language are similar; however their sign language systems are very different. Even within the United States, regional signs exist for various commonly used words. Many Deaf people who use sign language refer to themselves as being part of a “deaf culture” or as the “deaf world.” This sentiment is shared by people of Deaf culture in the world over. Deaf Culture consists of those who use ASL. They see themselves as being Deaf with a capital D. The word “deaf,” as in the condition itself; includes a lowercase “d.” Levels of deafness can vary. Some Deaf
people can speak or even hear well enough to talk on the telephone. Deaf people prefer to refer to themselves as Deaf or deaf. Or even hardof-hearing, rather than hearing impaired. Deaf do not view themselves as impaired. Besides, the phrase “hearing impaired” includes those who are non-signers. “Deaf ” refers to people who are completely without hearing. People who can hear slightly call themselves “hard of hearing.” This commonly misused phrase isn’t taken lightly. Using “hearing impaired” when referencing the Deaf is as offensively analogous as is using the phrase “the sexually impaired” when speaking of homosexuals, or calling women, “non-men.” (Mask of Benevolence, 89) In the “hearing world” vs. the Deaf world, people see the basic difference between the two worlds as: “The act of ‘talking’ that clearly separates the two groups.” The ASL sign to describe those who can hear is located at the mouth rather than at the ears (Siple, et al, web). When writing about Deaf culture, an author may choose to use an upper or a lowercase “D.” In this paper you’ll notice I use
Deaf culture at that school. After leaving school, many Deaf people would find ways to maintain contact with other Deaf. Consequently, statistics have shown that 90% of deaf adults marry other deaf persons (Schein, 106).
Early History of Deaf Culture
Progressive Movement In Deaf Culture
In the early days of America, Deaf culture became available to those who were fortunate enough to live in a community that had a high deaf population, usually due to heredity. One such place was Martha’s Vineyard, a large island off the coast of Massachusetts. The hearing in this community communicated in sign language amongst their deaf friends and family members. They even signed with each other when the Deaf weren’t around (Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language, 23). In 1817, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet and Laurent Clerk opened a school for the Deaf, in Hartford, Connecticut (Lane, When the Mind Hears). In the 1860s, Gallaudet’s son was instrumental in founding a higher-education school that would become known as Gallaudet College (later University). Eventually, other schools for the deaf were established throughout the country. Many deaf children were sent to these residential schools, leaving families and communities that rarely knew sign language. If the deaf student did not already know sign language, they would acquire it at their school, and become part of a
Unfortunately, school administrators eventually decided on an oralism approach. Some may thank the influence of individuals such as Alexander Graham Bell. Bell had a deaf mother and a deaf wife, yet encouraged eugenics and was against the use of sign language (Lane, When The Mind Hears). The oral approach adopted by schools and the emphasis on speech training was often to the detriment of deaf students, who have difficulty with vocal literacy in spoken English (Sacks, 25). However, even if a residential school had an oral approach, often times students would manage to find a way to communicate with each other in sign language. Deaf clubs were used as a way for Deaf people to socialize. However, by the 1960s, Deaf clubs were on the wane. The rise of technology including TDDs (teletype devices for the deaf ), and captioning on TVs removed the need for Deaf clubs to rent captioned movies for their members (Deaf in America). Today, when Deaf people get together, it is more likely to be at regularly scheduled events such as Deaf bowling teams, Deaf chats at coffee houses, or at a Deaf Parley 2012
a capital “D” when referencing something or someone of Deaf Culture. I will also refer to those who can hear as “the hearing.” Not all of those who are deaf consider themselves to be Deaf; you’ll notice this difference in the spelling.
Professional Happy Hour (DPHH) that meet at local bars. Instead of Deaf club newsletters announcing events, now it is dedicated websites such as state-by-state Deaf coffee chat times and locations (deafcoffee. com, web) or Facebook event pages, such as the Colorado ASL page on Facebook (facebook.com, web).
Common Traits Within Deaf Culture Deaf culture is not based on one geographical location. Deaf culture is not similar to an ethnic group; a common heritage is not present. 90% of deaf children have hearing parents (Schein, 106) who often do not know sign language by the time the deafness is discovered – and few parents of Deaf children master ASL well enough to communicate effectively. Schein states: “Deaf people seek each other’s company, remain in contact with each other, share common interests…. even though separated by hundreds of miles. Thus, their social groups meet the criteria for a community”. (At Home Among Strangers, 10) When Deaf people meet for the first time, they ask each other where they are from, what schools were attended – and because the Deaf world is small, often will find that they both know at least one other Deaf person in common. While Deaf people are conversing, eye contact is important, since Deaf listen with their eyes. Looking away or wearing sunglasses while conversing is considered to be rude. Deaf people can converse across a
crowded room and can watch several conversations going on at once. The Deaf community is far from utopian or homogenous. Racial, sexual, educational, and economic distinctions do occur within the Deaf community (Schein, 11). Also, there are Deaf people with additional physical disabilities such as blindness or mental disabilities (Lane. The mask of Benevolence, xv). African- American Deaf authors Ernest Hairston and Linwood Smith pointed out that “no two deaf people are alike – we are all different…..we conclude that deafness has the same effect on a person despite racial, ethnic, or cultural background, but where Black deaf persons are concerned, the differentiating factor lies in being Black rather than in being deaf (Black and Deaf in America, 81).”
Concerns Within Today’s Deaf Culture While Deaf culture has evolved over time – for example, shifting from meeting at Deaf-owned club houses to meeting at bars for Deaf Professional Happy Hour – many Deaf people today are concerned that the Deaf culture is now in the process of dying out. Two main factors contribute to this concern. One is the increase of mainstreaming deaf students instead of sending them to Deaf institutes their parents are enrolling them in “regular” schools that have selfcontained deaf programs. Mainstreaming has always existed to some degree. Before Deaf institutes were established, it was the only option for deaf students- that is if they were sent to school at all. However,
J enny G arza — “ gestures
with letters ”
in the last thirty years there has been a continuous increase in mainstreaming. Lane states “nearly three-fourth of an estimated eighty thousand deaf school children in the United States now go to local schools with hearing children, and the specialized schools for deaf children they would have attended are closing...(Mask of Benevolence, 135). The other cause of concern is regarding cochlear implants. Cochlear implant technology consists of implanting a multichannel electrode within the cochlea. An exterior processor then stimulates the cochlea with low-level electrical current, providing sound. A cochlear implant doesn’t fully restore hearing; nor does it make a deaf person into a hearing person (Schein, 231). Now that cochlear implant technology
exists, parents of deaf children are often choosing this option. Thus, those undergoing cochlear implants often are also expected to undergo a rigorous regiment of speech training. Implant children are less likely to learn sign language at an early age and more likely to be mainstreamed. Cochlear implantation is a controversial issue within the Deaf community. Many in the Deaf community feel that they do not need to be “fixed” and that people who chose to have their children implanted are trying to “fix” their child. In recent years, adults have been medically allowed to receive implants. Deaf adults that elect to have implantation often remain part of the Deaf community, but often choose not to flaunt their implants (How the Deaf Community is Dealing with Cochlear Implants). Another concern that Deaf culture may be dying out is the perception that there is a decline of deaf births, due to improved medical conditions. There was a high incidence of Deaf people (such as myself ) born between 1964 and 1966 because of an epidemic of rubella (German measles) that spread across the country. During that time, women who were infected during pregnancy had a higher incidence of deaf babies born to them (Cohen, 271). This large group in the Deaf population is commonly called the “rubella bulge.
Conclusion Deaf culture is a unique component in American society. Those who are part of the Deaf culture often feel pride in belonging to it. There is pride in using the American Sign Language that facilitates communication between members of the Deaf Community. Although, the history and the pride of Deaf culture will carry through the future, the continual evolving changes may cause Deaf Culture to shrink to small numbers as a population. Deaf culture may never completely disappear altogether. Cochlear implant technology is still relatively young – some people implanted at an early age may choose to learn ASL and join Deaf culture, regardless of their hearing capabilities. It would be a shame to lose Deaf Culture, members find value in being part of group. It would be a shame to lose that sense of pride.
Implant children are likely to learn sign language at an early age likely to be mainstreamed. and
BIBLIOGRAPHY --------------------. When the Mind Hears: A History of the Deaf. New York: Vintage Books. 1989 Myers, David G. Psychology, Ninth Edition. New York: Worth Publishers. 2010 Padden, Carol and Humphries, Tom. Deaf in America Voices from a Culture. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. 1988 --------------------. Inside Deaf Culture. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. 2005 Sacks, Oliver. Seeing Voices: A Journey into the World of the Deaf. New York: Vintage Books. 1990 Schein, Jerome D. At Home Among Strangers. Washington DC: Gallaudet University Press. 1989 Siple, Linda; Greer, Leslie; Holcomb, Barbra Ray. Deaf Culture (PEPNet Tipsheet). pepnet.org. Web. Accessed November 10,2011.
Bragg, Lois, editor. Deaf World: A Historical Reader and Primary Sourcebook. New York: New York University Press. 2001 Cohen, Leah Hager. Train Go Sorry: Inside a Deaf World. New York: Vintage Books. 1994 Fischer, Renate and lane, Harlan (editors). Looking Back: A reader on the History of Deaf Communities and Their Sign Languages. Hamburg, Germany: Signum-Press. 1993 Fox, Margalit. Talking Hands. New York: Simon and Schuster. 2007 Gallaudet University Library: Deaf Statistics. libguides. Gallaudet.edu. web. November 12 2011. Groce, Nora Ellen. Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language: Hereditary Deafness on Marthaâ€™s Vineyard. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. 1985 Hairston, Ernest and Smith, Linwood. Black and Deaf in America: Are we That Different. Maryland: T.J. Publishers. 1983 How the Deaf Community is Dealing with Cochlear Implants. www. kpbs.org. web. November 12, 2011.) Lane, Harlan. The Mask of Benevolence: Disabling the Deaf Community. Borzoi Books. 1992
Fellah Women Drawing Water: A Reflection
ellah Women Drawing Water was painted by Jean Léon Gérôme at an uncertain date between 1834 and 1904. According to his biography, Gérôme was a French Academic painter and sculptor who lived from 1824 to 1904. The subject matter of the work is a beautiful, exotic, Middle-Eastern landscape. The figures, composed of curved lines, are women going about their business on what appears to be a hot, sunny day. The landscape is very open and portrays a moving, continuing scene which spills out beyond the borders of the painting. The use of color in the work highlights the human, organic, and geometric properties and the vibrancy of the color makes the work beautiful, not somber or dreary. In this work, Gérôme is clearly intending to create an exotic, romantic portrayal of a far-off, little-known land that can in many ways be related to European landscape art of the same period. The figures in the work are composed primarily of curved lines, as opposed to the generally straight or “strong” lines that tend to
define men, suggesting that the figures are women. In the center of the painting, the bank of the body of water serves as sort of a separating horizontal line; the eye tends to wander around either the upper or lower half of the piece, and this does well in that there is not so much to take in at once. The lines in the work give the impression of two main focuses: curved figures, which are the people, and straight geometric shapes using diagonal and straight lines, which are the structures. The vertical shape of what appears to be the top of a mosque pointing towards the heavens is to be noted. There are many color contrasts which highlight the subject matter and give it a vibrant feel. The colors of the clothing on the people against the earth tones of the land make the people stand out. The white of the buildings in the midst of the blues, greens, and browns makes the eye take notice as well. Gérôme appears to have chosen a set of colors for the people, another set for the landscape, and yet another set for the structures. This allows the work to be marveled at as a whole;
one is not tempted to say that any one area of the work is beautiful, but instead that the entire work is beautiful. The Exoticism of the period is evident in the color selection. It is clear that the people are at work, washing clothes or gathering water, yet there is no sense of toil or strife. This is due mostly to the use of vibrant color. The work is not in the least dismal, as with the works of Realist painters with their use of somber colors.
The Middle East is a land of hot sun, and this can be seen in the work. The sun appears to be beating down from straight overhead without a cloud in the sky, as is evidenced by the very short shadows. With the sense of it being very hot in the scene, the water becomes important; the reflection on the water helps to bring it to attention. The water also helps to Romanticize (or Exoticize) the work. The work would be much less Romantic if it were just desert sun beating down on these people with no water in sight. As is characteristic of the Romantic period, Gérôme’s work is open. There is a great deal of negative space surrounding the figures and structures which sets the focus on the entire scene rather than any one area. The people are moving and in activity, not frozen statuesque in time. One gets the impression that the landscape continues on beyond the borders of the painting and is not just confined to this scene. The figures in the painting do not permeate the surrounding space, rather the space seems to be putting them into motion. The painting is filled with a wonderful mix of human, organic, and geometric shapes which serve to bring the work to life. The Romanticization of peasantry, as is characteristic of some of the Romantic period works, would not be complete without the human forms. The landscape would be desolate without the presence of trees and water, which make the terrain much more lovely. The structures, though worn, still appear beautiful and the city in the background is
almost whimsical off in the distance, again lending to the exotic nature of Gérôme’s work. The Romantic landscape art and beauty thereof stemmed from the “back to nature” movement (Fleming 504). This brought back a love for the simplicity of nature and inspired such artists as John Constable. The preceding work The Hay Wain, by Constable, can be likened directly to this work and appears to be very influential in style. The aforementioned “Romanticization of peasantry” was a key characteristic of Constable’s works. In The Hay Wain, people can again be seen at work, but it is not at all toilsome, as is the same in Gérôme’s painting. There is also a parallel in the importance of light, shadow, and sky. In Constable’s work, the use of these things is very pronounced; the weather and clouds in the sky and the shadows of the trees. Gérôme produces the same effect with a bright sky and lack of clouds, with the short shadows giving prevalence to the Sun. The reflection in the water is very pronounced in both works, assisting in bringing the paintings to life. Both works convey a love of natural beauty and the beauty of life.
Fellah Women Drawing Water is a definitively Romantic painting. Works such as this and The Hay Wain made peasant life look peaceful and beautiful. The return to nature inspired artists to paint a love for the world surrounding them whether it be painting of revolution and freedom or of simple nature scenes, this was life and they were going to paint it. It is clear that Gérôme’s work is an example of Exoticism. Fleming says of Exoticism, “As European countries expanded their colonial empires, the exotic terrain of Asia and Africa held endless fascination for poets, novelists, and artists, as well as their readers and audiences” (501). This painting does not show a terrible, impoverished land filled with disease and ungodliness, but instead a simple, beautiful scene of a little-known world. A touch of Orientalism can be derived from the work as well, with the figures being depicted as poor and simple, though the work itself is still clearly Romanticized. There is a clear geographical presence in Gérôme’s work. The barren ground and sparse trees are represented, in contrast to European landscapes, but Gérôme idealizes it with a large presence of water. This work may serve as somewhat of a counter to Orientalist stereotyped
The importance of feeling and emotion is evident in Gérôme’s work; one can almost feel that they are in the with the shimmering water and hot sun.
W orks C ited Fleming, William and Mary Warner Marien. Fleming’s Arts & Ideas. United States: Thompson, 2005. 501-511. Print. Gérôme, Jean Léon. Fellah Women Drawing Water. 1834-1904. Sterling and Francine Clark Art Inst. artstor.org. Web. 25 September 2011. “Jean Léon Gérôme Biography.” jeanleongerome.org. N.p., N.d. Web. 25 September 2011.
works of the period; many social prejudices existed at the time, but none of those seem to matter in this painting. The people in the work are portrayed as rather poor, but this was not likely the result of any sort of economic implication or bias. Gérôme successfully carried on the Romantic, beauty-of-nature ideals of artists such as John Constable, while bringing in the ideas of Exoticism. This depiction of a far off land is every bit as beautiful as European landscape art of the period, and most likely would have spurred interest in these new lands. The Romantic importance of feeling and emotion is evident in Gérôme’s work; one can almost feel that they are there in the scene with the shimmering water and hot sun. In talking about Romanticism, Fleming says, “Creating imaginary places far apart from workaday situations proved a welcome refuge from the increasingly industrialized and mechanized world” (511). A refuge this is.
Music: The Power of the Moment
he noblest of arts are those which are beautiful in their impermanence, and the greatest artist of all is the very planet on which we live. The Earth is a gallery of mortal existence, a living painting of light and dust. In our haste, we often find ourselves overlooking this simple fact, that death is a reminder of life, and life is simply beautiful. No artist is more observant of the pure joy of existence than the sand painters of Tibet or the Navajos of the Southwestern United States. A more Western-oriented thinker would likely consider sand painting to be quite contrary to the traditional concept of art: that it should in some way immortalize the artist. In contrast, the sand painter creates his art and then destroys it; both processes share importance and ritualistic value. For the Navajo, the sand painting is an image from the gods, a depiction of the spirit world conjured into the world of man. The painting serves its purpose and then must leave; it must be allowed to return to the world of spirits. The sand paintings of Buddhist monks
similarly serve a spiritually-guided purpose. Images are added to the mandala in a set order, working from the center of the piece outwards, to symbolize the frail yet circular nature of life and the universe in which we live. Once the image has been completed, it is ritualistically destroyed in reverse order. In this process of creation, the most important aspect is not the end result, but the process itself. In this way, a musician finds value in the process of music, not in the music itself. Recording deals and extended discographies are all well and good, and many musicians would love to be able to make a living from his art and to possibly have his art outlive even him. However, the real power of music is in its performance, when emotional connections are bridged between absolute strangers. At this moment performer and audience exist almost as a single entity; emotions are experienced at the will of the artist and the mercy of the audience. For a single and otherwise unattainable moment, thousands of people can think and feel as one. This moment of synthesis cannot be preserved in a
recording, or reproduced in a video; it must be experienced personally and temporally. I have heard that the most common, and powerful, rhythms in music are those which emulate the rhythm of the heart. Studies have shown that rhythms such as these actually have a measurable effect on a personâ€™s physiology. The heart will attempt to adjust its pace to match the tempo of the music. Blood is pumped quicker, and more oxygen is delivered to the brain. The person becomes excited and moves and shakes until the excitation has taken complete control. Rhythms like this can be found all over the world, even in cultures that have had no exposure to the industrial world. The power of music is a bond which supersedes barriers of language and race. The power of music is the power of communication and expression; images painted not in sand, but in space and time.
The Heart Beats in Breakdowns
rom the north campus to the south campus, the students of Pikes Peak Community College share a love of music. Although society forms trends inspired by different musical genres, the students, while giving in to the trends, establish their own ideas of what defines popular music. Music is a definitive form of popular culture. It has been evoking trends within societal sub sects as far back as the days of Mozart and Beethoven. The effect of musicians is not only prominent in their sound, but also their attire. In some instances, these styles produce a stereotype, assuming listeners choose clothes dependent upon how the singer, songwriter, or band members dress. For example, what trendsetters call skinny jeans are associated with listening to emo or screamo, while baggy jeans and sideways baseball caps are associated with listening to rap or hip-hop. On the other hand, Keely Jewell, an English major dressed in a hippie-like, organic fashion, observes, “Though I do listen to a lot of rap and hip-hop I wouldn’t say that
represents me. I dress more like Zooey Deschanel than Lil’ Mama.” Popular music is a term open to interpretation. The heading popular alludes to the idea that listeners everywhere are pumping these jams through their iPods. If the radio continuously plays a song, everyone must love it, right? Just because a group of studying students can turn on the radio and sing every word of a Katy Perry song, does not make that song loved by all. “It is anything that can be heard on three radio stations at once,” Jewell states in reference to popular music, “I was tempted just to say Justin Bieber.” By the students’ standards, the radio defines what is popular versus what is not. Radio is a major outlet for musicians, which is why even those who cannot call Adele their favorite artist can still remember all the words to “Rolling in the Deep.” The sound of music is always changing. Artists are writing new songs, while musicians are creating new sounds. As music changes, the old become tarnished, while the new shine bright, thus creating a new wave of popular music. “I have a very bad habit of listening to the
rock stations for the heavy dose of nostalgia delivered with a snippet of The Beatles and Nirvana. Artists, who sound like an exact replica of one another, are the artists that in 10 or 20 years from now, will only be remembered as one hit wonders. As music continues through a journey of evolution, it becomes more evident no one needs a record deal to maintain a fan base. David Palmer, welding major at PPCC, is proving to his local fans and friends that he can make a musical masterpiece all on his own. Not currently a member of any bands, he plays for close friends and posts his projects on Facebook. Palmer states, “There is no such thing as popular music, maybe what sells the most.” This musician whole-heartedly marches to the beat of his own drum, the first instrument he longed to play. Palmer’s parents vetoed the drums because they were too loud. He then chose bass guitar, but again, his parents found an excuse preventing this experience. Almost reluctantly, at age 11, Palmer chose guitar, and he has not looked back since. He received lessons for two years, playing whichever chords and Parley 2012
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same albums over and over again, so I don’t quite listen to too much new stuff,” Dana Guindon, pre-engineering major, states, “By the time I hear something new, apparently it is old.” Therefore, what happens when those who do not listen to the radio are not exposed to what is new and, apparently, popular? They rely on their social circles to provide them with a new artist, band, or sound. Drew Greer, an associate of arts major rocking Buddy Holly glasses, and flip-flops, concedes, “ I’m not aware of those [radio] trends. It’s more interesting to me to see who gets big in the pockets of my friends. It seems like there is always a band that gets huge in a particular social group for a little while, then fades out.” Does this mean the popular music of today is eventually going to fade out? What does this say about bands like The Beatles or Nirvana, who started something epic years ago, but who still leave a lasting impression on listeners? The answers are innovation and fan base. The key ingredient to the band’s recipe for success is generating something unique, something no band has done before. Thank the local classic
songs instructors taught him. Eventually, Palmer took lessons into his own hands, searching guitar tabs on the Internet and teaching himself. The first song he learned, beginning to end, was “Injustice for All,” by Metallica. At the event of learning this song, Palmer recalls of his instructor, “I don’t need this guy; I just learned a Kirk Hammet solo.” From there, he has continued his musical education and now plays what he calls, “four and a half instruments; guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, and vocals for the half.” While Palmer finds inspiration within bands such as Nirvana, Metallica, Pantera, and White Zombie, he also has a soft spot for the blues. He has been an intricate piece of many musical puzzles and has performed in four and a half bands. The half represents all the side projects never amounting to anything more than an idea within a conversation. Today, he finds himself performing a solo act, twisting and tweaking his instruments into his definition of aural achievement. Palmer, while attending classes at the Centennial Campus and working full time at Old Chicago, has turned his one bedroom apartment into a miniature-recording studio, using foam to sound proof his walls and an electronic drum set to simulate percussion. Playing a variety of metal and blues, Palmer just jams until something
sounds worth remembering. Starting with the drums leads him to the blues, while beginning with guitar usually takes the path towards metal. He has only created a few ditties to date, and he is proud of each one. The song of which he is the most proud is “Empty Streets.” A victim of his own criteria, once Palmer records a song, he attempts to polish it into perfection, although he admits, “Some songs I can’t fix.” Though Palmer is fluent in numerous instrumental languages, his favorite is the guitar. He feels as though he has dedicated the most time to perfecting his talent and at the end of the day, he is still just a guitar player. With a sparkle in his eyes and a chuckle in his throat, Palmer picks up his guitar and says, “Six strings of fury.” Researchers trying to prove that popular music is found at the fingertips and vocal chords of bands such as Bruno Mars or Hollywood Undead, would gasp at the dark and sometimes dingy path Palmer has let lead his musical career. It started with Metallica’s “Reload,” an album he first bought on cassette tape and has since continued with heavier metal bands such as Slayer and Pantera. “Metal, metal, heavier metal, blues,” Palmer scoffs in reference to his preferred genres of music, “If you’re going to f—king play music, play your own music, and play from
has been the ‘glue’ that bonds together all forms of society and
In the 70s, Alice Cooper captured one of the most anticipated events of a student’s life with “Schools Out.” In the 80s, The Cure crooned “Love Song,” a ballad stating how love never fades. In the 90s, Alanis Morissette sang about how everyday life is “Ironic.” At the start of the millennium, Blink 182 reminisced over house parties and first loves. As 2012 approaches, screamo bands such as Asking Alexandria and We Came As Romans are reliving the days of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, as well as the importance of brotherhood and camaraderie. These songs paint a vivid picture of life experience. Everyone has lived through these life experiences. The lyrics are relatable, the tempos are melodic, and the bass continues to pound to the rhythm of a heart.
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your heart.” For some, the heart beats in breakdowns. Music is a vital component in what keeps them alive. Much as your lungs need oxygen to breath, the ears need music to hear. Music can trigger a memory, evoke an emotion and one song has the potential to change someone’s entire day. Jewell states, “Music is like my air, it’s in my blood and I would die any day that I don’t get to hear it.” One student, although deaf in her left ear, is thankful she still has one ear in which to hear music. Without it, she knows she would not have made it through some of life’s obstacles. There are bands and artists and musicians that possess an ability to make any one of their fans feel as though they are speaking only to them. John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.” Students, like everyone else, know that life happens, but they find comfort in knowing that someone has been where they are. Who knows, if it were not for the “Songs to Study to” playlist on iPods campus-wide, some college-goers would not have passed their geology final, written their final paper, or aced their final speech, which conveniently, was about the history of rock and roll. “There is a lot of music that relates to everyday life that lets you know that you’re not the only one feeling this way,” Guindon reflects on what music means to her. Joseph Gordon, restaurant manager and business major, declares, “It [music] evokes so many emotions and feelings in everyone. Music has been the ‘glue’ that bonds together all forms of society and culture.”
Language: The Power of Unity
ecently, in my art appreciation class, our professor showed us a diagram outlining the concept that all knowledge and all disciplines are interconnected. To demonstrate this concept he used an example of how cave paintings are analyzed. When a cave painting is discovered, itâ€™s not only artists or art historians who study and analyze it. Geologists analyze the stone of the cave walls and carbon-date the material to discover its age. Historians analyze the region and determine the nature of the tribe or aboriginal people the artist belonged to. The concept of not one but many disciplines being involved in such a discovery is quite fascinating. At the heart of this rests language, particularly since it is such an indispensable tool towards learning. Well before human beings began to plant seeds and form the rudiments of civilization, there were storytellers, the purveyors of myth. Because of the storytellers, people began to wonder about their surroundings, and to want to talk â€“ and write â€“ about it. Because of language, vast, complicated theologies were
born, and Hammurabi was able to write his Code, some aspects of which are still utilized to this very day. Oral methods of storytelling were very important, in that the spoken word forms a huge part of the lingual-based societal web we, as social beings, are born into. However, archetypes, both of fact and of fiction, are transmitted from one generation to the next most effectively through the written word. Fairy tales which entertain and delight our children are re-written to suit the needs of each generation. Consider the works of Chaucer, of Shakespeare, and of Dickens. These works not only survive the passing of hundreds of years since they were first written, they are widely read and celebrated by the general public. They are required reading for most college students. Works of literature, of written language, have a power of endurance not found in other forms of entertainment or information. In the ancient world, particularly in Rome, rhetoric, defined as the art of persuasion, was considered to be the most important part of a
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young manâ€™s education. It was believed that if a man could speak well, he would have a better chance of getting a good position in society. This emphasis on rhetorical education strengthened the ancient languages of Latin and, to a lesser extent, Greek, which are both the basis for many of the worldâ€™s modern languages, including English. Certain amounts of education in English as a discipline are required to obtain any degree, but language, and by extension, rhetoric, are not given the emphasis they once were.
A Journey Through “Her Hair”
audelaire’s word choice in “Her Hair” creates a sensual experience to recount an occasion that can call forth various emotions for Baudelaire. The use of synesthesia throughout the poem draws the reader in to feel to some degree what Baudelaire felt at that time. Thus, instead of simply reading about the poet’s feelings for the woman characterized in “Her Hair”, the reader can experience the passion. By combining the senses with his vivid prose, Baudelaire creates a more accessible text. Every line of the poem carries significant meaning and draws the audience further into the moment portrayed. In the first stanza, Baudelaire opens by describing the woman’s hair as soft and aromatic, immediately enticing the reader into a physical experience. By combining descriptions of touch and smell, which he later combines with sights and sounds, the reader is lured into the moment Baudelaire describes. For example, the third line, “O ecstasy! To fill this alcove shape,” gives the impression that even something as simple as the sight and feel of a woman’s hair brings Baudelaire such
great pleasure that he feels almost overwhelmed with passion. The inclusion of an exclamation point in this line and throughout the poem adds to the intensity and significance of the message. This makes it more comprehensible and straightforward that Baudelaire’s feelings are strong, giving the poem more significance. As Baudelaire continues, he compares her hair to a forest of memories. The idea that her hair can cause him to recall other great memories as well as being beautiful to behold in the moment is extremely touching. Reading “Her Hair” feels as though Baudelaire declares his love to everyone from the rooftops. Baudelaire begins the second verse by describing foreign countries and how her hair connects him to those locations. This relates to the idea of memory and experience. Through her hair he can undergo the same emotions he gets from traveling as he did in his youth. The line commences, “Languorous Asia, burning Africa, And a far world, defunct almost, absent,” describing his impressions of these locations, and how different and exotic they were. This lends to the idea that he
J enny G arza — “ in
the dark – jodi ”
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finds her exotic and wonderful, as he felt about the places he’d traveled. He continues, “Within your aromatic forest stay!,” further developing how her hair represents more than just simple visual appeal. With this in mind, Baudelaire restates how her hair causes him to reminisce. At the end of the verse he ties audio into the use of synesthesia with music. Baudelaire explains how his soul lifts in a similar way to how music can cause people to feel uplifted and free. Any music lover would understand completely the feeling he describes, just like any well travelled person would understand his earlier verses about far off places. In the next two verses, Baudelaire uses visual symbolism to further convey how elated he feels from experiencing her hair. By comparing how he feels around the sights, smells, and feel of her hair to the sensations experienced in those settings he creates in the third and fourth stanza, it becomes easier for the reader to understand the emotion Baudelaire conveys. The first two lines of the third stanza depict a hot climate where, “both tree and man swoon,” and though her hair reminds him of this feeling, he wishes at the same time that through her hair he could travel to those places, unrealistic though that desire may be. As a souvenir from a wonderful vacation, Baudelaire wishes to express the feelings of having an item that reminds one of a time or place, feeling comforted by the memory yet longing to be there again. Further on, the line, “I dream upon your sea of ebony,” in itself represents a great example of his feelings for her, however Baudelaire
goes on to illustrate a beautiful scene that captures how she brought to mind other images for him to lose himself in. He verbally sketches a port where he can relax and, “imbibe colour and sound and scent,” and further to enjoy the sun and the sights before going back to sea. His vivid descriptions of the port cause the reader to get lost in the imagery as well so that he or she can understand the similar feeling of getting lost in the woman’s hair. Next, he brings the reader back out of the scene of the port but continues to use the emotions brought up from that scene to further detail his own impression of her hair. Whereas before he simply described a relaxing scene by the ocean many people could possibly relate to, he expands on the idea by comparing her and her hair to the port and the ocean he illustrated in the last stanza. The fourth stanza I’ll plunge my head, enamored of its pleasure, in this black ocean where the other hides; My subtle spirit then will know a measure of fertile idleness and fragrant leisure, lulled by the infinite rhythm of its tides! details again that by laying his head in the curls of her hair he is reminded of the port scene, as well as other memories. The, “black ocean where the other hides,” portrays how she herself acts mysteriously like the sea of tranquility, which is so far away and uncharted, at least in his time. Further on, when he says, “Of fertile idleness and fragrant leisure,” Baudelaire is explaining the idea of having nothing to do
except relax and enjoy the moment, which in his case is the time he spends with her. The rest of the stanza gives an image of how staying in that position makes him feel as though he is in fact at the port, with nothing to do, holding onto the woman he loves and feel completely relaxed. This is designed most likely to inspire the reader, as Baudelaire portrays an ideal relationship in a sense. Baudelaire does not go into the complexity of emotions that goes along with being in a mature relationship in “Her Hair,” nor does he examine the more tedious aspects of a relationship, however he does show the beauty to be found in love. Through “Her Hair” Baudelaire describes to the reader the picturesque side of being in love, giving the reader a sample of what they might long for in terms of love, as well as giving the reader hope for their own relationships as this was a real women Baudelaire fell in love and had a relationship with. The next stanza expresses another image, moving away from the port scene and depicting a new scene of a bright blue sky. He then goes on by describing the specific scents of her hair and his feelings associated with those scents. The line, “you give me back the azure from afar,” explains how her hair calls forth images of the sky from a
wonderful childhood memory. The significance of this passage comes from her hair being given the properties of seeming pure and innocent like a child, which attests to the delight he feels when her hair. The blue sky further represents peace, as a clear sky represents a calm that is expected to last a while. Additionally, he says the scents of her hair, a combination, “of oil of coconut, of musk and tar,” take him to such a high state of ecstasy it’s as if he is drunk. Baudelaire’s incredible imagery could cover an entire lifetime of pleasing memories and emotions, providing the reader with an incredible experience. In the final stanza, Baudelaire uses a comparison almost anyone could relate to, and finishes again with how her hair can recall images for him. He begins by comparing his own precious memories to precious stones. By using the images of, “sapphire, pearl, and ruby,” Baudelaire makes the sensations brought on by her presence even more comprehensible by using a product most would find valuable. In the next line, “that you never be deaf to my desire,” is to express to the reader that he wishes to have a plentiful supply of these moments, as most would wish to have a large quantity of valuables. This adds to the idea how he feels about the moments when he can lay his head on her hair because with the comparison the reader understands that he
He verbally sketches a where he can and, “imbibe colour and sound and scent,”
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wishes for the beautiful moments he shares with her to be available to him at all times. He finishes, “My oasis and gourd whence I aspire to drink deep the wine of memory!,” further explain that in her hair he can find a well of such images that he can draw upon in her presence. This conclusion is fantastic as not only does it wrap up the poem nicely with the idea of wonderful memories as well as one beautifully captured moment, but also draws the reader out of the scenes of the port, exotic lands and so on. Thus, Baudelaire brings the audience back to reality from a great fantasy. Throughout “Her Hair”, Baudelaire captures all the senses to make a continuously satisfying experience for the audience, and effectively describes a beautiful time between himself and his lover. “Her Hair” feels almost voyeuristic as, instead of a description of a moment, the reader experiences the range of emotions and images felt in what is more likely a series of memories of Baudelaire himself. Through this poem the reader has insight into moments in Baudelaire’s life as well as great insight into his time spent with the woman in the poem. Without the use of all the senses, the message of the depths of his affections would have been lost.
W ork C ited Baudelaire, Charles. “Her Hair.” The Bedford Anthology of World Literature Book 5. Bedford/St.Martins. 2003. 420-421. Print.
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The Robert Burns Poetry Contest celebrates an educator, colleague and poet. Burns taught at PPCC, CSU Pueblo and the Air Force Academy. Elizabeth Slaughter, friend and PPCC faculty member, generously donated money to create the student poetry contest in honor of Burns. Mary Piering, longtime friend and colleague, recalls, “It was obvious how much he cared about writing.” Burns’ poem “Talking to Anna,” featured in the 2009 issue of Almagre showcases his talent as well as his fondness for Anna Swir, Polish poet. Burns is also remembered for his sense of humor. Slaughter shares, “He had me laughing almost every time I talked with him.” The poets who submitted their work to the Burns Poetry Contest show great promise. Piering observes that “Burns regarded the work of fledgling poets as the most serious undertaking in the word.” All submissions display an awareness of language and how it can convey image, emotion, and wonder. Surely, Robert Burns would be proud. The 2012 Burns Memorial Poetry winner can also be seen in Rearrange, PPCC’s Online Literary Journal, along with other excellent literary works from PPCC students. Check out ppcc.edu/rearrange.
seated on the afghan knitted yarn symphonies sunday best on hangers white lace pushed back among the dust and memories
one side of the bed to make grandfather chimes down the hall unwelcome reminder by ghosts
paper hands creak ancient hemlock staircase siblings tumbled down
sterile tiles carry stale air fingering apron folds breathing cinnamon and clove holiday spiced flashback eyes of black holes
fingers calloused and worn never stroking babies hair buttoning and wiping spills one bedroom apartment lonely kitchen chair single grave to visit wilted knot tied bouquet screaming joints shuffle home
War is Hell, This I Believe
have heard many people say “War is hell”; this I believe. I have been to war, in three deployments to Iraq totaling 39 months. I have seen, heard, smelled, tasted and touched war. War truly is hell. I have had friends die; I have saluted their bodies as we load them on a helicopter to start their journey home. I have talked to a friend in the morning and said goodbye to him that afternoon. I have seen mass graves; dozens of bodies piled on top of each other and hastily covered with dirt. I have seen dead enemy combatants and innocent civilians; all with the same look on their faces. I have seen charred and mangled bodies, and parts of bodies; their flesh black and curled up like the bark on a burnt log. I have heard explosions, gunshots, mortars and rockets, both aimed at me and by me; some explosions so close my bed or vehicle would shake. Explosions that made me feel an ache in the pit of my gut; but even when I was shooting, there was an intense adrenaline rush that can’t be matched. I have heard dying men scream and soldiers yell. I have heard mothers scream and cry about the death
of a child. These cries were wails filled with agony and distress from women who couldn’t comprehend why their child was taken from them. I have smelled charred bodies and rotten flesh; bodies that have been in a warm room, a makeshift morgue, for days… I have smelled terrible Army food, everything boiled in bags or powdered food with water added. I have tasted sand; not “clean” American sand, but sand that contains tuberculosis or maybe even hepatitis or anthrax. I have tasted smoke and gunpowder. I have touched dead bodies. I have seen the effects of my bullets. I have felt the holes in my vehicle’s armor after an IED strike. War is hell, this I believe.
The War on Soft Language A
few years ago the world lost a brilliant thinker, captivating linguist, political critic, actor, writer, and stand-up comedian George Carlin. During one of his sets on stage he explained his distaste for euphemisms, and as an example, he explained the effect they have had on the public’s interpretation of psychological trauma. Carlin recognized the dangers of soft language, and he enlightened society to the consequences of such language. Almost thirty years have past since he warned us on stage about shell shock:
There’s a condition in combat – most people know about it – it’s when a fighting person’s nervous system has been stressed to its absolute peak and maximum – can’t take any more input. The nervous system has either snapped or is about to snap. In the First World War, that condition was called shell shock. Simple, honest, direct language. Two syllables: shell shock. Almost sounds like the guns themselves. That was 70 years ago. Then a whole generation went by, and the Second World War came along and the very same combat condition was called battle fatigue. Four syllables now; takes a little longer to say; doesn’t seem to hurt as much. Fatigue is a nicer word than shock. Shell shock. Battle fatigue.
Then we had the war in Korea, 1950. Madison Avenue was riding high by that time, and the very same combat condition was called operational exhaustion. Hey, we’re up to eight syllables now! And the humanity has been squeezed completely out of the phrase. It’s totally sterile now. Operational exhaustion. Sounds like something that might happen to your car.
Post-traumatic stress disorder. I’ll betcha if we’d have still been calling it shell shock, some of those Vietnam Veterans might have gotten the attention they needed at the time. (qtd. in Roy 3)
Then of course came the war in Vietnam…And thanks to the lies and deceit surrounding that war, I guess it’s no surprise that the very same condition was called post-traumatic stress disorder. Still eight syllables, but we’ve added a hyphen, and the pain is completely buried under jargon.
American society has been manipulated through the use of euphemistic language to believe that the psychological trauma experienced in combat will have little mental impact on the soldier, and as a consequence the public does not comprehend the condition, its impact on our culture, or how to adequately support the patients. Over the course of American history this syndrome emerged during each major conflict. During World War I soldiers left the battlefields in droves caused by the psychological trauma they suffered in trench warfare. This trauma was named “shell shock” after British psychologist Charles Myers misdiagnosed it as a physical injury caused by “the concussive effect of exploding shells” (Glazer 7). The syndrome accounted for twenty-five percent of the soldiers that were medically evacuated during World War II (Glazer 9). Since 1980, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has altered its Diagnostic and Statistical manual for Mental Disorders’ three times to include just about any anxiety disorder caused by a past life threatening experience (Joseph 2). This condition has been extensively researched over the last 100 years; however it remains an epidemic for modern day soldiers. In the next few months tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers will return from Iraq, among those, several will have physical injuries to recover from; however, most of them will carry the deep psychological wounds and even today it may go undetected. These invisible wounds are a result of extended combat related trauma that can
be just as debilitating and painful as any physical damage (Satel 2). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is not diagnosed by trained professionals even though it is not a physical wound and may not show its symptoms for months. The extended trauma that soldiers experience in battle physically alters the brain and it can lead to inadvertent reactions of one’s emergency response mechanism. According to social policy journalist Sarah Glazer, PTSD can derive from any life threatening event. Combat, car accidents, natural disasters, robbery, rape, and any other forms of trauma can cause PTSD. The medical industry does not adequately treat victims of extended trauma from combat, captivity, or natural disasters because the diagnosis also includes anyone that has had any kind of post trauma. The DREAMS (Detachment, Reexperiencing the event, Emotional effects, Avoidance, Months of duration, Sympathetic hyperactivity and hypervigilance) technique is used in the medical industry to determine if a patient is suffering from PTSD; however, it does not have a way to characterize the complexities of the patient’s trauma (Guess 29). Although the symptoms of PTSD maybe similar among patients the circumstances that caused the condition can be extremely different. Glazer and licensed professional counselor Joanne Allen both claim that the response to trauma is dependent upon the individual’s ability to handle the stress the patient experienced. The stress encountered over a long period of time changes the hippocmapal region of a person’s
brain and the amygdala can become overgrown as a result (Allen). This deformation is caused by an excessive and extended dose of adrenaline. This causes one’s “fight or flight” mode to overreact and the person may unexpectedly exhibit anger, anti-social behavior, and high amounts of stress (Farrell 1). These physical changes to one’s brain can have drastic effects on their daily life, and for some, it becomes impossible to cope with the symptoms (Joseph 5). For veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan the transition can be immensely difficult. They become used to the adrenaline pumping through their systems and at any moment the slightest thing could trigger panic, anxiety, or flash backs (Allen). Neurologist John Gruzelier, Ph.D., explains the effects of trauma on the brain’s “electrical activity in the hippocampus.” He goes on to say, “This circuitry is involved in memory retrieval, survival behavior, navigation including virtual reality tracking, wellbeing, and in the integration of emotion and cognition” (1). Oddly enough, a victim of a car accident, natural disaster, or robbery could also be diagnosed with PTSD. This ambiguity in the medical industry has led to anyone with any type of past trauma to be placed in the same category as the soldiers that have been repeatedly exposed to trauma. Although treatments are being developed, Allen and Stephen Joseph argue that PTSD should be more accurately diagnosed, that it should be based upon the extent of the trauma, and that treatment should begin with developing coping skills prior to any
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extensive therapy. They strongly insist that if a patient is unable to handle the anxiety and stress associated with reliving the events then they should not progress in their treatment until they have developed those skills because retelling the events will trigger their flight or fight response. Joseph worries that the public does not fully understand PTSD and claims that “with an increasingly broad definition it may also serve to inadvertently pathologise normal and natural reactions to trauma” (7). Allen agrees with Joseph, although she argues that the APA should create a CPTSD diagnosis to more accurately define the extended trauma patients have suffered from combat fatigue, sexual abuse, kidnappings, and natural disasters such as hurricane Katrina. They also feel that complex trauma cases require extended treatment and should be handled differently than a victim of limited incidents of violence or natural disasters, but they are strictly looking at the issue from a medical perspective. We must always consider the public impact and whether or not complicating the name will negatively influence their emotions towards this condition.
The APA should accurately define combat trauma so that the public can be adequately influenced, appropriately educated, and more importantly so that the soldiers will receive the support and treatment they require. The public’s interpretation of this condition is increasingly important because a majority of the funding for research is provided by government programs, and these programs will only be funded if the public supports them. Accurately defining the condition would allow medical professionals to treat the condition more efficiently; however, it does little to bolster public awareness and adds more euphemistic language to soften the severity of the condition. Licensed professionals argue that granting CPTSD its own diagnosis would not only benefit the treatment the soldiers would receive, it would also spur public awareness. Allen disputes that the public does not have an understanding of PTSD, and that they don’t recognize PTSD in their local communities. For example, when someone sees a female prostitute on the street corner, the public does not take in to account the countless sexual abuses she has likely suffered in her past (Allen). Such trauma has physically altered that person’s
opinion on PTSD will not change until society becomes educated and the use of euphemistic language.
wrong when perfectly healthy soldiers were coming to see him “and the next thing you know, they’re in here asking for Valium or sleeping tablets” (qtd. in Munsey 12). Treating shell shock has been increasingly difficult; although some psychologists have had mixed results with hypnotherapy and EEG-nuerofeedback. Adversely, since this condition affects each person differently, there cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach to treat it. The medical industry continues to research better treatments for shell shock, but soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan have struggled to find the support that they need. While some soldiers fight the battle against their trauma they also face a combatant they had not expected; their own government. Unfortunately for our returning soldiers the Veteran’s Affairs (VA) office was unprepared for the vast amount of soldiers seeking aid. According to Michael B. Farrell “the VA underestimated by 77,000 the number of returning vets who would seek its services” and when the troops returned home the last people they thought they would have to fight to get treatment was the VA (3). They found that the VA was understaffed, their equipment antiquated, and they had not experienced such a high volume of soldiers since Vietnam (Farrell 3). Perhaps if the VA had heeded George Carlin’s lessons on soft language they would have anticipated the importance of the condition. The troops felt slighted by the country they had fought to protect and as though the VA should have been looking out for them (Kitfield 9). If the public had been Parley 2012
brain, and they cannot cope with what they’ve been through, so they typically respond to their emergency response mechanism by acting out sexually or violently. Medical experts argue that if CPTSD were diagnosed separately from milder forms of PTSD, perhaps our soldiers and other victims of extended trauma could receive the care they need. As Carlin points out, allowing CPTSD to become common language would only further the soft language that is manipulating our society and would lessen the public impact of shell shock. We must change the terminology to effectively alter the public’s perception in a way that allows the extremity of this disease to emerge. Although Myers misdiagnosed the condition during World War I, he gave it a name that the public immediately recognized, and something with which they could easily associate. CPTSD would hide the sacrifice that these soldiers gave, it would trivialize everything they did for this country, and would only serve to discredit these heroes. Shell shock gives the public a vivid representation of the trauma and it establishes the reality of war. Unfortunately for many returning service members with shell shock, they choose to work against treatment by resorting to self medication to cope with the anxiety (Allen). James Angelo, a psychologist in Baghdad, illustrates the invisible wounds left by shell shock and how they were sometimes harder to treat than physical wounds. He could never see the wounds, but he knew something was
aware of the severity of the issue perhaps they could have pressured the government to take care of the troops. Regrettably, soldiers and victims of extended trauma will not receive the treatment they need because of the lack of public support. Public opinion on PTSD will not change until society becomes educated and reforms the use of euphemistic language. Carlin identified the importance of speaking simply and the great influence it has on our emotions. We must make cultural changes to stop this language that “hide(s) the truth” or “conceal(s) reality” and for shell shock it must start in the medical industry (qtd. in Roy 2). For the sake of society’s psyche it is imperative that we begin to speak bluntly, plainly, and truthfully to one another in all things. Most importantly we must recognize the harmful repercussions of deceiving an ignorant society and begin cultural reformations to save us from ourselves.
W orks C ited Kitfield, James. “A Decade of War Leaves a Generation to Heal.” National Journal (2011). Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. 8 Sept. 2011 Web. 11 Oct. 2011. Munsey, Christopher. “The Psychologist in Baghdad.” American Psychological Association. American Psychological Association. Feb. 2010. Web. 5 Oct. 2011. Roy, Joe. “George Carlin on Euphemisms.” Clear Writing with Mr. Clarity. N.p., 28 Nov. 2011. Web. 9 Nov. 2011 Satel, Sally. “PTSD’s Diagnostic Trap.” Policy Review 165 (2011): 41+. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. March 2011 Web. 11 Oct. 2011.
Allen, Joanne. Personal interview. 8 Oct. 2011 Farrell, Michael B. “Wounds of Iraq War: US Struggles with Surge of Returning Veterans.” The Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor, 16 Aug. 2010. Web. 8 Oct. 2011. Glazer, Sarah. “Treating Anxiety.” CQ Researcher 8 Feb. 2002: 97-120. 8 Feb. 2002. Web. 28 Sept. 2011. Gruzelier, John. “Theta Synchronisation of Hippocampal and Long Distance Circuitry in the Brain: Implications for EEGNeurofeedback and Hypnosis in the Treatment of PTSD.” Novel Approaches to the Diagnosis & Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder 6.1 (2006): 13-22. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. 2006. Web. 10 Oct. 2011. Guess, Karen F. “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. (Cover story).” Nurse Practitioner 31.3 (2006): 26-35. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. March 2006. Web. 19 Sept. 2011. Joseph, Stephen. “Working with Psychological Trauma.” Healthcare Counselling & Psychotherapy Journal 10.2 (2010): 4-5. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Apr. 2010. Web. 28 Sept. 2011.
Strength and Honor
n the distance, I can hear the sound of almost silence - a dog barking at a car passing by its house, the rustling sound of the leaves meeting the wind, and the cool breeze caressing and gently kissing my face. As I stand on my porch waiting for that sound, that certain heart-wrenching sound that almost always brings me to my knees, I thank God that I am still alive but shameful that I am. I glance at my watch and notice that it is almost time to pay my respects to my brother, holding tightly in my left hand the last piece of an awful nightmare that I hope no one will ever have to endure. Like a well-timed clock, I hear the chilling words echo in the back of my mind “Strength and Honor.” I hear the call of the bugler playing his sad melody of “Taps,” signifying the day’s end. A flood of memories comes back to me, rushing into my mind like an angry wave that just won’t go away. Suddenly, I can feel, taste and smell the sand all around me and a certain name comes back to me - Sergeant Benjamin Laymen - the man who taught me the meaning of those words.
When I was eighteen and fresh from Basic Training, I thought I knew the world and that I could take it head on, but after a few years, I changed my mind. Coming into the Army was like being reborn into a new world with faceless family members who I would soon meet and train with for an upcoming deployment to Iraq. Shortly after, I was assigned to the First Squadron Tenth Calvary in Fort Hood, Texas where I met yet another family. Since I was young and a ‘Green Horn,’ I was assigned to someone to watch over me and make sure I stayed out of trouble and out of jail. A loud booming voice came down the hall screaming my name, “Private Vega, start doing push-ups until I am tired!” The unknown voice spoke with a harsh tone. I glanced up at the clock, and I realized that it was almost 8:30 in the morning. I thought to myself, “I got a long day ahead of me.” As I was sweating on the floor, breathing heavily, I wondered, “Why in God’s name am I doing this?” That unknown voice I was starting to really hate had finally revealed himself after
with their families, giving thanks for one another, I was alone in my barracks room playing on my computer. Suddenly I heard a kick at the door. Thinking nothing of it, I walked over in my boxers to open it. It was Sergeant Laymen standing there with a six-pack of beer and a blowup doll. He lived in the barracks with the other single soldiers. “Hey, Buttercup! Happy Thanksgiving.You want to hang out?” I did not want to sound desperate, but I couldn’t help it. “Sure, come in.” Being away from home for the first time, I longed to have someone I could know personally. As the night went on and I became more drunk, we talked about a wide range of things from what to do after the Army, to our own family lives. I remember thinking to myself, “This guy is not so bad.” The months flew by so quickly that I don’t even remember where it all went. I started calling Sergeant Laymen ‘Uncle Johnny’ when we were off duty. He became the guy I wanted to be like when I grew up in the Army. This was when I was nineteen years old. The day that we, as Parley 2012
Esmael E. Vega Jr.
turning around the corner to step right in front of me. “You know why the fuck you are on the floor, beating your face Private?” I replied as calmly as I possibly could “No Sergeant, I don’t have any idea why I am on the floor beating my face.” “It’s because I am your new babysitter, and if you ever fuck with me, I will make it my personal goal in life to take you out back, and teach you a thing or two about being a man, instead of a fucktard.” As I was getting back to my feet, I could feel the sweat beading on my newly shaved head. In that moment, I realized I hated this guy more than a cat hates water. Like all great stories, time had passed and I grew to understand what the world I had entered into was. I understood how working late hours with almost no sleep and drawing weapons at three in the morning could bring a ‘fresh boot’ like me closer to a bunch of seasoned veterans. On a Thanksgiving Day, when all the other soldiers were home
a battalion, left for Iraq, I was so nervous and scared. But I had Uncle Johnny there to tell me it would be alright and it would go by really quickly. “Yeah, right. Bullshit, Sergeant,” I told him with a smile on my face. We got into Kuwait and stayed there for a few weeks to receive our “in country brief ” and more training on Engagement with Hostility. As a unit, we finished our Kuwait training and proceeded to start our push into Iraq by air drop-off from a Chinook. Sitting in that helicopter I could hear the sound of pins dropping. I looked around and asked what it was. “Don’t worry, we are only getting shot at,” replied the gunner of the helicopter. There in my seat, I shook my head and prayed not to die just yet. We landed in our duty location and immediately got ready to assume and relieve the outgoing unit. Being in Iraq was nice, but scary because it was a new place and everyone outside the Forward Operating Base kind of wants to kill you. Just stepping outside on foot from the base was already asking for trouble - like a gang war was about to break out on us. On a particular day, our unit commander wanted to go out to a certain site to observe the progress of its development. I remember sitting in Uncle Johnny’s room watching the latest boot leg movie that was out — Gladiator —
and hearing the famous movie line “Strength and Honor,” which was said to each Roman who was bearing arms. “Hey, we should start saying that to each other before we go on a mission,” Sergeant Laymen said in a kid-like voice. I looked at him like he was crazy, but he was serious about it, so I said, “Why not?” with a chuckle. We picked up our body armor and weapons and started making our way to the up-armored Humvees. We were all set and ready to go, but the last thing we had to do was our new good luck saying. I grasped his forearm with my right hand and when he did likewise, we said, “Strength and Honor.” A few missions had already passed, and the words we spoke to each other and the rest of the team took on a new meaning for us. It was something that we now could hold on to and feel in our hearts. One calm and very dusty day, we were ordered to check out the house of the local police chief. The odd thing about that day was it was too calm and really nobody was outside doing their normal thing. There were not even any kids playing in the streets. As we parked the vehicles off to the side of the road, we got out and did our routine procedure of making sure the area was clear of any threats. Taking the lead was Sergeant
A flood of comes back to me, rushing into my mind like an angry that just won’t go away
seemed to take forever. Upon arrival at the hospital, we were greeted by the medic who rode with Uncle Johnny. Something dropped from my chest, like the moment when a roller coaster is at its peak and about to drop. I hoped not to hear the worst from our unit medic - that he had passed away mid-flight. In that moment, I was lost. I had lost my older brother, my mentor and my best friend. The drive back to base was the longest I had ever had to do. My crew was so silent, we could almost hear the sound of the wind outside, howling. Days passed and everyone had paid their respects at his memorial. I remember after that day, I got a custom Army coin for a job well done in the face of engaging an enemy threat. In my mind, I know that I do not want this particular coin. But whenever I hear that heart-wrenching sound of the bugler playing “Taps,” I take it out and remember Sergeant Benjamin Laymen.
Esmael E. Vega Jr.
Laymen. I was in the back watching the rear and everyone else was spread out to protect our unit commander. I saw the door of the house open slowly with someone walking out with a very stone-like face. From out of nowhere, I heard a bomb go off. My ears began to ring with a hard pain and I felt something fly by my body - like an angry wasp that I couldn’t see. I looked over to see one other soldier screaming at me, but I couldn’t understand what he was saying. So he jumped up and grabbed me, pulling me to the ground. I was in the middle of my first shoot out but it was nothing like the old west movies I had seen before. Moments passed and the shooting had stopped. I remembered the smell of gun powder lingering in the air and the feel of adrenaline coursing through my veins. I felt immortal. Then it occurred to me. “Where is Uncle Johnny?” I saw a rush of medics running to a guy who was lying on the ground. I ran over to help, but I was completely useless when I realized it was my Uncle Johnny lying at Death’s door step, and Death was waiting to collect. I knelt by his side, grabbed his hand and squeezed it ever so tightly to hold in every morsel of life I could. Sergeant Laymen was missing his right leg and I felt something warm dripping into my lap. I could hear the medics say he was losing too much blood and he needed to be moved to a hospital. I stared into his eyes and I could almost hear him say, “Strength and Honor.” The helicopter came and took him to get medical help. I have never driven as fast as I drove from Babylon to the green zone, but it
A Monstrous Industry
reedom is a human right that has been fought for and celebrated with bravado and grandeur throughout history. Countless sacrifices have been made so that liberty, equality, and justice might be fully embraced by all of humankind. Today, society celebrates as though such a victory has been obtained. Yet the jubilant shouts of freedom, that society so willingly believes exist, unconsciously mock the tears and pain of the millions who remain enslaved in the world today. While slavery might seem like an issue resigned to dusty history books and dry lectures, it remains an extremely pressing issue in current society. Today, millions of people remain shackled because of a monstrous and growing industry. It is an industry that has caused the number of existing slaves to far surpass that of any other time period (Nye). This industry is human trafficking. Human trafficking is defined by the U.S. Department of Justice as “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the
purposes of forced labor or services through means of force, fraud, or coercion” (“Understanding Human Trafficking”). Such acts deny a person the most basic human rights, for they trample upon a person’s freedom, equality, dignity, and respect. In order for human trafficking to be abolished one must first understand how it operates, recognize its growth and severity, and understand and take part in the efforts being conducted to prevent the exploitation of men, women, and children. Human trafficking is undoubtedly an intricate and complicated process. The United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking reports that, “Trafficking in persons can also be seen as a process consisting of at least three stages…recruitment, transport, and exploitation” (“Government Corruption Can Lead to an Increase in Human Trafficking”). In order to obtain a person—most commonly women and children—traffickers will target the most vulnerable citizens in a community. One researcher notes that traffickers obtain slaves
slaves. Victims of human trafficking are most commonly exploited through both physical and sexual labor. Global Compact notes that trafficked victims intended for physical labor are most commonly seen working in fields such as, “agriculture…construction, garment and textile (under sweatshop conditions), hospitality and catering, mining and logging, food processing and packaging, domestic servitude and other care and cleaning work” (“Human Trafficking”). Such slaves are often lured to these places by the traffickers’ empty promises of a better life. However, once having arrived at a new destination, slaves are often subject to harsh working conditions with all profits going to the traffickers. Furthermore, the number of slaves being drawn into forced labor is steadily rising. A study conducted by the International Labour Organization reveals that 2.4 million people are being forced into labor as a result of human trafficking (“The Cost of Coercion” 1). Sadly enough, these millions are not restricted to just men and women,
through “deceit, sale by family, abduction, seduction or romance… or recruitment of former slaves. Poor or marginally subsistent individuals are the ones most vulnerable to exploitation because of their economic desperation” (Kara). After the initial obtaining of a slave, traffickers proceed to transport slaves across international borders. Passports and other legal documents are easily forged and far too often government officials are quick to ignore the illegal activity for a small price (“Government Corruption Can Lead to an Increase in Human Trafficking”). Such corruption only adds to the vicious web the slaves feel caught in. The very people intended to be a source of help and salvation for the victims are usually well-involved and benefit from the trafficker’s services (Nefarious: Merchant of Souls). Victims feel they have nowhere to turn, and so they remain silent; this silence only allows the traffickers’ operations to thrive and prosper. The third stage of this process involves the exploitation of the
but children as well. One researcher writes that, “many children and their parents have been deceived into coming to the UK for a so-called better life…Instead, these children end up being used as slaves to look after the families of their exploiters and cater to their every need” (Ariyo). Some of the most innocent human beings are being forced into a lifetime of servitude. Not only are the victims deprived of their freedom as well as their wages, but also their future is being destroyed by corruption. Consequently, the sex slave trade is one of the largest and most profitable avenues of human trafficking. Research conducted by the UNODC reveals that 79% of trafficking victims are sexually exploited (“Dilemma: Human Trafficking”). The demands as well as the stakes are high for the slaves in the sex trade. While in the sex slave trade, slaves are subject to severe mistreatment and abuse. Slaves are often drugged and severely beaten in order to ensure complete submission and compliance to the pimps, customers, and traffickers (Nefarious: Merchant of Souls). Fear, as well as desperation, are common ploys traffickers exercise to break a person’s
will and defiance. Additionally, the humiliation and degradation these victims are subject to is nothing short of horrendous. A former victim of trafficking said that she, along with the other women enslaved, would be woken up at all hours of the night to meet the demands of male customers or pimps (Nefarious: Merchant of Souls). They would then be forced to remove their clothing so the men could inspect and determine which girl suited their individual needs best. These women, like so many others caught in this industry, are constantly being stripped of their dignity, freewill, and respect. Even the price placed on the slaves is terribly degrading. One tourist reported that he bought a girl for a mere ten dollars a night (Nefarious: Merchant of Souls). The low prices placed on the slaves reveal that the traffickers think of them as merchandise rather than human beings. One brothel owner even compared buying a prostitute to ordering a pizza as the buyer can choose what “color” and “size” he likes best (Nefarious: Merchant of Souls). Sadly, the sex slave trade not only treads upon a person physically but also emotionally. Even if a sex slave manages to
Fear, as well as desperation,
are common ploys traffickers exercise to break a person’s will and
appealing industry for those motivated by greed. The International Labor Organization “estimates profits from human trafficking at $44.3 billion per year” (“Human Trafficking”). With the demand for slaves so high, the traffickers are forced to go out time and time again to obtain more slaves. As a result, thousands of people are disappearing every day. UNICEF reports that “every 30 seconds a child is trafficked” (qtd. in “The Cold Facts of Modern Slavery”). From this estimate, it can be concluded that one million, fifty one thousand, and two hundred children are trafficked every year. This statistic is enormous and alarming in itself, but the number of slaves is even higher. It is additionally estimated that twenty-seven million people are enslaved in the world today with trafficking existing inside 161 out of 192 countries (“The Cold Facts of Modern Slavery”). All of the previous statistics reveal that human trafficking is a crime that is spreading like wildfire throughout the entire world. It is a fire that refuses to be contained in present day society; its hold and pursuit of the innocent and vulnerable is relentless. Today, the growth of this industry demands society’s most concentrated attention and most valiant efforts. Only when society recognizes trafficking as a growing problem will a solution proceed to follow. Despite the complexity and growth of human trafficking, this cause is not without hope. Hundreds of organizations, government
survive the brutality of the industry, she or he is left feeling rejected and worthless. Furthermore, even when freed, many feel as if they have nothing left to offer and so they return to their chains (Nefarious: Merchant of Souls). The exploitation in the sex slave trade is both vicious and cruel as it snatches the future of so many individuals. Thomas Jefferson wrote in one of the most revered documents in U.S. history that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (“The Declaration of Independence”). Such exploitation denies every victim of these three most coveted and desired rights. Human trafficking, in all of its forms, is wreaking havoc throughout millions of lives, leaving a path of pain and destruction in its wake. While human trafficking operates beneath a mask of lies and deception, its growth is not so well concealed. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, “Human trafficking is reputed to be one of the most profitable endeavors of organized crime and the fastest growing” (“BJA Programs”). This industry is obviously rising at an alarming rate and not shockingly so. One former trafficker said that he found the industry to be so appealing because of the money involved (Nefarious: Merchant of Souls). Unlike drugs or any other product, the slaves can be sold more than once making it an extremely profitable and
officials, and individuals have poured their time and efforts into the prevention of human trafficking. However, much still needs to be done. Many steps must be taken if one wishes to see the abolition of the slave trade. A simple, but effective, way to prevent the trafficking of persons is through awareness. Educating rural areas of traffickers’ strategies and agendas in recruiting slaves can help decrease the number of victims trafficked each year. Additionally, spreading awareness to the general population such as friends, neighbors, churches, and schools can increase financial support for the organizations fighting against human trafficking. Awareness, essentially, requires the voices of the people. For every great feat accomplished, there is an advocate. For example, both the slaves in England and the United States were freed because of the passionate efforts and the courageous voices of William Wilberforce and Angelina Grimke (“Abolition Movement-Early Antislavery Efforts, Early Efforts of Blacks, Revolutionary Era Abolitionism, Northern Abolitionism”). The trafficked slaves in the world today anxiously await such a voice. Human trafficking is far too large of a problem to be conquered single-handedly. Modern-day abolitionists are desperately needed to rise up and be the voices for those who have none. Furthermore, enforcing laws that prosecute traffickers has shown visible results in decreasing the number of humans trafficked. Tara McKelvey notes that, “Trafficking prospers in places where criminals
profit from the enterprise because laws against it are not strictly enforced.” Unfortunately, this is the case for far too many countries largely because of government corruption. Human trafficking is being met with casual tolerance and traffickers face light sentences. However, many positive initiatives have been taken. The “William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008” has made great strides in reducing human trafficking. This act strives to increase protection of victims as well as partners with international government officials to ensure that adequate steps are being taken to combat trafficking and prosecute traffickers (“William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008”). This Act, among others, has helped put many traffickers behind bars thus decreasing the number of victims trafficked each year and ensuring justice. Additionally, illegalizing the sale of sex has proven to be quite effective in decreasing the number of people trafficked. A distinct correlation has been found between trafficking and prostitution. Richard Poulin writes that, “Some 4 million women and children annually are the victims of the worldwide trafficking for the purpose of prostitution” (1). Over the years, prostitution has evidently served as a breeding ground for human trafficking. In countries where prostitution thrives, so does trafficking. Similarly, in countries where prostitution is illegalized, trafficking diminishes. For example, the country of Sweden
It is only impossible if men and women decide it is so. Just as light will always overpower darkness, so good shall always prevail over evil. However, nothing memorable has ever been accomplished by those who choose to sit on the sidelines. Justice only prevails when men and women decide to pick up their swords and valiantly fight against the invading evil. Freedom is a battle that cannot be forfeited simply because of ignorance, complacency or greed. Trafficking must end for freedom to prevail.
has chosen to ban the purchase of sexual services, and as a result the country has taken considerable strides in combating trafficking (Anwar). The very streets that used to be flooded with men in pursuit of the prostitutes services are now quiet by early evening (Nefarious: Merchant of Souls). How did Sweden go about enforcing this ban? The answer is simple. Traffickers and prostitutes caught in the act can face up to ten years in prison (Anwar). Such efforts have proven to be extremely successful. One researcher reports that, â€œAccording to the Swedish police, 400 to 600 foreign women are brought to Sweden each year to be prostitutes. In Finland, which is only half the size of Sweden, that number is between 10,000 and 15,000 womenâ€? (Anwar). When a country manages to stop a crime running rampant throughout the rest of the world, society must sit up and take notice that this ban is working. If countries decided to follow Swedenâ€™s footsteps in rejecting the sale of sex, traffickers would struggle to maintain a thriving market. Clearly, human trafficking is an issue that cannot be met with casual interest and efforts. Human trafficking blatantly defies all that is good and right, and for that reason, it demands the attention and efforts of every human being. In conclusion, human trafficking is an evil that is responsible for the murder and captivity of millions of people. However, despite its complexity and growth, human trafficking is not an undefeatable foe.
W orks C ited “Abolition Movement-Early Antislavery Efforts, Early Efforts of Blacks, Revolutionary Era Abolitionism, Northern Abolitionism.” Net Industries, 2011. Web. 30 November 2011. Anwar, Andre. “Prostitution Ban Huge Success in Sweden.” Humantrafficking.org, 2008. Web. 20 November 2011. Ariyo, Debbie. “The 21St Century Slaves Here In The UK.” Community Care 1703 (2007): 24-25. Academic Search Complete. Web. 19 Nov. 2011. “BJA Programs.” Bureau of Justice Assistance. U.S. Department of Justice. Web. 12 November 2011. “The Cold Facts of Modern Slavery.” Nefarious Documentary Trilogy. Exodus Cry, 2011. Web. 12 November 2011. “The Cost of Coercion.” International Labour Office. Switzerland: 2009. International Labour Organization. Web. 13 November 2011. “The Declaration of Independence.” The Declaration of Independence. Independence Hall Association, 2011. Web. 21 November 2011. “Dilemma: Human Trafficking.” Human Rights Dilemma Forum. The Global Compact. Web. 14 November 2011.
“Government Corruption Can Lead to an Increase in Human Trafficking” by United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking. Human Trafficking. Christina Fisanick, Ed. CurrentControversies Series. Greenhaven Press, 2010. The Vienna Forum to Fight Human Trafficking(UN.GIFT B.P.:20). New York: United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking, 2008. United Nations. “Human Trafficking.” Human Rights and Business Dilemma Forum. Global Compact. Web. 21 November 2011. “Human Trafficking.” Human Trafficking. Ed. Christina Fisanick. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2010. Current Controversies. Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 6 November 2011. Kara, Siddharth. “Supply and Demand: Human Trafficking In the Global Economy.” Harvard International Review 33.2 (2011): 66+. Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 6 Nov. 2011. McKelvey, Tara. “Efforts Against Human Trafficking in the United States Extend Worldwide.” Human Trafficking. Christina Fisanick, Ed. CurrentControversies Series. Greenhaven Press, 2010. Tara McKelvey, “Special Victims,” Ford Foundation Report, Fall 2004. Ford Foundation. All rights reserved.
Nefarious: Merchant of Souls. Nolot, Benjamin, dir. Exodus Cry. Film. Unreleased. Nye, Carolyn. “Important Facts About Slavery Today.” Slavery Today. Ronald D. Lankford, Jr., Ed. At Issue Series. Greenhaven Press, 2010. Carolyn Nye, “10 Shocking Facts About Global Slavery,” MatadorNetwork.com, 2008. Poulin, Richard. “Legalizing Prostitution Increases Human Trafficking.” Human Trafficking. Christina Fisanick, Ed. Current Controversies Series. Greenhaven Press, 2010. Web. 15 November 2011. “Understanding Human Trafficking.” Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force Strategy and Operations E-Guide. Bureau of Justice Assistance. Web. 13 November 2011. “William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008.” US 110th Cong., 2nd sess. H. Rept. United States Department of Justice. Web. 20 November 2011.
The Little Girl and the Dance
he little girl, so very small, bright and full of hope, sun-streaked brown hair blowing in the sunny breeze said, “Daddy, will you dance with me?” But there was no answer. So she twirled around in her red and white gingham dress, shining in the sun, dancing barefoot on the sand. After some time, she stopped twirling and asked again, “Daddy, will you dance with me?” Clouds began to move over the sun, darkening the light to a murky gloom. The being that answered her request cast its dark shadow over her. “I’ll dance with you,” it said. But it was too frightening and she ran away from the shadow. The little girl did not know what to do now—the dance seemed to have been marred. So she tried a few unsure steps on her own again and faltered. Timidly she gave her question one more try. “Daddy, will you dance with me?” In answer, the clouds rolled in like a storm, bringing with them utter blackness and an unexplained terror. Out of the darkness came a
horrible and terrifying creature. Red-eyed and angry, black and empty like a deep dark hole, it lurched from the dense shadows and before she could escape, it grabbed hold of her wrist, painfully driving its claws into her flesh. She was unable to break its hold and shrank in abject fear from the terrible apparition as it snarled at her, the reek of alcohol on its breath. In a drugged and drunken rage, it snatched at her, its long, scraggly hair and beard scratching her skin. “Come here, little girl. Let’s dance.” Pain, darkness and fear engulfed her. Entrapped in the terrible dance, she reeled and stumbled and was bruised, battered and torn in the violence of the movement. Crushed till she could barely breathe, wounded again and again, she defended herself as much as she could by finding scraps of metal, stone and wood to fashion a makeshift shield around her. Ineffective, the shield seemed to do more to keep her imprisoned in the dance than it did to keep out the onslaught. Still she clung to life in the raging, storming dance.
Then without warning the storm finally seemed to pass over. The red-eyed monster disappeared along with the turbulence. But it was too late. In her heart the turbulence remained. It grew and grew and overwhelmed her with its power. The little girl had no desire to spin and twirl as she once had. Instead she knew she was only able to perform the steps of the dance she had learned through a filter of hate and fear. So she sought out partners that reminded her of the dance she had learned and said listlessly, without any hope, “Dance with me.” And they did. And the darkness and fear were familiar to her. This was the dance she knew. Reeling and stumbling again, carrying her makeshift armor, she struggled to keep up with the steps. She was tired. She was still wounded but the scars and hardness seemed to bandage her wounds
so she didn’t notice. Wearily she fought to stay in the dance, even though she hated it. But it was all she was good for. These were the only steps she knew, and her partners willingly used her. After what seemed like an eternity in this reeling mockery of a dance, she knew she would not last any longer if she did not break away. With an extreme effort, she wrenched herself free from her partner and from the dance. Breathless and exhausted, falling in a heap on the ground, she lay there, trying to regain a sense of her surroundings, to catch her breath, feeling as though she wanted simply to die. A soft sound roused her from her exhaustion. A glimmer sparked in the darkness. She looked up. Someone she had never seen before stood in front of her and reached out a hand, scattering the darkness
she she would not last any longer if she did not
G regory P. S mith — “ the with a beam of bright light. “Dance with me,” he said. Suspicious and afraid, the girl eyed the extended hand but did not reach for it. “No,” she stated flatly. “I’m afraid. I don’t trust you. I don’t want to dance.” “Little girl,” he said gently. “I am the only one you can trust. I will not hurt you but I have come to heal.” The little girl looked at the outstretched hand with a lonely and desperate longing, wishing she had the courage to take a step. Part of her wanted to believe he was telling the truth but she just couldn’t take the chance. She didn’t know how she could do it—he needed to find someone else who knew the steps—she wasn’t the one. The being smiled softly, gently. “I will show you the steps. Come, trust me.” The girl, weeping now for the pain and emptiness that threatened to drown her, sobbed in fear, anger and hurt. The
To my surprise, I saw that in place of my worn and broken armor I was wearing brightly colored skirts that swirled around me, reflecting the light that held me. Filled with love and laughter, the dance was like nothing I had ever known. Pausing to take it all in, to try to understand how this being, this person of light, would want to dance with ME, I found it incomprehensible that I could be his lady, and that I would be dancing with him. He watched me as my face reflected my thoughts and doubts. “Believe me,” he said. Slowly something new crept into my understanding. I did believe him. I was his beautiful lady. Reaching out my hand toward him with trust, with love and a heart that finally believed, I asked the question. “Daddy, will you dance with me?” And he did.
armor was simply too heavy—she was unable to do anything but fight. He reached out to the little girl whose warrior heart he had made, one that was as strong as steel and resilient as flint. What he knew that she could not see in herself was that she was also soft and gentle, pure and beautiful. “You are a lady created to dance with me.” The little girl, an unexpected glimmer of hope lighting in her heart, tried to quench it and sighed instead. Certain he had the wrong girl, she knew she was no lady. She didn’t know the dance. She couldn’t do it. Then the being smiled and reached out a nail-scarred hand. “Dance with me, Deborah. Be my lady and dance with me for a while.” Unable to stop myself, I reached up my hands and laid them timidly on his arms. Life flowed into them. Love poured over me. Beauty and light surrounded me. Slowly, delicately, he lifted me to my feet and began to dance with me. The steps were intricate, yet somehow my bare feet knew the pattern as they glided through each movement, interweaving with his in complex yet beautiful, rhythmic steps. Washing away the pain and anguish of everything that had come before, this dance was tender, expressing the joy of my freedom with every lift and turn. The movements flowed effortlessly, gently, as he spun and twirled me around, hands guiding me as I learned to follow his graceful lead. He lifted me as if I was a delicate ballerina and skillfully led me in an elegant waltz of pure beauty and joy.
History: The Power of Continuity
he lack of importance placed on historical study is an ever growing trend. The irony is that all disciplines have one thing in common--History. Every course of study, from Accounting to Zoo Keeping, has become what it is today through history. In other words, everything, everyone, everywhere, has a history. In fact, there is no way to better understand a subject than by exploring its roots, analyzing the past, and understanding its evolution. Like it or not, everything today has its roots firmly planted in history. In our societyâ€™s endless strive towards advancement and change, it is plain to see that we are geared toward the future. â€œAmericans especially have put a premium on becoming rather than being,â€? contends media historian Stephen Vaughn. Is our race to the top distancing us from the value of our foundations? By ignoring history, the essence of humanity becomes nothing more than a bothersome course requirement. However, it is important for educators in every discipline to remember the power of historical study as well as the
history of the subject to which they are dedicated. In fact, the true goal of any educator should be to lay the foundation upon which a lifetime of learning will continue to build; sparking a realization that what is learned today will be history tomorrow. The true value of history can be found by looking beyond the surface and realizing that it is not simply teaching names, dates, places, and events. True historical study develops skills that are crucial in all areas of life; the skills to think critically and evaluate information thoroughly. In a world where vast amounts of information are available at the click of a button, anything that arms students with the tools needed to think and reason efficiently is an imperative. Choosing to delve deeper, ask questions, seek solutions, and pursue truth is the first step towards lasting wisdom; a wisdom that understands cause and effect, and the role each individual plays in the creation of our future. In the end it is our duty to find and harness the power within our chosen course of study. History instills in each of us the power of
critical thinking, the power of understanding, the power of identity, and the power of roots. The mightiest tree in the forest would fall if not for its roots. Through these roots come nourishment, strength, and stability. In short, historical roots provide the power and foundation on which all other disciplines are based on, it is everywhere and everyone, and will only cease to exist when we do.
magine spending twenty-three hours of your day isolated in a room no bigger than a bathroom. This is the reality for many of the eighty thousand inmates who will serve an average of eighteen months in administrative segregation (solitary confinement) in the United States alone (Ridgeway and Casella). For many inmates, prospects of serving time in isolation can be overwhelming and terrifying. Spending twenty-three hours a day, locked up in a room deprived of any perceptual sense of social contact, can be detrimental to oneâ€™s overall health and test the capabilities of the human psyche. Prolonged solitary confinement is considered by many to be one of the most extreme forms of punishment with deprivation and isolation reaching levels of torture pushing the boundaries of the Eight Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (bans punishments considered to be a â€œcruel and unusual punishmentâ€?). For this reason, Senate should pass Colorado Bill 176 to limit solitary confinement in prison. Colorado Bill 176 was created in response to findings conducted
in 2008 from the Department of Corrections. The study found that the number of inmates with mental illnesses doubled as a result of prolonged solitary confinement; consequently, shortly after release, many inmates find themselves back in prison and solitary confinement due to the lack of rehabilitation prior to their release. Colorado Bill 176 would require state prisons to have physicians evaluate prisoners before being placed into administrative segregation, would limit time spent in solitary confinement to thirty days, and would require inmates to be placed back into prison for social integration before they are released back into the community (Carroll and Levy). Colorado Bill 176 concerns everyone in the general public. Solitary confinement is primarily used to isolate an inmate from harming others, specifically those that have exhibited violent or disruptive behavior while incarcerated. The theory is that solitary confinement and sensory deprivation will modify behavior and reduce aggression. This is often necessary for protection; however, the results
disorders – at least twice the rate in the overall prison population (qtd in Abramsky par. 13). These findings include those with, but are not limited to, bipolar disorder, paranoia, major- depression symptoms, delusional tendencies, schizophrenic disorder, reactive psychosis, and dissociative identity disorders. Since inmates are often times released back into the community without any form of rehabilitation to function in society, there is a considerable degree of concern for public safety because those on the edge of a mental breakdown tend to be unpredictable and potentially dangerous. For the inmates who are released that already served years in solitary confinement, reintegrating back into society can be overwhelming. Upon release, inmates have found it difficult to be around people and often times relapse. Ann Lawlor, a women who was sent to prison at the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility for writing bad checks spent a year in solitary confinement after being accused of speaking in coded language in 2005 (Hillman). She states that while Parley 2012
of prolonged solitary confinement may cause more harm than good. John Cacioppo, a social psychologist at the University of Chicago in Illinois states that, “Solitary confinement as a means of achieving anger control is having an opposite effect; it’s decreasing the ability to control one self. If they are losing the ability to control one self, then they may become more likely to express that anger.” This lack of control is often times exhibited after release. Two-thirds of the inmates released from solitary confinement find themselves back in prison within three years (Yost). The overall mental deterioration and increase of aggression that social deprivation from solitary confinement causes may potentially put citizens in danger, a concern that is addressed with Colorado Bill 176. Similarly, prolonged use of solitary confinement increases mental illness compared to normal prisons. A study led by the Washington State Department of Corrections, a more humane, rehabilitationfocused prison system, found that approximately thirty percent of inmates in its supermax units showed evidence of serious psychiatric
in solitary confinement she nearly lost her mind. Lawlor recalls that after being released, she was unable to tolerate noise, bright lights, and human contact that produced several symptoms of anxiety (shivers and panic attacks). Experiences such as this shed light in how flawed supermax units are. Placing and forcing inmates into prolonged social deprivation is contradictory to the very purpose for the use of solitary confinement, behavioral adjustment and aggression control. Still more disturbing, after serving years and sometimes decades in solitary confinement, some inmates are found innocent. This is the case for Robert King and fellow inmates Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox, who were charged for murdering a prison guard in a Louisiana Angola prison in 1973. Together the men, known as the “Angola Three” collectively served more than a hundred years in solitary confinement (Biggs). King was released in 2007 after he was found innocent, but both Wallace and Woodfox remain in solitary confinement to this day – the longest stay ever recorded in American prison history. Ultimately, the greatest concern here is the inhumanity
of depriving inmates from human contact for prolonged periods of time. Being alone without human contact is mental torture that may permanently damage a person’s ability to function in society. In the movie Cast Away, Tom Hank’s character yearns for human contact so much so that he starts talking to Wilson, his volleyball – this demonstrates the fundamental humanistic idea that we survive as well as thrive on being social beings. As a society, we need to consider, ethically, the relation between social isolation and mental breakdowns. Conversely, many proponents of supermax prisons assert that the harshness of institutions that use solitary confinement deters other inmates from committing criminal acts inside the prison systems. It is true that harsh punishment can be an effective tool to deter inmates from committing criminal acts; however solitary confinement is essentially immoral as a form of punishment. The use of solitary confinement is being abused by supermax prisons across America, and is not being used as an effective tool in behavioral adjustment. Many inmates placed in solitary confinement have returned back to prison because they’ve
Mental health more than doubled for those placed in solitary
within the walls of these supermax units and as a result end up serving unnecessary time in confinement. The detrimental effect of prolonged solitary confinement and the increase mental of deterioration are pushing the boundaries of unconstitutional torture. Yet, courts have failed to address the prolonged use of solitary confinement and its extreme psychological impact on inmates as unconstitutional. According to Hans Toch,â€œcourts have hesitated to tell prison administrators that conditions of confinement in their supermax or control units are constitutionally impermissible or unacceptable, even where judicial dicta reek of personal disapproval of such conditions.â€? (qtd in Smith p.444 par. 2). In other words, many court officials are aware of and disapprove of the conditions of solitary confinement but have yet to address concerns to prison officials regarding mental torture. Perhaps the sensitive nature of this matter is why the judicial system is ignoring vital issues concerning the ethical use of solitary confinement. Nevertheless, solitary confinement in several supermax units challenges the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and raises questions about the controversy over the use of administrative segregation. Although many agree that there is a need to reform the use of administrative segregation, debate among psychiatrists remains. They continue to question whether solitary confinement causes mental illness. Results from a study led by the University of Colorado
committed further criminal acts after being released. Unfortunately, this only illustrates that administrative segregation is not deterring criminal activity. Many prison officials oppose state decisions to return dangerous inmates from solitary confinement to the general prison population because the change threatens the safety of correction officers and inmates (Johnson). As discussed, mental health problems more than doubled for those placed in solitary confinement making them more dangerous to the prison population. Therefore, it is vital to reintegrate inmates back into the prison population as a rehabilitation method to reduce the likelihood of a repeat offender in order for them to function within the general community upon release. In addition to Stickrath and Bucholtz, correction professionals at the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction in Colorado, also emphasize the need for super-maximum prisons to use solitary confinement because it is vital to the overall security within the prison system. However, many inmates have been sent to solitary confinement for reasons other than actual disciplinary offences. According to a study led by the state of Florida, one-third of the correctional departments across the country report placing inmates in administrative segregation because they simply did not have enough disciplinary housing in lowersecurity prisons. Many unlucky men and women may be forgotten
C hristine W iabel S mith — “ swarming concluded that, “in classifying people as improving, declining, or staying the same over time, the majority remained the same” (University of Colorado), which differs from the study conducted by the Department of Corrections in 2008. While there are cases likely to report a decrease rather than increase of mental illnesses among inmates in administrative segregation, the significant increases of mental disorders appear to be in those already diagnosed. However, there are discrepancies within this study. This study does not report the percentage of inmates already susceptible to mental illnesses, such as drug abusers, that enter confinement over a period of time compared to those in a normal prison population. They also fail to account the number of inmates who already suffer from a mental disorder. According to Dr. Terry Kupers, a psychiatrist who has studied supermax prison populations and testified in lawsuits over their treatment, said that people
only makes matters worse by increasing aggression and decreasing self-control. Should prisons honestly confine these men and women to the point of insanity only to risk public safety upon their release? The simple yet devastating act of keeping someone locked up in a glorified shoebox does little for behavioral adjustment – the very purpose of administrative segregation. Instead of punishing these men and women with social depravity, the following better rehabilitation methods need to be implemented in supermax units: requiring state prisons to have physicians evaluate prisoners before being placed into administrative segregation, limiting time spent in solitary confinement to thirty days, and requiring inmates to be placed back into prison for social integration before inmates are released back into the community. This method can be realized with the implementation of Colorado Bill 176.
with no previous history of mental illness can become ill in extended solitary confinement, which he defines as longer than three months (qtd. Daly par 20). The consequence of prolonged solitary confinement is not only found to contribute to the decrease mental states of inmates but studies have further concluded that it leads to an increased risk of suicide. According to an article by Mary Beth Pfeiffer, a journalist for the New York Poughkeepsie Journal, five times as many suicides per capita occurred in solitary confinement — what inmates call the “Box” — than in the general population. One explanation for this could be the effects that loneliness has on an individual, including extreme depression and a loss of self-control. This “loss of control” could explain the increase of suicide rates among confined inmates, further justifying the need to limit how much time a person spends in solitary confinement. Although the use of administrative segregation is unlikely to be reformed across the U.S. in terms of limiting solitary confinement, there is little doubt that monitoring the psychological impact of solitary confinement is needed. In depriving inmates’ the natural humanistic need to connect with others, the boundaries of the Eight Amendment are being pushed. Though it is true that many crimes dictate punishment, studies have found that prolonged solitary confinement
W orks C ited Abramsky, Sasha. “Supermax Security Prisons Are Inhumane.” Prisons (2005). Gale. Web. 16 Nov.2011. Biggs, Brooke Shelby. “Life in Solitary Confinement: 12,775 Days Alone.” Editorial. Alternet.org. Alternet, 17 April. 2007. Web. 27 Nov. 2011. Carroll, Morgan Sen. and Levy, Claire Rep. United States. Senate. House. A Bill For An Act Concerning Appropriate Use Of Restrictive Confinement. Sixty-eight Gen. Assembly., 1st Sess. Colorado: GPO, 2010. Print. Casella, Jean and Ridgeway, James. “The Lonely Battle Against Solitary Confinement.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. 19 Jan. 2011. Web. 10 Nov. 2011. Daly, Rich. “Psychiatrists Decry Punishment That Isolates Prisoners.” American Psychiatric Association 45.17 (2010): pg 4. Psychiatry Online. Web. 5 Dec. 2011. Hillman, Susan. “New Colorado Bill Looking To Limit Solitary Confinement.” Editorial. Examiner. Examiner, 18 March. 2011. Web. 7 Nov. 2011.
Johnson, Kevin. “States Start Reducing Solitary Confinement To Help Budgets.” USA Today. Gannett Co. Inc, 14 June 2010. Web 7 Nov. 2011. Smith, Peter Scharff. “The Effects Of Solitary Confinement On Prison Inmates: A Brief History And Review of the Literature.” Crime and Justice 34 (2006): 441-528. Wilson Social Sciences.Web. 7 Dec. 2011. Yost, Peter, dir.Solitary Confinement. Perf. Peter Yost. National Geographic Documentary, 2010. National Geographic. Web. 7 Nov. 2010.
Through These Eyes
t’s early in the morning and time for a change of shifts. In the barracks where we sleep, my bunk mates have the radio on while getting ready for the day. As they tie their boots and polish their insignia, I overhear Hitler make his newest speech about the current “problem” we are facing with the Poles and Jews. I loathe this man. How anyone could respect him or even worse – agree with him was beyond my comprehension. Though I volunteered for this post, it’s the last place I want to be. The German government says it’s solely based on volunteering, yet if you turn the assignment down, there would most definitely be punishment. It was not for myself that I took this job, but for the safety of my family. I needed to ensure they would not be uprooted or banished for some reason Nazi-Germany had come up with. I don’t pretend to be anyone’s hero. I just need to stay alive. As I pick up my hat and proceed out the door, I can tell it is going to be a very long day. A new group of prisoners has been brought in and they will, of course, need to go through what the other guards jokingly
call “Orientation.” Sick. Their idea of “welcoming” our new inhabitants (after beating them for absolutely no reason at all) is to pick a few out of the group and order them to be “in charge” of the others. This of course, puts power into the hands of that prisoner – for the time being. During this “Orientation,” the lead prisoner must bark orders and even punish his fellow prisoners in any way he sees fit. Unbeknownst to the prisoner, his job is only to amuse the guards in doing this. The lives of these “prisoner leaders” are short. This is due to the fact that once he is sent back to the group, once again as just another lowly prisoner, he will surely be beaten to death by his fellow detainees as revenge. I find a spot of shade underneath a small overhang. Leaning against the building, I survey my surroundings. There are people everywhere. The numbers at this camp just seem to multiply daily. I look forward to the time when this will all be over and I can look back and tell myself it was just a nightmare. However, that day is far away and I must find a way to deal with the infamy that goes on around me.
therefore the enemy in our superior’s eyes and will surely die if she is seen consorting with me. I decide I will watch her from afar, though I know nothing can save her. She must be seven or eight. Even covered in dirt, she is a pretty child. She wears a green dress with what used to be white lace at the bottom, followed by floral lace tights. She is missing one black shoe, lost in the capture most likely. A green velvet ribbon surrounds her angellike face. Even through the brown smudges, there appears to be a slight glow – or maybe I am mistaken by the sun. Perhaps this girl was dressed for church. She wanders aimlessly, no one paying her any attention. After awhile, she grows tired and finds a spot of shade to nap under. A loud shout averts my attention to my right. It is time for breakfast. That’s not even an appropriate word for what these people are given to eat, nor the time they are allowed. I watch them scarf down what they can, some quicker than others. I turn away from the prisoners. It is the least I can do to give them a shred of dignity. Parley 2012
Nausea overcomes me as a cart piled with bodies swerves past me, filling my nostrils with the odor of death and decay. As I kneel to the ground, I wretch involuntarily, praying nothing comes up. Once my stomach muscles stop heaving, I stand back up, glancing around to see if any of my fellow guards had witnessed my moment of weakness. I cannot imagine Hell would be much worse. The screams from the torture blocks are un-nerving and covering my ears, I realize that I don’t deserve to shut them out, for I am partly to blame for them. In the distance, a father and his small daughter converse, only steps away from the other guards. The father is taken, roughly pried from his beloved girl’s arms. Tears shine in the hot sun, on his face as well as hers and mine. I quickly look into the sunlight to cover myself. I weep because I know the girl will never again see her father and as she looks around, terrified and confused, I know the reason I am suddenly walking toward her is for fear of the same thing happening to my own family. I want to comfort her, to hold her. But I stop. She is Jewish and
It does not matter where I look, it is happening everywhere. I wish I could be anywhere in the world but here, right now. A hand touches my shoulder. I am told that I am needed for an execution; my most dreaded duty. Out of the corner of my eye I see the prisoner walking in my direction, hands tied behind his back, eyes looking at the ground. I presume this man is in his early thirties. He’s tall with dark hair and has a tan line where his wedding band used to be, symbolizing he has a family somewhere. As if I could feel any worse. He crosses my path to get to his final destination and the sight of him makes me grit my teeth. His punishment for whatever it was he supposedly did wrong – if anything – was lashings. Several of them, accompanied by hot iron burnings and from the looks of his soaking wet hair, water torture had also been involved. As I lift my weapon off my shoulder and into my hands, I can feel his eyes burning into me. I meet his defiant gaze, only for a moment. Composure is everything during executions – lose it and you risk losing your life as well. As I check my weapon to make sure it is properly loaded, stalling the inevitable, thoughts flow through my mind about
this man. What is his name? Is his wife also at this camp? Does he have children? I notice a certain numbness about him as if he is prepared for this. After a human goes through such torture, I would imagine the body shuts down and the soul diminishes. The weapon is loaded. Time will no longer stand still. I grasp the gun tightly to hide my shakiness. Sweat drips down my forehead as I take aim. I can feel my breath on my hand – hot and wet against the dry heat in the dusty air. The prisoner takes his stance, but he will not show fear and I envy him for that. I wonder what it would be like to die without fear. When I die, I suppose that’s all I will think about. At the very last moment, our eyes meet and as I pull the trigger I briefly see gratitude in him. He falls backwards, free. Two of my comrades engage in casual conversation as they drag the man’s body to a nearby cart and hoist him on top of the other corpses. I release a heavy sigh, exhausted. Glancing at my watch I notice I still have the majority of the day left ahead of me. No sooner has the thought entered my mind, and I am called for yet another “duty.” Evidently a guard change was needed in one of the torture blocks. Fantastic.
Out of the corner of my eye I see the walking in my direction, hands behind his back, eyes looking at the ground.
C hristine W iabel S mith — “ ghosts
of the past ”
I head to the blocks, imagining what torture method was being initiated on some poor, undeserving detainee. The closer I get to the buildings, the louder the screams become. When I reach the door, I stop, trying to mentally prepare myself for what I was about to see…. and do. I step over the threshold. The mugginess instantly makes me yearn for a shower and the musty smell makes me sick. I turn the corner to my left and walk down the dim corridor. On my right is the room in which I am needed. Reluctantly, I open the door and enter the room. Directly in front of me is a man. His hands are tied together behind his back and he is hanging from them. The man’s head is hanging down, his shoulder bones are sticking out of his skin and his body is lifeless. He’s not dead, though I’m sure he wishes he were. I am told by the guard who is going off-duty that the prisoner has fifteen minutes left until he may be taken down. After the guard leaves, I step towards the man. I tell him I am going to let him down, that his punishment is over. I ask him what it was he did wrong. He whispers almost inaudibly that during a bunk inspection in the soldier barracks, even though the room was immaculate (they always were), one of the guards saw fit to make believe that the beds were out of order by an inch. I shake my head. Unbelievable. I slide a chair under the man’s feet and tell him to try and stand on it while I untied his hands. His legs were shaking and I knew he
wouldn’t be able to support his own weight for much longer. As I untie his hands, he slumps against me completely void of any energy or strength. I gently sit him in the chair and tell him to rest for awhile before we go back outside. He is covered in blood from his shoulder injuries and sweat from bearing the excruciating pain. The man is probably parched and in serious need of a drink of water, yet I had none to give him. He would have to wait until the next mealtime. By the looks of the man, I doubted that would happen. He would likely end up in a truck, on top of the other corpses by the end of the day. After awhile, I decide I had better get him back outside before another guard comes in. I slide an arm around his back, pulling up under his arms. The prisoner grimaces in pain, but says nothing. They’ve all gotten good at that…..being silent. I tell him to lean against me until we get to the door. He obliges and we make our way to the front entrance. Before opening the door, the man tries his best to support himself. It is evident he is in more pain than he can tolerate, but somehow he manages to stand on his own. I open the door and we proceed outside. The light is blinding and I have to squint to see where I am going. I watch as the man slowly walks off on his own, back into the multitudes of prisoners. As I walk back to the building upon which I was resting, I find myself searching for the girl in the green dress. I begin to grow fearful when I do not find her. Finally, after reaching my resting place, I spot
her. She is sitting in the dirt, sun blaring down on her, re-tying her ribbon. This gesture touches me for I can imagine my own daughter doing the same. Wanting to make herself look as best as she can in such dire circumstances, she is a girl who would have grown to be a magnificent woman.
Considering the Immigrant Perspective
he looks of despair are permanently carved on the face of Pedro Trejo, a common immigrant to the U.S., who has been arrested and is now being deported back to Mexico for a mundane traffic violation. Pedro, a close family friend, now finds himself hundreds of miles away from his pregnant wife, Liz. The hour of Pedro’s anticipated return home from work has come and gone, and Liz begins to worry as she contemplates the things that could have gone wrong. She stays awake for hours through the night until fatigue inevitably overpowers her worry. When Liz wakes the following day and realizes she is still alone, her thoughts abruptly shift from supposition to conviction that something has gone terribly wrong. Weeks turn into months, and notwithstanding Pedro’s countless attempts to get back to his family, he is unable to beat the intensified efforts of the border patrol. Liz is forced to seek refuge with friends and family in the area, and because of her inability to pay the mortgage, the Trejo’s lose their home. After much effort, Pedro is eventually able to make it back to his
family, but it is too late to salvage any of what they had worked so hard to acquire. Now, one could argue that they shouldn’t have been here in the first place, and if they would have just stayed in their country this tragic story would have never materialized. However, the purpose of this essay is to help one who is oblivious to the difficulties surrounding specifically Mexican immigrants to reflect for a moment and step into the worn out shoes of the oppressed immigrant. So let’s go back to the Trejo family for a moment and analyze the story a little deeper. A few years ago, the Trejo’s had decided to go back to Mexico because of the new Colorado immigration laws. Pedro went back to their small home in Mexico to make sure that everything was ready for his family to return. As Pedro pulled up to their old home he immediately noticed that something wasn’t right. The front door was bashed in, the windows were broken and the few belongings they had inside were left in ruins. Pedro later found out through further inquiry
U.S. citizen, are my audience and the individual who has a direct impact on his or her immigrant neighbor. There are many opinions on whether the immigrant impact is a positive or a negative one. It is a common argument that Latino immigrants are taking the jobs of American citizens. The folly in this position is an obvious one. The jobs held by the majority of these immigrants have virtually no qualifications; they are jobs requiring back breaking work, long hours and meager pay. It is work that no native English speaking person would fight for. An interesting parallel is that there are not enough qualified Americans to fill high end jobs. U.S. companies have now resorted to granting work visas to better qualified people from other countries like India and Asia to fill these positions (Waiting For Superman). Elizabeth Dwoskin, of Bloomberg Business Week, wrote an intriguing article entitled, “Why Americans Won’t Do Dirty Jobs”. She writes of Alabama’s efforts to get rid of undocumented immigrants Parley 2012
that Liz’s father, a man known to frequently speak out against the local drug cartel, was found not too far outside of town, bound, beaten and executed. After assessing the situation Pedro decided that he and his family would take their chances in the U.S. You may say that this situation is unfortunate and uncommon, but you would be only half right. Daily murders, taxes imposed by local gangs employed by drug cartels and a severe shortage of honest work are issues that plague much of Mexico. It is interesting to note that Mexico’s “drug problem” is not one of consumption, but rather one of production and export. The bloody drug war being fought almost unnoticed right underneath our feet, is a war being fought because of the incessant and monumental demand for drugs mainly by the United States. What would you do if you and your family faced these same dangers? Where would you go? Whenever these good people searching for peace for their families look up, they see a huge Vegas style sign with flashing lights that says, “The Land of Opportunity”. You, the average
by passing the law known as “HB56” which requires police officers to question anyone that they suspect is undocumented. This law was very effective in its purpose but it carried with it some unwanted consequences. Thousands of vacant positions opened up for field hands, hotel housekeepers and chicken plant employees. Even in an area where the unemployment rate is 18.2 percent (twice the national average) these jobs remained vacant. Dwoskin says, “One of the big selling points of the immigration law was that it would free up jobs that Republican Governor Robert Bentley said immigrants had stolen from recession-battered Americans. Yet native Alabamians have not come running to fill these newly liberated positions. Many employers think the law is ludicrous and fought to stop it… ‘Immigrants aren’t stealing anything from anyone’, they say”. It also shouldn’t be surprising that the people who more commonly compete with the Mexican immigrant for these jobs are economically disadvantaged Mexican-Americans. Even with this competition, where hungry children hang in the balance, the great majority of these Mexican-Americans are sympathetic towards them and do not blame them. A passage from David Gutierrez’ “Walls and Mirrors” states it this way: “Although working-class Mexican Americans are painfully aware that Mexican immigrants have competed with them for scarce jobs, housing, and social services
and that the immigrants have contributed to the perpetuation of racial animosities between Anglos and Mexicans, they have drawn very different conclusions from these circumstances. Noting that Americans seem to discriminate against Mexicans whether they are U.S. citizens or not, Mexican Americans can see little difference between their position in American society and that of more recent immigrants.” (5) Another reason most Mexican-American’s feel sympathy for more recent immigrants is because it was much easier 20 years ago to obtain citizenship. My grandparents and their children, including my parents, were able to become U.S. citizens relatively easy because the U.S was in desperate need of laborers. Now contrast that with some of my family members who applied for citizenship close to fifteen years ago and still have heard nothing. It is clear as we dig further into U.S. history that a pattern of open border convenience begins to emerge. In August of 1942, the U.S. government embarked on a largescale recruitment of migrant workers from Mexico to fill a great labor need (Gutierrez 47). This agreement between Mexico and the U.S. was renewed several times, most notably when the U.S. was again in need as the scarcity of laborers continued to escalate during World War II. This shows our insatiable reliance on this oppressed population.
Gutierrez continues to shed light on the economic pattern. He notes that this need for Mexican labor in the U.S. dates clear back to the early 1900’s when irrigated land in California jumped from a mere 2 million acres in 1902, to 14 million acres in 1909 (43). A similar spike also occurred in Texas and across the entire southwest. This is impressive considering that in 1890 the combined total of irrigated land in California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona amounted to 1,575,000 acres (Gutierrez 41). Gutierrez expounds on this bit of history:
to overcome the physical obstacles to development, they also undertook a long series of experiments designed to fill their growing need for cheap labor.” (42) For the most part Mexican immigrants have accepted and even embraced their role as low class laborers, doing the unwanted but fundamental dirty work of the United States. They willingly exhaust their lives for their families, their employers, and for this country. Eric Schlosser, a respected journalist from “The Atlantic” shares a shocking statistic about the California farm workers in his piece titled, “In the Strawberry Fields.” “The average migrant worker is a twenty-eight-year-old male, born in Mexico, who earns about $5,000 a year for twenty-five weeks of farm work. His life expectancy is 49 years”. Later he states, “The market will drive wages down like water, until they reach the lowest possible level. That level is about five dollars a day. No deity that men have ever worshipped is more ruthless and more hollow than the free market unchecked; there is no reason why shantytowns should not appear on the outskirts of every American city”. How can such injustice be carelessly
It is imperative to be well about an issue in order to formulate good and make decisions that generate positive outcomes.
“The rapid expansion and growing scale of the agricultural, mining, transportation and construction sectors of the southwestern economy would not have been possible without a massive infusion of labor. Indeed, the lack of a reliable source of affordable labor, combined with the extreme environmental conditions of the Southwest, had always presented would-be capitalists with a vexing obstacle to large-scale development of the region. Consequently, as American entrepreneurs experimented with various technologies
J enny G arza — “ taqueria brushed aside? How has the blame somehow been shifted to the least accountable, conveniently voiceless people? I will leave it for the reader to decide whether the greater fault is found in the greed at the hand of penny pinching employers and the gluttony of the coupon clipping consumer or in the extreme basic needs of an oppressed people. In addition to the logical approach that helps us understand some of the reasons we should help our brothers and sisters south of the border, it is equally important to consider the less tangible reasons such as our moral obligations. The fact that there is an imaginary line dividing two peoples does not exempt one on either side from their duty of being a decent human being. I find it somewhat disturbing that the U.S. / Mexican border not only physically divides people but somehow emotionally detaches us from them, making them seem less important, their suffering less real, and ultimately making them seem less human.
on south circle ”
The main argument posed by virtually all people harboring anti-immigrant sentiments has money as the main priority and not the quality of human lives. Many are livid that the undocumented immigrant does not pay taxes on the meager wages they receive at the hand of the willing American employer. Many are disturbed by the fact that money which could have been used on a pregnant American mother who is the 4th or 5th generation on welfare, was used on a pregnant Mexican woman who just walked several miles in the desert while in labor in hopes that her child could one day go to an American school and learn English. Are we being unfair when we say that they should be U.S. citizens before they can qualify for our help and then make it harder for them to become citizens? Can we stand to see a brown face at the supermarket innocently butchering our English language at the checkout line? I don’t think a lot of Americans can and this is the real issue. The mere presence of
(if it has been a negative one), I invite you to not discard that feeling immediately and consider for a moment that there might be room for your opinions to evolve.
W orks C ited King, Martin Luther. “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” English 121 Readings. Pikes Peak Community College. Boston: Bedford, 2010. 112-126. Print. Dwoskin, Elizabeth. “Why Americans Won’t Do Dirty Jobs.” Bloomberg Businessweek. MSNBC, Nov. 2011. Web. 20 Nov. 2011. Gutierrez, David G. Walls and Mirrors: Mexican Americans, Mexican Immigrants and the Politics of Ethnicity. Berkley: University of California Press, 1995. Print. Gutierrez, David G., ed. Between Two Worlds: Mexican Immigrants and the United States. Wilmington: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1996. Print. Schlosser, Eric. “In The Strawberry Fields.” The Atlantic. The Atlantic Monthly Group, Nov.1995. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. Waiting For Superman. Dir. Davis Guggenheim. Paramount Vantage, 2010. Documentary. Parley 2012
someone from a lower social class, especially a poor immigrant speaking a different language, tends to taint the atmosphere for even the bourgeois American. A sense of superiority emboldens them and they then deem the immigrant as less human and unworthy of their attention. Although my family and I are Mexican, we are neither brown nor unable to speak English, yet when we moved to Colorado Springs, CO from El Paso, TX, we were almost run out of our predominantly white neighborhood by venomous letters left in our mail box saying that “our kind” were not welcome in “their” neighborhood. Numerous signatures were attached to these letters as evidence that it was not a minority sentiment. What is this if not blatant racism? Is it really citizenship status or homeland security they are worried about, or is it something else? It can’t be that we don’t speak English, or that we don’t contribute significantly to the community, because we do. So what else could it be? My main purpose is to educate you, the reader, on the root of the issue which is the difficult political and economic conditions that provide the motive for a Latino immigrant to come to the United States. It is imperative to be well educated about an issue in order to formulate good opinions and make decisions that generate positive outcomes. In the words of Martin Luther King, “Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will”. If at any point in this essay I have caused you to question your opinion of our Mexican neighbors
Colorado Springs Parks: Social Order
n every society there is some amount of social stratification. Social stratification is “the ranking of people into defined layers. Social stratification…is based on things like wealth, race, and gender” (Kimmel 504). Within one city, one can see the social differences between those who live in the upper, generally affluent area; the middle, somewhat less nice area; and the lower, more run down area. A suitable method of examining what kinds of people live in these neighborhoods is by going to parks that are located in each of the specific areas. Parks are great places to go for a stroll or a jog or just to sit and talk to friends. They are also great places to see how people interact with one another in a social setting. Parks contribute to people’s health and well-being, allowing them to take a break from their chaotic and hectic lives, thus enabling sociologists to observe them in a more relaxed setting. In the case of this paper, the parks that were observed include Fox Run Park near the Gleneagle and Black Forest portions of Colorado Springs, Cottonwood Creek Park near the center of Colorado
Springs, and Acacia Park in the downtown portion of Colorado Springs. Within each of these parks, there are some very distinct similarities and differences regarding social interaction. The first park observed was Fox Run, located in northern Colorado Springs. The observation took place between 11 and 12 in the morning on a Sunday. The park itself is large and very well-maintained with a lot of trees and large open fields of grass. The park has a pond with fish in it as well as several playgrounds. It is reasonably easy to access, though it is more hidden than the other two parks that were observed. There are no houses immediately next to Fox Run Park, though the houses one will see when passing by the park are relatively large with a moderate amount of land. Cottonwood Creek was the second park observed. Cottonwood is located more towards middle Colorado Springs off of Dublin Boulevard. The observation took place between 5 and 6 in the evening on a Saturday. This park, like Fox Run, is large, clean and
E lizabeth T horpe — “ untitled ”
between 11 and 12 in the morning on a Sunday. Unlike Fox Run Park and Cottonwood Creek Park, Acacia Park is not very large, taking up only about half of a block. This park has multiple trees throughout and there is also a jungle gym for kids to play on. Unlike the previously mentioned parks, the trash bins are nearly overflowing with trash and there is some trash on the grass. Acacia Park is extremely easy to access as it is bordered closely by streets. Acacia Park has no houses surrounding it and few, if any, lie within visible distance. Instead, various businesses and restaurants Parley 2012
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well-maintained. Unlike Fox Run, Cottonwood is not surrounded by trees. It does, however, have a very large field and multiple playgrounds. Because Cottonwood Creek Park is part of a recreation center, there are many activities available. This park is easier to access and more visible than Fox Run Park. There are more houses in the surrounding area than there were around Fox Run and they are smaller with not as much land around them. The third park observed was Acacia Park in downtown Colorado Springs, located off of East Platte Avenue. The observation took place
line the adjacent streets. In the downtown area in general, houses are closely packed together, more rundown, and have very little land accompanying them. One of the first and most easily seen observations in terms of social class stratification was that of ethnic diversity. An ethnic group is defined as being a group that is “set apart from other groups by language and cultural traditions. Ethnic groups share a common ancestry, history, or culture.” (497). Given this definition, ethnic diversity has to do with the mixing of people from different ethnic groups. At Fox Run, the only ethnic group observed was that of white, upper to upper middle class Americans. At Cottonwood, more ethnic diversity was seen. The majority were white, middle class Americans, along with a larger number Blacks and Asians. At Acacia Park, the majority of the people were white but there were more Blacks and Hispanics than at the other two parks. The second observation had to do with the general appearance of the people. While appearance is not necessarily indicative of social class, more often than not it can point towards one class or another. At all three of the parks, there were people in, what most would consider,
comfortable clothing – a t-shirt and jeans. However, at Fox Run Park, there were more people in nice polo shirts and upscale casual clothing. In terms of general appearance, most people observed were clean cut. At Cottonwood Park, most of the people observed were skateboarders. When observing the skateboarders, they appeared to fit a stereotype. In other words, the skateboarders fit an oversimplified, selective, and exaggerated generalization. (505) These skateboarders wore much looser, seemingly larger clothing as if they were attempting to look more unruly and unkempt compared to others. Like Fox Run, the people at Cottonwood Creek appeared to be fairly clean cut in terms of appearance. At Acacia Park, the clothing was not as well kept as at the previous two parks, probably since many of the people there appeared to be homeless. Their clothing was very plain and they wore a simple t-shirt, jeans, and possibly a sweater. Most of the people were still somewhat neat in terms of appearance, but much less so than people at the other two parks. There were more scraggly-looking beards and longer, unkempt hair amongst older males. Also observed at each of the parks were families. All the families that were seen appeared to be structured in nuclear family pattern. In
The fit an oversimplified, selective, and exaggerated
would throw the football as hard as he could at the younger boy. In one of these observations, there was a girl, who appeared to be around the same age as the older boy. She wanted to play and the older boy threw the football significantly lighter as if to make sure the girl did not get hurt or possibly to instruct her on how to catch. The girl did not play for very long and the two boys soon resumed their game, throwing the football as hard as they could. At all of the parks there was very little interaction between various families or groups. As the observers, my friend, Zach, and I had absolutely no contact with anyone at Fox Run as everyone kept to themselves. At Cottonwood Creek, there was very little interaction except for the occasional glance in our direction and a bubbly little girl, likely no older than five, who came over to us and said, “Hi.” She was quickly hurried off by her caretaker. This was likely an attempt to make sure the girl remained safe and possibly to make certain that the social norm (little interaction between strangers) was not broken for long. This caretaker took on the role or behavior that was expected of them in a given situation, the protector of the little girl. Acacia Park was the most interesting for us. There was little interaction between the various clusters of people but we were the exception. This is possibly because we were sitting on the grass and we were “new” to the area. There were multiple instances of older men, around their 60s, speaking to us. Each of these instances was somewhat Parley 2012
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the nuclear family, two people get married, generally via companionate marriage – where individuals choose their partner based on emotions and love – and have kids. (325-326) When these kids get older, they will move out on their own and are expected to repeat this process. (326) Even with ethnic diversity and different means of constructing a family, the social norm – in other words, rules that a culture uses to define how people should act – appeared to be consistent amongst families at each of the parks. (501) When families are present, so too will be gender roles. Gender roles are varying traits, attitudes, and behaviors associated with the male and female sexes that describe what one ought to do, think, want, and appear in order to become successful. (498) At Fox Run Park and Cottonwood Creek Park, three obvious instances of gender roles came into play. The first of these instances involved a family of three playing lacrosse at Fox Run. At the start, the mother was playing with her son. This did not last long, however, as the son grew frustrated with his mother. The father, who as a male is considered to be better at sports than the mother, attempted to coach his wife on how to play better. This did not work out, so the father ended up taking over. The second and third observations regarding gender roles are akin to one another. One took place at Fox Run and one at Cottonwood Creek. Both of these observations have to do with younger boys, no older than 11 or 12, tossing a football. In both cases, the older boy
awkward, as I had not expected to be approached. We got one comment of “Hey girls!” which was confusing. Zach has fairly long, well managed hair and this is not the first time he has been mistaken for a girl. When this happened, we simply looked at one another and shrugged as the commentators did not stop to chat. We had a short conversation with a man who claimed he had completed the 8th grade and had not learned to read until he “hit the streets.” He said “Stay in School.” This interaction also did not last for more than a minute. The third time we were approached, a Vietnam veteran who appeared to be drunk stayed and talked with us for at least five minutes. Most of the conversation had to do with trying to make Zach smile. We tried to be cordial and polite in an attempt to satisfy the older man and restore the social norm. I was giggling and smiling during the conversation because it was awkward for me. I knew it was awkward for Zach and I could not think of anything to do to ease the tension except for laughing. The theory I used during these observations was the Structural Functional Theory. The Structural Functional Theory “contends that all social life consists of several distinct, integrated levels that enable the world – and individuals who are within it – to find stability, order, and meaning.” (505) In looking at the different events from this perspective, it is easy to see how they fit together and define social stratification. Some people have to be on top, others in the middle, and still others on the bottom. In order for families to be maintained, there has to be
some sort of role placement of the father, the mother, and the child or children. In order for society to continue functioning without interruption and chaos, people generally interact within their own groups. When the invisible wall that divides these groups is broken, it can make for a relatively awkward encounter. All of these encounters point to similarities in groups such as family and gender roles, and differences such as social class, status and ethnicity.
W ork C ited Kimmel, Michael, and Amy Aronson. Sociology Now: The Essentials. 2ndnd ed. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc., 2012. Print.
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Resource Management: The Power of Clean Water
n a world of computers, skyscrapers, airplanes, and space exploration, it is easy to forget that today 1.1 billion people do not have access to clean water (World Water Council). Thatâ€™s more than 1 in 6 people who lack the most essential resource for life on this planet. Additionally, 3.575 million people die each year of water related diseases (water.org). These statistics are shocking and the need for solutions is significant. The need to access water for human use is an age-old problem, dating back to the beginning of civilization. This is for the obvious reason that water is life; we cannot live longer than three days without it. Yet while 71% percent of the planet is covered by water, only 2.8% is fresh water, and of that 77% is trapped in ice or in glaciers (Florida Geological Survey). Thus the big questions are how to collect the fresh water we already have and how to transport it to where it is needed. The aqueducts of the Ancient Romans were early engineered systems to accomplish these tasks. Present day technology allows water to be transported long distances from
its source in, for example, the Rocky Mountains or Catamount Reservoir, as well as aquifers and other underground deposits, and carried to homes, hospitals, power plants, and businesses (City of Colorado Springs). Even though water resource management is now standardized to an extent, innovative ideas in the field are still open and welcomed. Many worry that water resources are becoming increasingly scarce and that we may not have enough to satisfy basic needs in the future. There are strong desires to find better ways to recycle water. One such system is composed of a two-step process â€“ dehumidification and purification. This system, known as atmospheric water generation, extracts water vapor particles from the air and condenses it in liquid water. Purification then makes it safe to drink. This system could make a significant impact on water crisis concerns in developing countries around the world. A possible drawback to this technology some have considered is that heavy use of AWG would dry-out the air. The realm of possibilities is wide and the potential discoveries extremely valuable.
R andy P oe — “ clothes
W orks C ited
“Distribution of Earth’s Water.” Florida Geological Survey. Web. 20 February 2012. “North Catamount Reservoir.”City of Colorado Springs, 2010. Web. 20 February 2012. Water.org. Water.org, 2012. Web. 20 February 2012. “Water Crisis.” World Water Council, 2010. Web. 20 February 2012.
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J enny G arza — “ beginning
and the end ”