Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Color of Law: A Segregated America that Prevails Part 5

  The Color of Law easily sways the audience to become enraged about the social injustice discussed throughout the book. Like I have been explaining in my past posts, this book is interesting because it provides more events that have occurred to highlight how unjust society was. A big question I have frequently is how did time heal the years of segregation and racism to allow society now to function seemingly correctly? I feel like this book will conclude by presenting examples of events that show America being as dysfunctional now as it has been in the past. Maybe the reason the people in my life, myself included, have not noticed such insane events occurring is because events that do not involve us personally we believe do not affect us. I do have to research the news since I am in Debate but I am still surprised and interested when I read this book because it often brings up more instances on how America was segregated although it was outlawed. The Preface brings back a topic that circulates repeatedly throughout this book, "We have created a caste system in this country, with African Americans kept exploited and geographically separate by racially explicit government policies. Although most of these policies are now off the books, they have never been remedied and their effects endured "(page XVII).

  Richard Rothstein (the author) begins chapter 9: "STATE - SANCTIONED VIOLENCE" by explaining an event that relates to a picture usually shown on the left page of every page. The picture was taken in 1954 and provides a key importance to what the rest of the chapter pertains to. The caption of the picture is "Levittown, Pennsylvania, 1954. A crowd mobilizes before proceeding to harass the first African American family to move into the all-white development" (page 138). Also how "Some rented a unit  next door to the Myers [an African American family] and set up a clubhouse from which the Confederate flag flew and music blared all night. Police arrived but were ineffective... troopers were dispatched when then police failed to end the harassment. It was a needless worry; the state troopers also declines to perform their duty" (page 141).This relates to how people do not like change (ID-Identity) because it introduces a sense of unfamiliarity that tends to disturb people with certain backgrounds. The police, troopers, and especially the white citizens were against the African Americans moving into the white neighborhood. This is similar to how hate crimes raised after 9/11 against Muslims who were stereotyped into being terrorists because of that one very tragic event. The change that occurred after 9/11 was that Americans were not sure how to react to a group of people who shared the same religious identity to those that killed many innocents so they became violent. Like the mob outside an African American family's house, they did not like the change and saw violence as the way to stop it. Looking back on the past we understand that violence does not solve anythings and only leads to more confusion and disunity. I just hope more people can understand this.

^The comedian Aziz Ansari explained the reason George Bush gave his speech after 9/11, "It was about basic human decency and remembering why the country was even formed in the first place."

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Color of Law: A Segregated America that Prevails Part 4

August 3rd, 1920: this shows the aftermath of a
lynching which affected a 16 year old
African America boy.
The Color of Law is unlike any book I have ever read before due to the events that make it up. This is partially due to my "wide range" of reading mostly Rom-Com books with some kind of Dystopian setting and also because I do not usually seek out books that are still relevant to society and the world as a whole in the present. I question I frequently had was "Why would people go through so much trouble to exclude entire races out of their lives" and mostly "How can people be so stupid?". This book is comprised of multiple true stories of how people basically were not allow the same opportunities as white people just because of the color of their skin. It enrages me that the people acting out in heinous ways still managed to justify their actions by blaming the opposite party. I guess I am interested in the way the book continuously brings up more events that are the same but still unjust in every way possible.

Blockbusting Advertisement
While reading this book I learned a new term that applied to a tactic practiced by real estate agents in order to profit off of white people becoming scared of African Americans. The book states that "... blockbusting was a scheme in which speculators bought properties in borderline black-white area; rented or sold them to African American families at above-market prices; persuaded white families residing in these areas that their neighborhoods were turning into African American slums and that values would soon fall precipitously; and then purchased the panicked whites' homes for less than their worth" (page 95). The real estate agents would scare white people out of neighborhoods by paying African American mothers to push their baby carriage across the neighborhood or even getting African Americans to make random phone calls asking to speak to other people with "stereotypically African Americans name[s] like 'Johnnie Mae'"(page 95). This relates to the PEO-Peopling theme because white people were actually scared of African Americans moving into their neighborhoods. I think the reason why this upsets me so much is that my life is full of people of all sorts of races, religions, and personal identities and it is unusual to find such outward racism in public. It also angers me that the real estate agents would scam people just to profit off of their racial prejudice. White flight is also seen in the quote, "First, the government embarked on a scheme to persuade as many white families as possible to move from urban apartments to single-family suburban homes. Then, once suburbanization was under way, the government, with explicit racial intent, made it nearly impossible for African Americans to follow"(page 60). This relates to the theme because many people migrated to different areas due to prejudice.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Color of Law: A Segregated America that Prevails Part 3

Partisan Gerrymandering ( 
When reading this book I tend to see connections that I haven't really noticed before. Like how Gerrymandering affected African Americans and it still affects many people today in America. Gerrymandering is the act of manipulating state or regional boundaries in favor of one's political party. This contributes to how Africans had to move to various locations since white citizens did not welcome them and how they wanted to maintain segregation (PEO-peopling). I like this book and find it interesting for mentioning multiple examples of how a certain group of people (mainly African Americans) were forced to move to different regions just because of stereotypes and every citizen just not taking the time to learn the difference between fact and fiction. This is supported by the quote:"... Atlanta officials continued to use the racial zoning map to guide its planning for decades to come"(page 46).

Supreme Court laws were often ignored by the states or even manipulated in a way to adjust to the people's values and thoughts on segregation. "Municipal lawyers told federal courts that Buchanan did not apply because their city's racial zoning law was solely intended to prevent intermarriage and its interference with residential property rights was incidental"(page 47). It was explained by the author that the Supreme Court banned racial assignments that would or would not allow someone to live in a certain neighborhood because of their race. Although this is true the author then goes on to explain how high people in society/politics would initiate Bartholomew's survey that slid past the rulings of the Supreme Court yet still racial zoning continued all over America causing races to shift to entirely different areas. I have grown to actually find this book quite interesting because it has a central theme that solves multiple questions and makes me think of much more. If my question starts with "Why" the answer is usually "Race was frequently a factor" (page 49). I wonder if the end of this book will leave the readers with a solution on how these historical racial events that affect us today can be fixed or if it will leave us on a cliffhanger and say that only the choices we make will affect the outcome of the future.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Color of Law: A Segregated America that Prevails Part 2

     I have decided to stay loyal to this book and now I feel like I have a deeper understanding of it. This book focuses on the injustices that African American people had to deal with. I am interested in how this issue and issues like this are able to manifest in today's society and in politics. The Color of Law states many examples of how the American government has not effectively been able to fix this racial injustice and a huge question I have is what could the government do to fix this problem? This book successfully addresses major inequalities like property rights and voting rights yet it makes me wonder: is a solution to this pressing problem? I have noticed how the mindsets of American citizens have drastically changed by seeing pictures like the one below in my book:

page 38:
This was an ad that urged people to cast their vote to maintain segregation in white neighborhoods in 1916.

     "Throughout the mid-twentieth century, government housing projects frequently defined the racial character of neighborhoods that endured for many years afterward... Carey McWilliams... wrote that 'the federal government [had] in effect been planting the seeds of Jim Crow practices throughout the region under the guise of  "respecting local attitudes".' .... We can only wonder what our urban area would look like today if, instead of creating segregation where it never, or perhaps barely, existed, federal and local governments had pushed in the opposite direction, using public housing as an example of how integrated living could be successful" (page 37). These quotes capture how America's national identity(ID) has been changed from encouraging segregation and isolating and suppressing the thought to seeking out ways to solve the problem with eliminating segregation. The Color of Law begins the 3rd chapter by saying, "We like to think of American history as a continuous march of progress toward greater freedom, greater equality, and greater justice. But sometimes we move backwards, dramatically so" (page 39).  20th century America has changed its attitudes towards certain issues because of how the citizen have addressed them. In the 21st century, the United States nation has had to address multiple (fill in the blank) lives matter because the citizens in our society don't feel like they are recognized. The reason I typed (fill in the blank) is that there are multiple movements going on like Black Lives Matter, LGBTQIA, Women's Rights, e.t.c. just to name a few. These movements share a common objective of increasing the rights of minority/oppressed peoples so they can be treated like a normal human beings and no less. I hope that those of you reading this blog will help and support those who seek help or demand recognition by the world because, in the end of the day, we must realize that our life on Earth is determined by the actions we take and how we have the ability to unite and become a positive force in the world.

~Also for those of you who want to learn more about how segregation impacted America, read this helpful article:

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Color of Law: A Segregated America that Prevails Part 1

The historical nonfiction novel, The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein(the man in the video), begins the novel by introducing the idea that the government's role in determining issues, like the housing situation, caused segregation to manifest itself in today’s world. I have read about 30 pages and the book so far is quite repetitive because it talks about examples with the same storyline. Initially, I was interested in the concepts relating to the government’s approach to racism in the 1900s. I was also interested in how racism in politics still resonates to the present day. However, the examples that the author stated, although significant in enforcing the purpose of the book, were based on the same ongoing event making them tiresome to read. The examples would go in the order of a company on the coast needing more workers due to war or other factors leading them to finally employ some African Americans, who would move into a certain neighborhood, causing the white citizens to flee.

( )
The author's argument was that the reason for this would be how the government mandated certain policies which made segregation an even worse problem because it shows how government officials like those in court would be unconstitutional for restricting African Americans to have the same land owning and living rights as white people. This book focuses directly on Politics and Power (POL) in which the preface (page VIII) states “Segregation by intentional government action… is what courts call de jure: segregation by law and public policy.” De jure is mentioned multiple times to restate how the government is ignoring African American rights. This is seen by the government only enforcing laws like The New Deal that benefited whites yet excluded African Americans.

An example of De Jure In America.
“Federal policy sometimes imposed racial segregation where it hadn’t previously been established, forcing African Americans into overpopulated slums” (page 18). The Color of Law keys into how African Americans receive the short end of the stick in multiple scenarios and the government would not do anything about it unless it was for its own benefit. Although I stated that the book is repetitive to the point of even being tiresome I think I will keep reading it because I believe I will find the answer to some of my questions: How did the government cover their actions of segregation in order to hide America's racism over the years? And, why won’t the government address the widespread racism in the past it it’s such an important factor in today’s society? Because the preface was very informative and understandable, I didn’t have many questions to ask. I am extremely appreciative towards how understandable the preface is because it presented a general overview of what was covered in the rest of the book. I give the beginning of the book a 3/5 stars and even though I have never been on a book date before... I think I'll stay in touch with this book.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Truth Tips

          I HAVE RETURNED TO THE BLOGGING COMMUNITY! Disregard the fact that in my last post I mentioned that it would be the last you would hear from me because like the famous words of nearly every comeback character on any show, “I’M BAAACK!”
If I am going to be completely honest, I have not been reading as much as I wish. Sure, I read multiple articles for Varsity Debate or 50 pages of my textbook for chapter quizzes. But, what I am saying is - I don’t read for fun anymore. In middle school, all I would do is read because it was my personalized portal to different worlds. I could blame the dreadful piles of AP homework I am given every single day, my commitments to my church youth group as volunteering officer, or National Honor Society and the efforts I put into getting many hours, but, at the end of the day, the fault lies solely on myself for not effectively prioritizing my time. I usually spend 10 minutes every other day in school reading my book, but it is not enough. My summer reading book was A Mother's Reckoning by Sue Klebold and I am on page 118 of the nonfiction book Columbine by Dave Cullen. I have realized over the years that if I take a longer time to read a book, I understand the details of it more than I would if I just blazed through it. I am challenging myself by reading nonfiction books because they are the complete opposite of my usual range of Fantasy, Rom-Com teen adventure series.
In troubling situations, people tend to seek comfort found in the truth. The book Columbine focuses on multiple aspects of a tragic school shooting, in which many people were killed and/or wounded. (The characters in the book who witnessed the shooting firsthand learn of the truth behind the events to be able to move on with their lives.) During the massacre when students were escaping the school, a police officer was asked “‘Are we going to die?’ one of the girls asked him. No. She asked again. No. She kept asking,” (Cullen 56).  This quote showed how the traumatized student kept asking for the truth because she needed to be consoled after witnessing something so scarring. This impacted me because I understood the different ways people responded to death: being hysterical, angry, silent, sorrowful, etc. When my sister passed away in 2009, all I heard were peoples’ condolences. They told me that they were “sorry for the loss”, that “it is okay”, that “everyone dies”, or  that “she is in a better place now”, and so many other sympathetic comments. I understand that they were only trying to help, but it didn’t change the fact that she was gone forever. In Columbine, Frank Deangelis, the Columbine High School principal at the time of the shooting, talked to the students after the shooting and “… began with an apology: ‘I am so sorry for what happened and for what you are feeling.’... ‘I’d like to take a wand and wipe away what you are feeling, but I can't do that. I’d like to tell you those scars will heal, but they will not,’“ (Cullen 105-106). This stood out to me because I have never heard someone be that honest. Usually, when people die, every word said to their loved ones is sugarcoated. When I was reading this quote in the dentist’s office, I actually began to tear up because I realized that I needed some emotional confirmation, which the quote provided. The principal's candor was what everyone needed at that moment to be able to move on from that tragic event.
The concept of knowing the entire truth of the massacre in order to finally move on from it is also seen in Sue Klebold's novel, A Mother's Reckoning. The author's name might sound familiar to those who know the names of the Columbine school shooters, specifically Dylan Klebold, because she was his mother. After what happened on April 20th, 1999, Sue Klebold faced multiple accusations and death threats for simply being the mother of Dylan. His actions caused her life to spiral out of control and completely change her. She explained in her book how she “completely understood why people were blaming us. I'd certainly be furious beyond measure with the parents of that child, had it been the other way around. I'd hate them. Of course I'd blame them. But I also knew that neither of those caricatures of us was true - and that the truth was far more disturbing," (Klebold 44). The last sentence of the previous quote made me question why the truth would be more disturbing, until I came to the conclusion that normal people fear what they don’t understand and can't comprehend in certain situations. The truth was worse because this story goes to show that anyone, no matter how lovingly people are raised, has the potential to inflict tremendous pain on others.
People need the truth to move on from hard times. The students needed to hear Frank Deangelis, the principal, declare the truth; Sue Klebold, Dylan's mother, wanted her readers to understand the truth; I wanted to hear the truth after my sister passed away. The truth that death is a reality that must be accepted in order to live. Once I had accepted that my sister was actually in a place with no more pain and suffering, I instilled the sense of peace and hope within myself that when I pass I too, be reunited with her again.

(MLA&Chicago Style)
Cullen, David. Columbine. Twelve, 2016.
Klebold, Sue. A Mothers Reckoning: living in the aftermath of tragedy. Waterville, ME: Large Print Press, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning, 2017.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

I Believe in the Universe's Secret of the Velvet Sea

  Welcome my last blog, diligent bloggers! I thank you for staying tuned to my blogs and bid you farewell with my last entry. My life has been busy but I have managed to accomplish my goal of reading 10 books!!! I didn't get a chance to talk about some of the books I have read recently, but I will now. You might be wondering why the title of this blog is very unusual, and that is because I combined the title of the books I have read to make this beautiful concoction. I have been reading a new book every 2 weeks and yet I still have not managed to finish reading Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. Don't get me wrong, the book is very interesting! Maybe I would just rather move on to other kinds of books like I Believe In A Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo, Velvet by Temple West (my 5th time reading it because it is AMAZING!), Guide To the Crystal Gems by Rebecca Sugar (an informational book about one of my favorite shows Steven Universe!), and The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (my AP book). A trend in the books I have read is that they tend to be warm/happy books that focus on the positive things in life amidst the obstacles and struggles.

  I am currently reading a fictional book called  The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. The book is told in the perspective of Lily Owens, a 14-year old that goes through a rough beginning. The summary of the book explains Lily's journey moving in with 3 African American beekeeping sisters while learning how to be a strong woman. Reading the first pages surprised me. I was surprised that a 14-year old could have such deep thoughts about symbolism in her surroundings and how people could be so naive about death. One time, when she noticed bees outside her window, she believed they represented how her life would change after her mother's death. The bees foreshadowed that she would be moving in with the beekeepers. Regarding the end of human life, Lily ponders, "Every one of those bees could have descended on me like a flock of angels and stung me till I died, and it wouldn't have been the worst thing to happen. People who think dying is the worst thing don't know a thing about life" (2). This shows how her mother's death caused her to have a realistic point of view that many people did not share at her age.

  After thinking about her words I realized that I was only surprised about her feelings because they are the same as mine. Once my sister died, I harbored many of the same feelings and especially thoughts. I wrote poems and stories about how I felt that, similar the story mirrored now in the words I see before me in this book. I have come to understand that as people have more experiences, they will interpret the meaning of those experiences the best they can. They will interpret dreams, literature, and the physical world around them just to make sense of the world. But the universe we coexist in offers as many symbolic interpretations as it does with its secrets. The Secret Life of Bees has showed me that it is possible for characters to share a mutual insight on certain topics that apply to all humans, like death of a loved one or suffering.