Educating Yourself on Racism

How to Tell If You’re a Racist?

How often do we ask ourselves the difficult questions – the questions that, if answered truthfully, might reveal some ego-damaging and unwanted facts about ourselves? Seeing as how most Americans are busy either rotting and decaying in public schools or working 40-to-60 hour workweeks, I’m going to venture a guess: not that often.

Many of us fill the void left by these hectic schedules by offering easy answers to difficult questions. But, if we were exposed to a different and more reflecting life, would we find out some unpleasant things about ourselves: that some of us actually have bigot tendencies we don’t know about? That even the white and black, male and female, gay and straights among us, when taking truth syrum or under oath, would have to admit “yes, I don’t like X people!”

Well, I’m going to try and help you out by exploring a topic I’ve wanted to explore for a while.

I grew up in Hartford, Wisconsin. There aren’t a whole lot of minorities living there – the closest we come to street gangs are small bands of white thug wannabes, the kind who wore starter jackets and backwards hats in the early/mid-90’s. Is that kind of atmosphere a recipe for entire classroom heaps of born-and-bred racists?

Here are some ideas I put together in determining, along with me, whether or not you are a racist:

Racial profiling isn’t racism. As John Madden would say, boom. How about that? Now, I don’t mean racial profiling in the sense of “this person is black, let’s arrest him!” I don’t mean any racial profiling that leads to police beatings, wrongful arrests, or anything like that. I mean the kind of racial profiling that says sometimes, you can judge a book by its cover, because that’s all you have to go on. I’m aware this makes me sound like a bigot, so bear with me.

If you’re a white-bread corn-eating farmboy from Iowa and you put on traditional Middle Eastern clothes, you’ll rightfully get glared at in an airport. And you should be glared at, you nut. That’s profiling at its best.

The line of “don’t be a bigot!” ends at personal safety. I have one life to live, and if my life experience tells me that every time I see surveillance video of a 7/11 being robbed, there’s an African-American male doing the robbing, I’m going to make assumptions. I’m going to be on edge when I’m at a 7/11 at midnight with two black guys and an Indian cashier. But political correctness has boundaries and rules that should be broken. I’m not sorry about that.

And that’s not to say that it’s skin color alone that we profile by. I’d be just as on edge if I saw two white guys wearing wife beaters, jewelry, and speaking ghetto English, hanging around the ATM while I bought my gatorade. The corners of my eyes don’t worry about being PC.

Know why this is okay? Because everyone already profiles without knowing it. Because I said two GUYS. That’s sexual profiling. And it’s appropriate, too! I’m not going to tell women they shouldn’t be nervous around strange men at two in the morning, just because it offends me as a man!

That’s way less controversial than saying two BLACK guys, even though men are a group, too. Know why? Because everyone on Earth knows men are more likely to commit crimes than women. That’s not profiling: that’s the truth. So if it’s okay to be sexist for purposes of self-preservation, it’s okay to be racist, too.

If I walk by a guy wearing a backwards hat at midnight and calculate there’s a 10% chance I’ll get robbed, the last thing I’m thinking is, “What will Al Sharpton think of this?”

You shouldn’t blame on race that which you can blame on the brain. There’s an underlying idea in the above point: most of the “profiling” that goes on in America isn’t racial, it’s cultural (or sexual). I’m just as bothered by white idiots who can’t speak English as Mexican, black, and Asian idiots. And problems that minorities face have more to do with being low-income than being a particular skin color, no matter how much they think they’re being brought down.

This means that people who ascribe some flaw to race, which can actually be attributed to a poor upbringing/environment/status/education, then you’re entering the realm of racism. It’s not when you see two thugs in the 7/11 and get on edge that makes you racist: if you see a black guy in a suit buying orange juice and milk instead of booze and you’re STILL on edge, then you have a problem.

This 7/11 analogy isn’t the only one we can use. What if you were in charge of a company, and had two equally qualified candidates to fill a position? Suppose for argument’s sake they were totally equal except they looked different: one black and one white. Would you hire the guy closest to your own race, just for its own sake? Or would you rather just flip a coin?

Appearances matter: enough that skin color doesn’t. I’d rather have Carlton Banks babysit my kids than Vanilla Ice.

Do you crack under questioning? Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic tirade when he was drunk and arrested came out like an unleashed dragon because he had drank too much truth syrum. What happens to you when you drink too much? Or, for that matter, do you crack under pressure?

Say you’re driving on the highway, frustrated after a tough day at work, and an Asian woman cuts you off – your road rage will come out in full force. But, without anyone to hear how offensive you can be, and with the cut-off fresh in mind, do you say something racist against Asians?

This is important because it gets below the social masks and good manners you show to the world: deep down in your animal brain, does that bigot still lurk somewhere? When there are no consequences to what you say, would you surprise people? The thing is that many people who suffer from mental illness have no clue about it & then there are others who think they suffer from mental illness, yet they don’t. If you pass a bipolar test you may find out that you are bipolar, yesterday you had no clue you were bipolar. You can have a mental breakdown without even realizing it until someone breaks it to you. Some things happen unconsciously or beyond our conscious control.

I personally think that most of us would; maybe that says more about my own perceptions than it does about humans, but since we all agree on the fundamental assumption that no human is perfect, I’d be right. What if we’re all only politically correct because of the social consequences? Ask yourself what you’ve said during road rage.

We shouldn’t react so strongly against political incorrectness that we become racists the other way. Affirmative action should listen. Even if our laws still said “Eye for an eye,” no white person alive today should have to pay for slavery. But we do, intangibly: affirmative action, political correctness, white man’s guilt, dumb college course requirements that say we have to learn Africology. White people are born with a perceived “original sin” that makes us all perpetrators of slavery. I owe nothing to minorities, and they owe nothing to me.

No one seems to get this. As taxpayers, we don’t owe old people social security. It’s not an in-born right. We don’t owe anyone an education. We don’t owe anyone health care. At least, not through the government. Yet racism is perfectly acceptable as legislation in the form of affirmative action. Why? Because you were born white, and they were born black. That’s more racist than nervous white folks at the 7/11 who don’t care what color you are if you have a gun.

Don’t believe it’s prevalent enough to be a problem? The NFL makes every team interview at least one minority when they need to hire a new coach. They talk about how few black owners there are, and don’t ever once stop to talk about how few white players there are. Because people “owe” less to white people – just because they are white. Yeah, I know it seems like a minor boo-hoo compared to slavery, but racism should bt acknowledged as a two-way street.

After all, it only gets called racism when it’s against minorities. No one thinks any white kid who sues for racism has any credibility.

We should stop distinguishing by race, period. As I’ve established, a cultural clash has more to do with racism than humans actually having bad biases against people with different skin colors. And the white guy who gets angry because his order at the drive-through is slow doesn’t care what age or race the server is: they’re frustrated enough to cuss out an entire group of SOME kind to themselves.

We need to stop acting like kids and stop pretending that it’s all color. It’s more complex. That just brings the argument down to levels it shouldn’t be at.

As Einstein said, no problem was ever solved with the same kind of thinking that created it. Even acknolwedging that there are different races just perpetuates things one more generation: what if we didn’t call people “black or white,” and never said a thing to our kids? They’d grow up assuming everything was okay, no matter how you looked. Everything else just perpetuates it, including this blog post.

We’re all racists. Until we stop talking about it, and until we stop saying things like “African-American” or “minorities.”

Common Educational Misconceptions on Climate Change

How can we say that global warming is really happening when Antarctica is getting colder?

The term “global warming” is confusing because not all places on our planet are getting warmer. The truth is that our average global temperature is on the rise (see graph). To reduce confusion, scientists use of a more accurate term—global climate change— to reflect the idea that climate is the earth’s energy management process that is balanced by all earth’s systems.

Not only is there a change in our average global temperature, but also changes in precipitation and more intense storms as well as changes in our oceans, ice and biological systems on the planet. We encourage teachers to use the term “climate change” and help students correctly understand the term so they grasp the bigger picture.

 

Climate Change and the Ozone Layer

Students often associate the hole in the ozone layer with climate change. Either they think that carbon dioxide depletes the ozone layer, or that the hole in the ozone layer “lets in more heat.” Let’s clear these issues up one at a time. The major gases that deplete the ozone layer are CFC’s and halons, not CO2. While the ozone hole high up in the stratosphere is still a concern, we’ve seen significant improvement since 1987, when nearly 200 countries agreed to reduce the use of these chemicals.

The ozone layer (up high) protects us from harmful UV rays. The greenhouse effect refers to the earth absorbing visible light and then giving off infrared radiation (heat). That heat is absorbed by greenhouse gases and re-radiated back to earth. Although ozone depletion can contribute to climate change, it is not the primary cause. Ground level ozone is a greenhouse gas and an air pollutant however. The primary ingredient in smog, ground-level ozone is largely produced by emissions from automobiles. Pollution is one of the important risk factors of heart disease, high LDL cholesterol & various cancers.

 

Climate vs. Weather

Weather is often confused with the climate. We’ve heard many people – even the meteorologists on TV – jokingly write off climate change when two feet of snow fell this year before winter had officially started.

Let’s go back to the basics:

Weather is what’s happening outside at a particular place, in a particular time. Perhaps it’s sunny, 22F, and windy. This may be common weather for early January, but that’s all it is, weather.

Climate refers to the typical weather patterns for a specific region which is a result of interactions between all earth systems. It’s a measure of average weather over a period of several years. Average rainfall and average temperature range are two common measures of climate.

Recent large snowfall amounts are symptomatic of climate change due to a change in the water cycle. Higher global temperatures result in more water evaporating into the atmosphere, and that water has to come down somewhere. Lucky for us, this year it came down in the form of snow.

Find out more on:

www.epa.gov/climatechange/

Community College Instead of High School

When I was 15 years old, I took the ” homeschool” option at my high school and instead of learning typical high school classes, I started taking classes at a community college instead.  Because I was so young, I mainly took online classes until I turned 17 and felt comfortable taking classes with other community college students.

This option was relatively new in my day, however online learning has become a serious option for virtually all levels of study now.  It’s mainly to do with the growth of MOOC (massive open online courses) which now cover virtually every subject and at every conceivable level right up to Harvard degrees!  Some still have restrictions but it looks like education will be a truly global opportunity as these course develop.  The restrictions can be bypass though – for example use an England proxy to access UK only online courses.

It was amazing how much I learned in my two years at community college.  In fact, it was in community college that I first heard about a power of attorney form.  That little form, as simplistic as it is, started my fascination with the legal world and started me down the path of a paralegal education.  Once I finished up my two years at community college, I headed to a four-year college in my community to receive the remainder of my education.  Of course with the increased online options now, I actually might go that route because even if you invest in  the most secure VPN service you can find it’s a huge saving being able to study from home.

It was amazing how much money I saved by starting at a community college first.  As touched upon in a previous blog post, starting at a community college and then transferring really is the way to go.  You save money, you still get a great education, and you still can get a degree from a prestigious four-year school.  I never felt like I missed out on the college experience by starting at a community college – in fact, I felt smarter than my peers for going the less expensive route!

My Time at a Community College Was Brief, But Nice

I graduated high school with a 3.96 GPA. Pretty much through my entire school career, I was on the “college prepatory” track which meant I was destined for a 4-year university. So that’s where I went.

I put my time in at my state’s university and graduated with a BA in Communication. What do you do with a degree like that? Well, I’m still trying to figure that out but when I first graduated, it was quite a struggle. I had more of a liberal arts degree and not a tangible skill set. Finding a job wasn’t too hard but the first job I had out of college was all wrong for me; I hated it. I became frustrated while trying to find another job and decided that I was going to go in a different direction. I was going to attend a community college to become a radiologic technician.

Since the only science I had taken in my undergraduate curriculum was oceanography because someone told me it was easy, I had to get a bunch of core requirements out of the way before I could start the 2-year radiologic degree program. Hello, Anatomy & Physiology I and II (with labs)! I went to every class, took detailed notes, studied hard and got an A in both of those classes. I met a lot of nice people at the community college and the instructor I had for A & P was awesome. It was a great experience.

But somewhere in between memorizing all of the bones in the body and trying to come to terms with the fact that I would have to live with my parents while I was back in school, I decided that healthcare was not the field for me. Boy, was that a wise decision! I realized that I had a real passion for marketing and I am now happily part of the marketing department at a large merchant account company.

I definitely changed my mind quite a few times about what career path I wanted to be on, but I blame that on the confusing time of my life that I like to call my 20s.

Educational Resources for Students Online

There are so many more education resources available to students today than a few years ago. Most of these are based on the internet and in many ways the playing fields have been levelled for students everywhere. It used to be the case that the better the University or College, the better the educational resources available. If you’ve ever visited the Bodleian Library in Oxford, or perhaps the impressive Widener library in Harvard it would be very apparent of the advantages.

But really the internet has changed all these advantages, of course there are still huge positives in prestige, teaching and opportunities afforded to pupils at the best universities. But access to knowledge and research materials is pretty much available to anyone in academia.

It gives students a great chance to conduct research on their own, most academic institutions post most of their material online. If you need to get access and it’s not available publically don’t be afraid to contact a college via email and just ask for access. The dispersation of knowledge is a core aim of any University or college they’ll normally help you out.

Don’t just use other colleges though, if you search online you’ll find most organisations put a huge amount of resources online. Most are easily accessible and again if they’re not just ask. I remember my friend who was studying a very basic introduction to astronomy in technical college showing me how he could submit requests online to a real observatory in England!  The jobs would be queued for the telescope and the results emailed when processed.

Foreign language students for example could invest in VPN connections which allow them to watch the TV online in the language they are studying. You can use them to watch BBC Iplayer Abroad or a French student could watch their favorite American comedies on M6 Replay in French to practice.  To find out how it’s done – check this out.

So ensure you explore the options that the internet can give you in your chosen subject. You research doesn’t have to be limited to Google and Wikipedia – find where the experts in your field are publishing material. Of course you should still validate sources, many students make the mistake of copying false information from the internet. Check and research, use the internet fully but don’t neglect other sources.

James Carwin

http://www.theninjaproxy.org/ninja/change-ip-address-region-free-smart-dns/

Wine on a College Campus

Wine doesn’t naturally seem like a perfect fit on a college campus, especially a community college where the average student might not even be 21 yet, but the wine industry is certainly thriving.

While most Universities have some kind of  wine club associated with their business school, quite a few community college’s within California are taking their wine curriculum a step further. Perhaps embolden by the success at UC Davis, community college’s are adding wine tasting courses by the hundreds while others are taking the extraordinary step of instituting winemaking classes themselves. These winemaking courses can vary from the incredibly complex to the most basic depending on the community college, all of them do give their students a general idea about what it might be like for them to spend a few years learning to make wine in Napa Valley.  Of course, it isn’t nearly as fun and glamorous as many tend to think as wine is at its core, a farming activity!

If you’re looking to learn more about making wine, or how to taste wine like a pro we hope you’ll have a look around your local community college to see if they have a program to fit your needs, I’ll bet that they do!

American Community Colleges — What Can You Study?

American Community Colleges have been at the forefront of education in the communities where they are needed the most for almost 100 years now. They are basically open to anyone who is interested in applying, regardless of financial background, social status or previous academic experience. There are over 1600 public and independent institutions and campuses where you can study in the country at the moment.

Who can study at an American Community College?

Basically anyone can study at a community college in the United States. Almost half the total undergraduate students in the United States are studying at some sort of a community college. These schools are extremely attractive to people who know exactly what they want to study in a special interest program. On the other hand, community colleges are also an entry point to postsecondary education for many low income, minority and first-generation postsecondary students.

Another major percentage of the community college population are adults who are returning to study. In fact, the average age of all students in these colleges is 29! Additionally, almost all of the students attend part time.

There is also a significant contingent of high school students completing extra courses at community colleges to diversify their baccalaureate studies and complement it for special entry to certain university programs they are interested in.

Financial aid at community colleges

As costs for education have risen significantly in recent years, many students are checking out the Federal Financial Aid Program to partially or completely pay the cost of their studies. Education should be available to anyone who wants it, without financial barriers, so many institutions have been set up to facilitate this purpose. Apart from grants and scholarships, some students also choose to take out loans which they will pay back when they are working.

What can you study at a community college?

You can study many subjects in community colleges, in a variety of fields. Business, Media, Industry, Education, Arts, Entertainment, Health, Politics, Science, Military and Sports are just a few of the major topics that can be covered. Some very prominent people, such as Astronaut Eileen Collins and Baseball Player Nolan Ryan also completed their studies at community colleges in the country.

In short then, you can study anything you want at community colleges. If all your life it was your dream to become a guy who puts up greenhouses for sale, then your wish can come true at a community college.

Gardening is not something that anyone can just do, although if you have plenty of spare time and don’t need to worry about money you can learn it yourself. On the other hand, if you go to a community college to study horticulture, then you can already start working once you have finished your studies in a variety of areas. You can work in garden greenhouses, botanical gardens, parks or you can even open your own business to do with gardening or breeding rare flowers.

Description: If you want to be a gardener and work in garden greenhouses, but you have no background in gardening, then you should consider an American Community College. Read on to find out the basics.