Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Ali Hannah
Dr. Bergman
The Geneva Conventions forbid not only torture, but also “cruel treatment” and “humiliating and degrading treatment” for prisoners of war. Alberto J. Mora reinforces that in holding detainees there should not be differences between the way we treat those who are U.S. citizens and those who are not U.S. citizens because of our nation’s values of "freedom, liberty, and justice for all" and to uphold the dignity of the individual. I agree and disagree with the argument made by Alberto J. Mora because these debates do come down to ethical principles and every human should have equal opportunity and to be treated the same until there is a hard reason for them not to be treated with the same orderly respect. However, this is not how our nation functions today-- we see hatred and color blindness against the #blacklivesmatter movement, we see inequality through the Women's march. If there is justice for all, why are these movements and marches taking place? I asked a friend what they knew about Guantanamo and other relative detainee prisons, she replied to me that she wasn’t aware of what goes on within these facilities and she could not recall where they were. This ignorance proves that we as a nation are more worried and invested in domestic issues rather than those fatal problems going on outside of the country. The detainee treatment act of 2005 prohibits the “cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment” of detainees anywhere in the world- however, according to the New York Times the manual has been rewritten and now the interrogation techniques are classified and not available for the public. This unavailability opens a manifest of questions. How do we draw the line between cruel or punishing treatment and torture when it comes to interrogation? The Geneva Conventions were not specific enough, they claim  to prohibit cruel and inhumane punishment to detainees, but Mora makes us aware that, “Cruelty has increased the incidence of prisoner abuse worldwide.” We as a nation have made mistakes in dealing with unlawful combatants, however, I agree with Mora when he says, “we shall not repeat the mistakes”. On April 28, 2004, the exposure of prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib shocks the world- this exposure is embarrassing for our nation. We are better than that, and that is why we need to come together to provide boundaries to our representatives and leaders who are in control and who interact with the detainees. I think this could be done with a well-written and descriptive consequence list. For example, If a detainee were to have evidence, such as photos or videos, that they interacted heavily with materials that could have an intended harm to our country, only then will the military leaders have permissions to use interrogation in a harsher manner than just intense conversation. This manner, however, is open to discussion. I contend that if boundaries and expected guidelines were made and clear for situations, the military will have a simpler time in the interrogation process and they won't be walking a fine line for whether their actions are constitutional or not. In terms of treatment for those who are citizens and noncitizens I think it is only right for all humans to be treated the same and interrogated the same under the well- drawn out guidelines I suggested previously. These decisions should be made unilaterally by our nation's federal government- as they are elected to provide the best care and support for the U.S. nation.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

World War II and the treatment to the Japanese

Do you agree that racial prejudice does not play a role in the government's treatment of Japanese Americans during world war 2? Give reasons to support your answer.

I do agree that racial prejudice didn't play a role in the government's treatment of Japanese Americans during world war 2 primary because the government claimed that their actions were not based off of hostility to the Japanese race but rather due to the current circumstances of being in war with Japan. The government had to protect the overarching population of America and by doing this they needed to know who they could and couldn't trust. The military claimed that they did not have enough time to figure outshot was to be trusted and who wasn't to be trusted so they had to make a decision in best interest of their resources and their time. I do think they could have handled the situation differently and in a more respectful manner; however, I do not think their actions were based on an underlying stance of prejudice against the Japanese.

In times of war, governments often must balance the needs of national security with the civil rights of its citizens. In your opinion, did the Japanese internment order find the right balance between these competing values? Explain your reasons.

I do not think so, because, yes, the American government had national security in mind; however, they were not fair to all citizens. For example, Korematsu was born in America which made him a born citizen with American rights. But because of Korematsu external appearance of having Japanese descent, his rights vanished. His property and belongings were to be dispelled; he had to sell his belongings prior to entering the camp that he was to be forced to live at due to what he looks like. Korematsu challenged in court that he was being discriminated against because of his race, which he was. I think the courts should have took this case as an eye opening experience because what Korematsu was saying was true and his words could have been be empathized with. However, the government claimed that their course of action in removing and containing the Japanese people in America was needed for national security. I think a better balance could have been to conduct background checks in the time of war. The American government has the duty to keep its citizens safe and at the same time uphold the rights of every citizen. I think that the idea of background checks could have been a more healthy balance and not as traumatic for the Japanese-American people.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

How has racial caste perpetuated in the form of mass incarceration, despite the achievements of the civil rights movement?

Racial caste is present in the form of mass incarceration primarily in the policing force. As I stated in other blog posts, policing creates crime. I really would like to put emphasis on this because I believe this is the sole basis of why black people are so unequal to white people today. Police use their implicit bias to “stop and frisk;” stopping and frisking creates a the idea that something must be dangerous about that individual. Unfortunately, it is unacceptable to make the reason bluntly that their black, and that's the problem. If that was the case, I strongly feel that this problem of white superiority to blacks could be solved because the truth is out and therefore it could be fixed. However, instead of saying the underlying cause for the “stop and frisk,” the policeman will either charge the black man for a minor crime, charge him for a crime that isn’t present, or promote shame upon him in his community just for being stopped. For those cases where the individual gets charged and sent to court, more often than not they will plead guilty to save them from the financial troubles ahead of them. By doing this, now they have a felon label. This felon label could lead to collateral consequences. These collateral consequences could be the ineligibility to participate in a jury, lack of job opportunities, societal problems, an unfair perception of them and more. All of this due to the color of skin. White people don’t face these issues, so why must black people? Mass incarceration boomed due to colorblindness, I will state my argument again like I did in previous posts, I feel this racial caste issue involving whites being superior to blacks could be solved if this issue is truly made aware by knocking down the wall of color blindness.
What is the “age of colorblindness”? How does it attempt to mask racial caste?

The age of colorblindness dates back to the war on drugs and proceeds up till this very moment. The age of colorblindness is the period of time where society cannot admit to racially discriminating against those of color, but rather being “blind” to it and furthermore believing and preaching that there is no such thing as race, therefore people of color are not being discriminated against. An example of colorblindness in society is the policing force creating crime. Alexander states, “The uncomfortable reality is that arrests and convictions for drug offenses- not violent crime- have propelled mass incarceration… This evidence will almost never be available in the era of colorblindness, because everyone knows- but does not say- that the enemy in the War on drugs can be identified by race.” (Lesson 7, The New Jim Crow) This argument projects manifold thoughts, Who is the enemy? Why are drugs a cause for higher convictions rather than violent crime? Who is the victim? The answers are simple. The ‘enemy’ is the white-superior race enforcing colorblindness. This colorblindness is allowing for legalized discrimination against the black race, and henceforth the black race is the victim. This idea, and era of colorblindness masks the racial class by allowing people to argue that there is no discrimination, “All Lives Matter”, and our own implicit bias also enforces colorblindness. With society emerging how it is, it is making it harder and harder for those to discriminate bluntly, however, society now discriminates though the mask of colorblindness. The implicit biases are still present- whites are superior to blacks- however, this idea is not acceptable when said out loud, but it is when it is ‘fluffed’. I am using the term ‘fluffed’ because there are now clean cut edges and blunt statements, instead, there are actions. For example, the fact that policing can create crime. The police forces orders are to “stop and frisk” when they feel there is danger. Since Black people are considered more ‘dangerous’ than whites, the tendency is for the policeman to “stop and frisk” black men even if they are completely innocent. I know what you're thinking, this isn't fair. However, this is a perfect example how colorblindness masks the racial caste. The policeman doesn't say he stopped him because he is black, but rather he stopped him because he felt he was a danger to society. On the other hand, the policeman probably won't randomly “stop and frisk” a white man, merely because he doesn't appear dangerous. Still to this very moment, The racial caste displays white people over black people. This is not commonly spoken about due to colorblindness. Everyday people don't even know they're being colorblind. In fact, a friend of mine argues that all of us are equal and people of color just want "attention" and that is why campaigns like "Black Lives Matter" exists. I responded, yes you're partially right, they do want attention, they want attention brought to the fact that the truth is they are being discriminated against and knocking down the walls of colorblindness could solve this issue. I believe the only way to stop this inequality is to recognize it.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Law and order first arose in the 1950’s when “law enforcement officials attempted to generate and mobilize white opposition to the civil rights movement.” Southern governors and law enforcement officials made the argument that as the civil rights movement gained popularity, law and order began a decline, essentially stating that civil rights were a threat to law and order. Civil rights protests were seen as a criminal act. Because of this, crime rates increased dramatically. It confuses me to think that as the idea that blacks should be given equal civil rights, there was a higher crime rate. I think this confuses me because of colorblindness. I am a white, 16 year old girl. I haven’t had to face discrimination like the people of color had to and are still having to. I can’t fully understand why equal rights was a problem. I grew up understanding that all races were equal; my parents never taught me the differences between different races. They taught me that we’re all equal and there's plenty of love for all of us. These messages allowed me to understand that no one is “better” than anyone. I only was introduced to that idea as teachers began to teach race in school.

In fact, now I feel sorry that during that time of controversial debates about law and order and civil rights, young black men were finding themselves in unemployment. I don’t think this is fair.  Additionally, as some black activists sought out the support for “law and order”, they then expressed that they support the harsh punishments for those who break laws. This support helped society “turn back the clock” for racial progress. This support gave “urban poor proof that race had nothing to do with their law and order”. The racial bribe present allowed whites, even low class whites, to think they’re still “better” than blacks because they have civil rights and blacks are still struggling to gain rights for themselves. This wedge impacted the Democratic party because the Democratic party advocated for civil rights and the inclusion of blacks in public facilities and furthermore dismantling the Jim crow system. Because the Democratic party supported blacks and their fair inclusion in society, white citizens began to exclude themselves from being in the Democratic party and then included themselves in the Republican party. Because of this, the parties essentially flipped beliefs and members. This all occurred in the sixties and I am personally still in shock that there was such a huge transition primarily based off of whether blacks should have civil rights or not and how this may affect law and order.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

"Racial Bribe" is when special privileges are given to low and lower-middle-class white Americans to guide society to once again seek whites as superior. This was done to diminish cross-cultural bonds. In my eyes, "racial bribe" constructed the mere idea of race in America because it offered privileges for poor white Americans. Not poor Black Americans, Chinese Americans, or Mexican Americans... but poor white Americans only. This offered the idea that races are separate and they are not similar because they do not receive the same privileges. I feel like the white Americans attempted to restore democracy with the system of slavery by allowing racial bribe to step in and collectively encourage whites to decide that blacks are inferior. The "racial bribe" is white superiority. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

The assignment I had to complete was to take an implicit association test (IAT), and this would explore the topics of confirmation bias and implicit associations. The test I took was the Gender-Career IAT. Through the experience of taking this test, it reinforced that historically males have been associated with work, and women with family. Culturally, this test shows that this society still understands this bias to be somewhat true.

Before taking this test, I was confident that I don't associate one gender with a role in society. I believe women are more than capable to perform the same jobs as men, and men are more than capable to raise a child and provide domestically for their family. However, my test results showed that I had a slightly "Automatic association for Male with Career and Female with Family". This surprised me and I don't believe that these results really represent my beliefs. Although, it leads me to believe that history leaves its marks on people and sometimes regardless of what one might believe, the bias could unknowingly still be present.

This test actually did not challenge me about what I thought I knew about gender roles in American history, it actually supported what I learned about American history. In this class and previous history classes, I have learned that throughout history, men and women have faced the stereotypes of the “working-men” and “domestic-woman”. Receiving the opposite results of what I thought I would receive, proved to me that these stereotype are drilled within me, even if I try my hardest to avoid them.