Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Racism in America

This semester I am taking a film class and it has really opened my eyes about the issue of racism in American society.  I grew up in a very sheltered, religious household and wasn't really exposed to a lot of things about real American culture until I moved out of my parents house.  In my film class, a concept that really got my attention was whitewashing.  We mostly talked about whitewashing in film, which is when a white person plays a character of a different race.  Growing up, it almost seemed like being white was "natural" and "common" so much that when you encounter someone of a different race it is abnormal.  I see that so much in America today, especially in film.  It bothers me so much now that it was so normal to me to see a white person replacing a latino, black, or asian character.  Even worse, when a white person puts on a costume and makeup so that they look like a person of another race.  How is that okay?? How have we gone decades of doing that without any real repercussions? Now that I am more aware of that, I conduct research into movies and films that include whitewashing and see how people react to it, and it is astonishing.  I think what is most astonishing is how little media coverage someone complaining about whitewashing gets.  Aside from film, I see or hear of whitewashing happening in the world today.  Over the past few years, I have met people of many different races and cultures, and a lot of them still express and are honorably proud of their heritage, which I deeply respect.  What bothers me is that the concept of "whiteness" is so prevalent in America that people sort of expect non-white people to just accept and adopt the idea of whitewashing.  Whatever happened to America being a melting pot or a fusion of cultures?  I absolutely love the idea of an integration of cultures, and I believe certain ideologies of America fit that, but too often I see people who are vehemently opposed to that solely because of the dominance of white cultures through the years.  In some ways, I pity them, because they will never know the true beauty of other cultures throughout the world.  At the same time, however, it irks me that they are so closed-minded that they refuse to know not only the aspects of other races, but the trials and hardships that they have endeavored. Although I believe that I will never truly understand what it means to be a racial minority in the United States,  I respect and thrive for diversity in all aspects of my life.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

My views about the world

In the past year or so I have been vehemently reading and studying practically any information source that I've gotten my hands on.  It all started with a college course that taught me to "think critically" about things that are going on in the world.  So, whenever I read the news or someone posts a story on facebook, I do a bit of back research.  Mostly so I can get as much true information out of it as possible, but also so I don't look like a fool when I come forward with information that isn't true.  I've been worried though, that I can look like a bit of a pessimist.

I assure you, I see myself as an optimist and naturally try to find the good in things.  I strongly believe that's really the only way you can be smart and happy.  True, a lot of the things that I read and discover are really sad and grinds my gears, but I would much rather be full of knowledge than full of joy.  True, I believe that you can accomplish both, but the phrase is still true, "Ignorance is Bliss."  I look back on my life about 5 years ago and I realize how happy I was.  I loved little kids shows, happy music, and laughing with my friends.  My life was great back then.  But after a while, I realized that I was incredibly naive.  I really didn't know that much about anything.  And it was heartbreaking.  Loads of things my friends would talk about, I had no clue what it was.  It was debilitating.  I remember then, shortly after I moved out, I opened my mind.  I vowed to never refuse any sort of learning experience, well, for the most part.  I started to watch R rated movies and TV shows that my parents would never let me watch before.  I really started to pay attention to the news and what was going on in the world.  Then something strange happened, I started getting opinions of things.  I started to figure out what it was that I truly believed, which, coincidentally, was the opposite of what I grew up with.  I am confident that I am practically nothing like I was 5 years ago.  I think that if some of my friends saw me now who knew me very well 5 years ago, they would be shocked.  And you know what? I like it this way.  I am a lot more comfortable with myself and have a lot more confidence when I know things and have opinions on them.  True, I'm not quite as happy as I was a while ago, but happiness isn't everything.  I almost see it as another challenge.  The things that made me happy back then, dumb kids shows and whatnot, have no effect on me now, so I am forced to find things that I do enjoy, and I am loving it.

Anyways, let's start with the basics.  I consider myself a very liberal democrat.  I believe in abortion, gay marriage, and and stem cell research.  I disagree with the death sentence, everyone having gun rights, and religion and state being combined.  One of the questions that people have about my beliefs are that I disagree with the death toll, but I agree with abortion.  They say, "Isn't that like, the same thing?"  Well, no.  I think that it is more important to help the citizens of our country who are alive today than to help the future generation who are not alive yet.  True, they have a heartbeat, and fingernails, but like I said before, I think we need to help the living people before the not-yet-living.  A young woman's life can be RUINED if she has a baby.  Sure, people will support her with keeping it and everything, but afterwards? I don't think so.  They would ridicule her for being a "slutty" young woman and she should have thought about this before it happened.  But what about instances like rape?  Is that her fault?  And if she agrees to put it up for adoption, could you imagine the kind of heartbreak that would bring?  It would be devastating to have to give up your first child.  So yeah, I think the option should be the woman's.  I mean, it's her life that is ultimately being affected?  So she is terminating a fetus.  That is all it is.  A fetus that could turn into a human baby.  She is saving her life from practically a lifetime of hurt.

Secondly, I am an atheist.  I don't believe in god.  I know that many people have a hard time understanding this, but it really is as simple as it seems.  I believe that humans were a result of incredibly evolution.  I believe that our mind, is just a conscious, that too, came from evolution.  I don't think that we came from a man in the sky.  I don't have anything at all against people who believe that.  In fact, I think many religious people are some of the kindest and compassionate people I have met.

My philosophy in life is transcendentalism, the belief that man must "find" oneself in nature, and society is naturally corrupt.  I know, that sounds like I am a hippie.  Although I don't believe society is as corrupt as it sounds, I believe that one must exit society for a while (a day, a week, not too long) to regain his focus.  No, I don't believe that society is awful.  I actually think it's a good thing, because the way this country is going seems to be for the better.  But I just think true joy can't be achieved without having some "me" time away from everything, and into the most purest form of life.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A rant about feminism.

Ever since moving out of my parents house, I have been exposed to many things of the world, and ever since learning about so many things, I try to keep as much of an open mind as possible.  However, as much as I try not to have too much of an extreme opinion about things, it's impossible not to have an initial strong opinion about some things.  For example, women, and how they are objectified in the media.
After really establishing myself as a human being and what I stood for, I started to really pay attention and analyse the world around me.  One thing in particular that really stood out for was the way women were portrayed in the media.  I consider myself a strong, and independent woman (who don't need no man) but more importantly can make decisions and figure out what she thinks is right and wrong, and I see most other women that way.  But the way they are in media is different than that, and they have been for centuries.  Even since early mythology, women have only played a few roles; the mother, the sex object, the witch -or villain, or in some cases, the heroine.  Now, in the media today, we very seldom see women as the "heroine" of the story or a woman in the media who has achieved greatness.  Most of the women on the media are cat-fighting or dirty dancing (wow I sound like my mom). Even if the woman is portrayed as a heroine, she usually physically appealing and dressed that way.
Something that sparked this initial judgement was Robin Thicke's music video, "Blurred Lines".  Robin Thicke is some pop star, I haven't paid much attention to such.  I was a bit caught-off-guard and very upset when I watched it.  It just has 3 guys, one I'm guessing is Robin Thicke (or is it Robert Thicke) dancing around and then three topless girls wearing skin-colored thongs.  I immediately thought that those girls with their big pouty lips and stupid expressions made them look really unintelligent and girls that I refer to as "stupid" and "make bad decisions" even "sluts".  I angried pulled up my blog and started to write a post about how stupid women can be and if it's just brainwash or if they're just trying to get guys and how bad that's making me look, etc etc.  But then I caught myself and started to do some critical thinking.  It reminded me of an episode of "30 Rock" I watched about a week ago.
For those of you who don't know, 30 Rock is a TV show starring Tina Fey about working as a writer for a TV show.  Anyways, the episode I saw was when they had a guest writer on the show and much to Liz's (Tina's character) dismay, she is a slutty, blonde woman in her early twenties it seems like and flirts with all the men.  Immediately Liz thinks that this woman needs helps and she needs to show her who she can be.  When Liz confronts her about her personality, the woman (I can't remember the characters name) responds by saying that this really is who she is and she doesn't want to change.  Eventually, at the end of the episode, it turns out that this woman just created a new identity to get away from her scary ex-husband. 
After watching this episode, I realized that you shouldn't try to change any woman because of her personality, her looks, and/or what she does with those.   Every woman should be able to be who they really are, and if they want to dance topless on some tacky pop music video, then good for them.  No really, that's not sarcastic.  I mean, who are we to judge?  I bet a girl like her is looking at my life choices and wondering why I am doing this to myself and why I don't dress all slutty.  Every woman has the right to choose, and by saying that I mean we shouldn't be judging other women by what they are doing with their lives.  I mean, it doesn't really affect us at all, so why should it bother us?  Although it's not something that I don't ever see myself doing or how I don't think women should be portrayed like that at all, it doesn't give me the right to think less of those who do that.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Uncertainty

I feel like I have myself figured out pretty well.  I know what I believe, I know what I want to do, and I know what I'm feeling.  What I'm not sure about though, is what I should do right now.  I know I want to become a nutritionist of sorts, but I don't know where I should go for that, or even when I should get it.  I've debated a lot of different schools but because of the economy right now, tuition is crazy high and I still have another few months until I can qualify for grants.  I know that I really want to travel and spend a lot of time in nature, but living on the road or going for long outings cost a lot of money, unfortunately.  I have a hard time committing to a job, and I job hop a lot.  But the job that I want, working independently where I set my own hours, wages, whatnot, is practically impossible in the state I am in now.  I don't even know if it is possible for me without going tremendously in-debt for school.  I don't want to work for anyone, and I want to be independent with work, and because I can't find anything like that right now, it's hard for me to commit to a job.  I talk to people who are only a few years older than me who have been at their job for 12 years or more.  It just baffles me.  Jobs are stupid.  I just really have hated the last like, 4 jobs that I've had, mostly because I have to report to someone by the end of the day or someone is always listening and watching me.  I don't want to live like that.  I would so much rather have a job where I am barely making enough money yet enjoying the time I spend at work than a job where I have plentiful amounts of cash but I hate every waking moment of it. I'm a firm believer of practicing things that make you happy, unless other circumstances arise and you have to lower your expectations for a bit.  It's just that life costs so much right now.  Prices are getting higher yet companies are coming up with ways to pay their employees less or cheat consumers out of what they are paying for.  It's ridiculous.  When did a thin piece of cotton and linen with print on it become of more worth than the good of a human being?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Society

Over the past month or so I've done a lot of pondering about society and whatnot.  How this "life" that we have created is so boring and there's not really anything you can do about.  From an early age, you are learned to practice a routine with your time, money, and life.  You are given a set of rules and punishments if you break them.  You make mistakes and are then slapped back into line by this life we have created.

I think this is nonsense.  Growing up, I did the routine, went to school, went to church, hung out with people sometimes, but I never did anything crazy.  Or, if I did do things out of routine, they were always planned thoroughly so it was nearly impossible to be a completely independent human being.  Even when you were supporting yourself and your family there was still only limited things you could do with yourself and your life because everything was always so set in stone.  I don't want to be like this.

I've had my share of the routine environment.  Going to class, getting a job, having relationships, etc.  The only joy or excitement one would have in that kind of life was occasionally going to see a movie or a concert or getting lost.  And a lot of the time, that wasn't even fun or exciting.

I believe we need to make good use of our time, and I don't meaning trying to make as much money or work as much as we can with that time.  I think that's bullshit.  Instead, we need to spend our time doing things we would never dream of doing, or just things that our parents would say were "ridiculous".  What I mean by that is intentionally getting lost or going on a road trip last minute or something.  Get out of this boring routine that society has created for us.  Do something different.  I feel that so many people don't expose themselves to this enough to really enjoy the excitement of that moment.

The ideal life for me is to live in a hippie like lifestyle.  Not completely, though, but I thing that had a lot of good life perspectives.  The main perspective is live life how you want to live it.  Don't just go along with what society has created for us, make up something new for yourself.  Instead of immediately out of school getting married and having kids, go on a trip.  Then at least you can see how other people live before you settle down completely.  Or, if none of that appeals to you, create something for yourself.  Like Christopher McCandless did, leave all you posessions behind and go travel on foot to Alaska.

I just hate seeing people in positions that they don't want to be.  Especially if they think that they just need to bear through it and then something will go their way.  One of my least favorite phrases, it's actually from the gospel of the Mormon church, is the last principal, Endure to the End.  Endure what?  Endure the fact that you got married right out of highschool and now have three kids and are not content with your life?  Endure this incredibly boring job that you got right out of college that is incredibly dull but makes enough money to clothe your high maintenance wife?  That doesn't sound like living, and even if there was a god I don't think he would make us live a terrible life just to get presents afterwards.  It just doesn't sound plausible to me.

My dream or my life is to do what I want to do.  My ideas or desires might change, but I always want to be true to at least myself.  Right now I want to get an RV and go on a year long road trip across all of North America and just meet people and live off of what I can.  The simpler the better.  After that I will go to school to get my degree in dietetics and then just live in a simple house, helping people for my career and not let anything hold me back.  Of course, it is impossible to not have things hold you back, such as low wages and the unexpected injury or whatnot.  But to create barriers for yourself, getting married before you were ready, having a kid before you really figured out who you want to be, or debt, is nonsense to me.

Make your life simpler, and it will be more enjoyable.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Optimistic atheist

I just wanted to make a post about what people think of atheists.  Now, I know everyone's opinion about atheism is different, but lately I've just been noticing that many people think atheists are just very sad, pessimistic people who doubt everything.  Atheists believe that there is no god and no life before or after this, and to many people, just this belief makes us seem like really bitter, mean people.  I like to think that I'm the opposite.
To me personally, the belief that there is no god makes me feel powerful.  When I don't believe in a god, it means I don't believe anyone except myself and who I let into my life are the only ones influencing my choices and my life as a whole.  It means that I am the center of my own universe, there isn't a man in the sky who has all of my decisions that I will make and basically my life laid out in front of him.  I get to create my own life, to an extent.  Obviously there are things that I can't control like the weather and the unknown, but I get to create my life.  This makes me feel infinite.
Then, there's the belief that this is the only known life that we have.  I think that it's important in everyone's life, no matter the religion, to just have a belief, even a tiny one, that this may be the only life that we have.  I think if everyone lives with that doubt, they will live their lives more fully.  Because of my belief that this is the only life that we have, I choose to live it as fully and as meaningful as I can.  I don't believe that someone has a plan for me and that I have a purpose on this earth.  I don't, I really don't.  I don't think that there's a reason I am here or anything like that.  I think that is why people think we are such bitter people.  But to me, it's entirely different.  Yeah, there's no reason why I'm here, I'm just a product of physical love, like the rest of us.  Except instead of feeling meaningless and of no use, I feel powerful.  I am the creator of my own fate, I can do whatever the hell I want with my life.  It's not meaningless to me, it's a chance to be creative and powerful.  The impact I have on the world is whatever I choose.  
Being an atheist, I feel infinite, in control, and happy.  Even though I have restrictions that may prevent me from doing what I want exactly when I want, I take them as a challenge.  I don't regret my decision of leaving the church.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Rise

I just recently watched this movie called Into the Wild, a film by Sean Penn


This movie was amazing.  When I watched it, I'm pretty sure it changed my life.  Basically it's about a young boy who, after he graduates college, he leave his family and all his belongings and just travels.  His goal is to get to Alaska and live in the wilderness.  As well as it being an incredible and true documentary, the soundtrack was amazing.  All of it was done by Eddie Vedder, the lead singer of Pearl Jam.  Now, I had heard of Pearl Jam here and there but I hadn't quite listened to them a lot.  After this movie, I got way into Pearl Jam.  Eddie Vedder has an amazing voice, and a lot of their songs are just simply beautiful.  I think it is safe to say that Pearl Jam is now my new favorite band.

 Eddie Vedder

Pearl Jam

Anyways, it is such an incredible movie and they are such an incredible band and you should check them out.  After watching this movie, I had an overwhelming desire to want to do exactly what Chris McCandless did.  (Spoiler) Well, except for the part where he dies.  It makes me just want to quit my job, use the money I have right now and buy camping supplies, and then just take off into the wilderness with Ramona.

Of course, that is not going to happen because I know I'm not going to survive for that long.  But I've been wanting to start going on hikes, camping trips, and things like that a lot lately.  I think that is what I'm going to  do.  Just start going on little hikes and road trips to lakes and stuff and just have a good time.  Spend my days off going on runs or just traveling, even if it means starting small.  Here are some places I have been wanting to go.
 Arches National Park

 Salt Flats
The Spiral Jetty in the Great Salt Lake
 The Grand Canyon
Lake Powell

So those are just a few places I want to go in the next few months.  I just want to travel and go everywhere.  I want to buy an RV and just live like that for like a few years.