Thinking Science, Figuring Anthropology

Dropping Science

This page is designed for students enrolled in the Spring/Summer 2011 Introduction to Anthropology course to discuss ideas, questions, concerns, reflections, interpretations, and anything that relates to the content of this course. Course content includes required reading materials, lectures, class discussions, and media shown during class. Here we are dropping science in the sense that this discussion board is a venue to talk about something that is important, interesting, and informative about what we are each discovering about the four-field discipline of Anthropology—a project that is scientific and humanistic in scope, method, and validity. Of course, to “drop science” comes from hip-hop culture, and here we are localizing or recontextualizing the specific meaning of this term to encourage emergent conversations through the rhythms that our discourse will articulate.


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  1. * Melissa Widrig says:

    WEEK 6

    When I read the first chapter of “Aids and Accusations”, it shocked me how a government could allow the people of now Do Kay to get where they have gotten. Their town, which worked just fine, was flooded and they lost everything. I think about what it would be like it my home was suddenly flooded and it disturbed me greatly. These people had no choice, but to run for whatever cover they could find, ending up in a poor-soiled, rocky area. Their way of life changed so dramatically, alot of people gave up after a while.

    What shocks me most is the lack of warning that these people had. They had no time to save what little they did have and no one cared. How could people care so little and not even warn the people or help them relocate safely. The people didn’t even have clean drinking water until the fountains were built many years later. It was just a touching and moving story.
    Even the pig crisis made thing more difficult. How could North American farmers not know that Creole pigs live and are adapted to Haiti. The North American pigs caused black market feed to price guage the already poor Haitians and most pigs died, causing many to just give up.
    What makes these people any less precious or important than those who live in the city. A whole way of life was destroyed because the government seemed to see these people as savage others, not as important as them. What gives someone the right to make that call? I don’t know.
    This story really affected me. I laid awake at night and thought of how lucky we are to be Americans. We have systems in place so that our lands can’t be flooded without compensation, always with a warning.

    Date: June 18, 2011, 6:49 PM

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
    • * Leah Kuriluk says:

      What really got to me was the description of the new town. As they pointed out each house that lay empty and unoccupied because its owner was dead, I thought of how it must feel to know that your friends, relatives and neighbors were all dying from the same disease. It was as if the entire town was dropping dead, one at a time. I can’t imagine my friends and neighbors dying around me one by one. The thought is too horrible to contemplate. At the same time, I think the descriptions of all the empty houses really serve to illustrate the loss the town endured at the hands of AIDS. In particular, it emphasizes the toll AIDS takes from a human, community perspective.

      The wide difference between the economic status of the victims also struck me. Everyone from the boss’ oldest son to a village woman was effected. People of both genders were struck as well. As i read beyond, it really emphasizes that AIDS can happen to anyone.

      Date: June 27, 2011 6:01pm

      | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
    • * Carmen Abrego says:

      I agree with Melissa, the situation in Do Kay is very disturbing. The “unfairness” of the impact on the people, typical of such “misfortunes” of the Haitian people and the horrible ways of dying especially for the poverty-stricken and helpless. It seems so senseless when there are so many countries in the world than can help and are able to help as NGO’s. It’s very sad that these people, according to Farmer, are considered another “people without history,” surviving on an island that has suffered so much. An anthropologist studying these people, their culture, and transformations and struggles throughout history, must be overwhelmed with compassion and the desire to write more accurate records as Scott in 1984 wrote, “the whole point of such histories is not to produce a balanced neutral assessment of the decade but rather to advance a claim, to praise and blame, and to justify or condemn state of affairs.” The oral histories of the older refugees that were interviewed, tell their stories of the “unfairness” of those who maintain political leadership, and the criticism of such leadership is still apparent to this day. The helplessness of these villagers, seeing their homes washed into the sea. How sad to have no “voice” and losing everything, with no money. The question is asked, “who benefits from this?- that is, the building of a dam – that took away the land and possessions of those who once called it their own. To this day, the Haitian people have no “voice” in their struggle to be a proud people. In Chapter 2, “The Remembered Valley,” the author quotes Mme. Lamandier, stating, “We we used to be persons.” Persons with a voice, persons who were valued, and now “dehumanized” in their oppressions. Brown, in 1989, describes the early Haitians and their situations as “natural powers such as those of storm, drought, and disease paled before social powers such as those of the slaveholder.” Accusations of sorcery, and other preconceived notions of a poor country who brought on their misfortunes must be corrected by those who are able to help and anthropologists who strive to make accurate the records of history, spoken by those who have not had a voice.

      Date: June 27, 2011, 3:39pm

      | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
    • * Raymond P. Shephard says:

      Born and raised in the State of Michigan, as an African American living in Detroit, I too feel the pain of a Haitian, even though some will consider me very well-off in my colored skin in America. It is knowing that, here is a colored people that looks like me, who once lived in a vibrate land that is rich with growth of fruits and vegetables, only to be drove to an unfamiliar land base, because of the color of their skin. As the River People of Haitian, I am a River person of Detroit. With that said, “how can anyone be productive without knowing the grounds in which they are forced out to live?” I must believe, they must be taught.

      Taught, something that the River people of Haiti was not educated to believe as fact that an agreement with corporation (Export-Import Bank) and the Haitian government meant with a surety that they will be forced to relocate. Taught was not, many of the citizens of Katrina in 2005, to believe a mandatory evacuation by the national and local leaders, meant, it’s a sure bet one of the worse storms in the United States was arriving, which can put a city like New Orleans under water. Taught was not, the many residence of the City of Detroit, who lacked the creative thought to develop and economic base within themselves. Taught, was not the City of Detroit residence, to regroup and retrain in today’s technology world, in order to beat out the storm of Automotive migration, which at that time, in settle and quiet language would devastated Detroit.

      Even today in Detroit, taught is not what city residence cannot imagine to believe, a government, who is it’s people, under the constitution of the United States, will intentionally allow the high waters of unemployment, lack of police protection, failing school system, high juvenile crime, dilapidated infrastructure, a dwindling population from 2 million residence to just under 750,000 residence in a matter of 3 decades, to completely handicap a local government, and force a possible state government take-over. The last three effective situations, helps me to see how the Haitians and I have so much in common, and to feel the power of being over ran by waters, and forced as Paul Farmer states in his book Aids Accusation, “to travel far up the valley.” As Mme. Lamandier said in our textbook reading “Aids & Accusation” on page 22, and I’m sure many Black Americans will concur, “Until the water was upon us. We heard only rumors, which we did not believe, until a couple of months before, when they sent someone to tell us to cooperate, that our land would be flooded…”. I guess George Santayana in his book, “Reason in Common Sense” is true. “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.”

      | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
      • * Carmen Abrego says:

        I feel Raymond has given us a real picture of the images of Detroit, and the complexities that have transformed Detroit throughout its history. Yes, there have been changes throughout the city’s history in terms of employment, crime, education and so much more. The face of Detroit is deeply disturbing due to the closing of well-known retail establishments that used to be great landmarks in a once bustling city that was active with open businesses and people walking throughout the city. The life we have had growing up in Detroit and the suburbs, however, is such a contrast to those in third-world countries such as Jamaica and Haiti. To actually, see these third-world countries and its citizens with no “voice” and the political issues they face each day is so unfair. How else can one describe it? If they have no voice and to developed countries they are the “other” – those who lack strength in defending themselves and their reputations. We have nothing like that in the U.S. We have more control over our AIDS epidemic then the Haitians, and Farmer’s,. AIDS and Accusations offers a true ethnography of what these defenseless people have encountered – such as those who lost everything, Do Kay for example. How sad to not own your property – to have things taken away, to be accused of being voodoo worshipers and have the label of homosexuality on them as a cause for what has happened to their people. The history of Detroit for us is a sad one, but in contract to what third-world countries experience, we have so much.

        Farmer’s anthropological perspectives are necessary in giving a
        “voice” to the defenseless; to show the world how helpless a nation can be and how help is needed each day and into the future.

        Haiti is in constant turmoil with its diseases and natural disasters. Our modern society in the U.S. gives us a “voice” in certain situations – and there are those who stand helpless as well. Our political system of democracy, enables us to have more rights than those in third-world countries.

        I have had the experience of being a church missionary in Cuba with the youth group from our church. We traveled to Havana, Cuba, only a few years ago. The word “democracy” was repeated over and over to us as a reminder that Cuba was not a “democracy” and we were to remember where we were and abide by their rules. We had no “voice” and we were the “other” to them. They reminded us that they were prisoners in their own country. Castro and his army were keeping a close eye on each person – they lived in fear and were not allowed to leave Cuba to travel freely. Freedom is an unfamiliar term to them. Democracy is a familiar term to us.

        Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
    • * Ronald Barbulescu says:

      After reading Part 1 of AIDS and Accusation, I too agree with Melissa on the issues surrounding the population of Do Kay.

      It is very frightening to know that an entire government would essentially leave an entire population to “die” (if not physically, but morally) just to make some money off of it. The idea that the original village had to be flooded to provide for running water and electricity to the larger cities is confusing. Was there no other work-around to this problem? Could the Haitian government have waited any longer and provided a longer time for evacuation of the residents? It’s sad to know that the government ordered people to up and leave their homes, their entire way of life just to benefit others who didn’t share their fate.

      I believe the government should have given a much more definitive notice to villagers, as many thought it was all a hoax; they couldn’t possibly be forced off their land and have their homes flooded for the benefit of others; who would honestly do such a thing? But the villagers in their ignorance chose to ignore the warning signs, and the government didn’t do enough to properly warn EVERY villager that their homes would be flooded soon and they would have to relocate; and the tragedy happened.

      What may be even more sad is the idea that the Haitian government didn’t even really provide proper compensation to the people for forcing them to relocate. The proper thing to do would have been to provide each villager or family with a new home and farming land in their new location of Do Kay; but alas, that didn’t happen, and the entire story just seemed so depressing.

      It astounds me to know how lucky I am to live in the USA, where things like this are very unlikely to happen, yet it happens so frequently around the world. What makes us (the USA) so different from everyone else? Why are we placed on a pedestal? Every human being should have the same privileges and rights to a decent home without the possibility of being removed from it; yet I and the rest of the world understands that optimism like that is unrealistic; and therefore, false hope.

      | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
    • It amazes me how a culture can care so little about a human being., not to mention it was their own people. These people of Do Kay worked so hard to give their families all that they could, and in just a few short hours, with the help of a lot of water, it was all gone. A precious life gone, the roof that was built by hand gone, and a community working together gone. If only they were warned, just maybe these memories could be restored as good ones. But since no one cared about these people, the memories are horrible.

      Those that ran to a new “home” had to rebuild everything because they have nothing. And that wasn’t the beginning to a new great life. This life was much worse.

      I try to imagine how life would be in a place such as Do Kay or a Haitian village. Part of me wants to believe that it is peaceful. A village that works together such as a family. The men that hunt and farm the food that the women cook to put on the table. A beautiful piece of land that will take away the breathe of anyone who opens their eyes. It may be “hard work” but its worth it to know that you are living they way the world wants you too.

      Aids & Accusations gave me the harsh realization that a government can make or ruin your life. In America we are so lucky that the government is there to “help” and they give us all a voice. Others are not so lucky and the government hurts them because in their eyes these villages are “nothing”. In these countries the people own nothing because the government owns the people. So as much as I would love to imagine an amazing peaceful life for these people, I am completely wrong because it is the farthest thing from peaceful and this saddens me.

      | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
  2. * Melissa Widrig says:

    WEEK 7

    I was saddened for Monno and his family. Not only did he lose his land, but was also stricken with a horribleha, incurable disease, later identified as Aids. This poor man had to live with the stigma that someone was casting spells upon him in jealousy due to his successful employment. The village became divided by people who thought this disease was caused by a microbe, and those who thought it was caused by sorcery.

    After Monno’s death and as more fell victim to this disease, people started to see that it was more than just simply a hex on a man. Their cultural ideology changed to see other possibilities other than magic, sorcery, or voodoo.

    Monno died shortly after quitting his medications and resorting to herbs and local prayer. That shows there is a need for medication after all. Not everything can be cured with ancient remedies and old practices. To me this shows, that speaks to the fact that cultural ideology at times are satronger. People are willing to die for what they have been tought their entire lives, even if a better explanation and trteatment is available.
    I feel the people of Do Kay had no option, but to blame others, as it is ingrained in human nature. I can see how Aids can be spread in such a small isolated village, far away from civilization where there are many people to marry and have families wilth. In Do Kay if a man has Aids, he can easil;y give it to his wife and if he or she dies and then remarries the Aids cycle will continue.

    Date: June 27, 2011 8:02am

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
    • * Bianca Tic says:

      I definitely agree with Melissa’s statement when she says ” People are willing to die for what they have been tought their entire lives, even if a better explanation and treatment is available.” I was also so sad for the situation that Manno was facing. So many conflicting ideas about religion and disease, and ultimately his family believed that the only way to get the sickness to leave him was to perform rituals.

      | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
      • * Leah says:

        I, too, found the interaction between religion and science (in this case medicine) interesting. When the villagers, including the victim Manno, attribute his illness to move san and the incident at the school, at first I thought “well, maybe they don’t know much about HIV/AIDS, so they understand it through what they know.” However, as the book began to talk more about the village’s understanding of AIDS through radio announcements, word of mouth, and other means, I realized that this belief in “bad blood” was coexisting with a scientific understanding of the disease.

        Somehow, the villagers were able to integrate two conflicting ideologies about how diseases are contracted and transferred, despite their different approaches. I found it fascinating that they took the scientific concept of diseases and combined it with aspects of their religion to make a unique concept all their own, in which people can either contract a disease through “bad blood,” or through more scientifically defined methods, such as sleeping with an infected person. In their eyes, each method of infection had a different desired treatment and strength. They integrated two completely different concepts to make an understanding that fit within their unique culture.

        Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
    • * Ronald Barbulescu says:

      After reading the “Manno” chapter in part 2 of Farmer’s book, the story really begins to get more personal and tragic.

      Manno seemed like he was the stand-up guy: he had three jobs, tried to better himself by getting as much of an education as he could, and did everything he could to help out his community. He was what other villagers around him needed as their role model, and he filled that role quite nicely…until he became ill.

      Manno had contracted quite an illness that made him very weak: he lost a lot of weight, wouldn’t eat, and could barely move. He was emaciated, and on the verge of death. He went to the clinic only to find out they’d be closed for the weekend, and he didn’t know if he would survive to see Monday; but alas he did, and was looked at immediately by doctors upon walking into the clinic. Manno had thought what he had contracted was tuberculosis, but a previous doctor had told him he might have something worse, and when he was at this new clinic, the new physician told him it indeed was TB. But along with TB, Manno had seemed to contract HIV somehow. He was asked if he had any sexual contact with men, he said no, and said he had only had sex with 4 people in his life, all women; the latest being a long-time girlfriend. Doctors were stunned/confused as to how he contracted the disease, and started to treat his TB first, while keeping track of his other illness closely, but which obviously has no real treatment or cure.

      Villagers around Manno had thought that his illnesses were due to a curse placed on him by voodoo witch doctors or others that simply were “jealous” of his 3 jobs and continued successes. But when they saw that Manno had gotten better they thought that he had beaten the curse. Turns out, Manno had gotten worse, and died soon after. When more people fell victim to the disease, villagers stopped believing it was a simple curse that did this; they began to see that their cultural beliefs had changed when they saw that the illness became widespread; it couldn’t have been voodoo and nothing that spiritual medicine could help anymore.

      It is sad to know that in a village as remote as Do Kay, as soon as one person contracts HIV/AIDS, it can immediately get spread to another, and without proper treatment and/or awareness of the problem, an entire village could get wiped out. This is all due to ignorance and a lack of awareness on the villager’s part; which is due to their lack of education and distance away from large society. AIDS is a pandemic, yet to people from Do Kay, they had no idea and in turn became stunned when it happened to them.

      | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
    • * Raymond P. Shephard says:

      Speaking of the “learning lesson” in Paul Farmer preface of “AIDS and Accusation”, he made a statement that pierced my mind, which will forever remind me why any epidemic exist. He said, “Social conditions shape not only the epidemic itself but also social responses to it.” That direct quote can be observed in every stratification in the United States and worldwide. No mater what culture, racial and ethic group, finding an epidemic, look no farther than condition of the people your to be social with. This is when healthcare is needed to prevent such diseases which can lesson the expectance of life.

      Examining the water refugee people, to the social conditions of Manno, Dieudonne, and Anita, we find that, a poverty stricken areas hastens the development of AIDS/HIV infection in each of the characters examine and studied by Farmer. We find this social condition with Manno, who struggled throughout his young life doing odd jobs to pay for his education, had unprotected sex with only 4 women, in what some would consider abnormal for a thirty year old man living in a rural area. Dieudonne, an outspoken young man, was known for his disruptive behavior which soon got him into a power struggle doing work around the clock for $20.00 for a wealthy Haitian family in Port-au-Prince. This job position made Dieudonne more acceptable to Sida (AIDS), in which he met, dated, and had sexual contact with a girl from Thomonde, who was sickly, and was known to have multiple husbands. In Anita case, she was a run away child from Kay, but not because she was in rebellion. She felt the need to live in a culture less argumentative than her own house, in which her parents argued often. It’s believed, Anita fell ill to AIDS as a result of city work, not by being sexually in contact, but some may disagree. Yes, Anita was innocent, but being innocent has nothing to do with a “string of bad luck” says one villager from Do Kay which includes having sex with the wrong person. In each of these cases present, it’s the social make up of the individuals that caused the AIDS epidemic to raise in Haiti and further demanded the need to respond urgently.

      | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
  3. * Sheila Funderburg says:

    WEEK 7

    I was able to watch a little more of planet b boy on YouTube and as I listened to some of the dancers talk about how they express themselves in their dancing, and what breakdancing meant to them, you can hear the passion in their voice. This tells me that this is not just another dance; it’s actually a culture within itself. When you say b-boying, most people think that it’s a bunch of young thuggish type guys standing around dancing. They’r e not recognizing that this form of dance is truly an art form. These break-dancers live for this art form, it is a way of life for them, they express themselves through there style of dance. What makes it that much more interesting and intriguing to watch is that there are so many different styles. It is most definitely a skill that is enhanced over time with practice, and with that, you can tell that they take pride in perfecting this art.

    To me this dancing style is a type of language that is universal. It is understood internationally. Before watching this movie I was very narrow minded not even thinking that they were break dancing in other countries, especially like Korea. But I see this is a way that many express their emotions whether it is happy, sad, pain, anger, or any other emotions that they are feeling at that time. This type of dance is a way for them to distress or to relieve their emotions. It was interesting and different to see how they expressed their emotions by dancing at the border. It’s like taking fighting to another level. You feel better after it’s over without putting your hands on anyone. More people need to recognize these types of art forms because to me it’s kind of like social working yourself, and after your done you’re not as stressed about whatever situation you had going on before you started.

    Date: June 27, 2011 12:00am

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
    • * Carmen Abrego says:

      I like what Sheila has to say about Planet B-Boy — and the culture of break dancing. These competitions expressed the culture and struggles of these young kids. I thought it took a lot of courage for these kids to express their feelings through this genre of dance. It takes a great deal of discipline and practice as a team in order to perfect their style. The Asian boy who spoke of how he missed his father and all the pain he felt was remarkably expressed though his dance. Their bodies moved in a way that showed us what they were masking and how they were able to release these emotions in the various ways they moved each limb to the rhythm of the music. The teams of dancers from different cultures have a special and significant bond with one another as they share similarities in their emotional struggles and differences in their lives and their cultures. There is expression about their history, culture, and even political struggles that they are dealing with each day individually and as a country. The break dancing is a freedom from these struggles and a healthy way of dealing with their sadness, anger and fears. There is a great deal of work that goes into these competitions and it seems like a huge accomplishment for those who win and even for those who don’t. They have a lot to be proud of and they have the will and opportunity to improve and teach others to use this means as healthy tool in releasing the frustrations of being a young man.

      Dance is an art form, and an expression of each individual’s conflicts from within – no one can understand how they struggle on a daily basis, and this could be their “voice” in telling the world about their conflicts. Maybe they aren’t free in their society to do the things that other boys can do — and this is their outlet in a culture that has so many limitations.

      | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
    • * Bianca Tic says:

      Before seeing this documentary, I felt like b-boying was just a fad or something that people copy once again from the western countries and try to mimic the best they could. After seeing the amazing talent pouring from the competition especially between the Asian teams, I’m opening myself up to the breakdancing culture. The breakdancing culture breaks the barriers between the subcultures of the individual dancers and somehow it all comes together beautifully in the dancing I was seeing.

      | Reply Posted 7 years, 7 months ago
  4. * Shati Miah says:

    WEEK 7

    When I first read part two of AIDS & ACCUSATION about AIDS comes to a Haitian Village. I was really astounded to read this chapter about “Manno”, and his Illness. He thought he was sick because some people did evil cast on him. He also had this in mind that they were jealous of his success, because manno had three jobs, which was a teaching, pigsty and the water pump job, and so some Villagers did some kind of spell on him. It really shocked me at the beginning how people can actually do that, and how can people be so selfish. I still had a question in my mind about that. I mean how a spell can cause damage to a person, and make them sick but, as I was reading the whole story, I realized that he was sick because he had AIDS which was shocking.

    Another thing I really liked about this story was how manno’s relative took care of him even though they knew he was ill that was caused by a microbe, virus, which later on founded as AIDS. They still didn’t get scared of it and they actually helped him in this situation but some villagers weren’t like that and the village was divided. But, I really felt bad that because of his illness manno lost his land and everything, it was really sad how at the end manno had to die because there wasn’t any cure for this disease. I also felt bad for those Do Kay people who was going through this Illness. Because this AIDS is a virus, if a husband has it, his wife will have it also or vice versa.

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
  5. * Shati Miah says:

    WEEK 8

    I would like to discuss about the USDA. In our anthropology class we discussed how according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), “less than 2% of Americans farm for a living today.” This means that what are “we” people going to do if we no longer have knowledge about how to grow and harvest food. This is going to be real hard for us. Because of the farmers, we get all the foods from the market in our society. Because of them our families are having stuffs to consumes. If there are not enough farms living in America today, its going to be really hard for rest of the people. Especially for the people who don’t know anything about farming.

    If we don’t have enough farms how are we going to get our foods from . Its going to be tough for all of us. So basically now normal people also have to start farming, but how can they if they don’t have the knowledge of it. We really do need Americans farm at least for the sake of the people living in the United States. It is very necessary to produce more food. If we don’t have enough farms in America, there will be more crisis going on because of foods. There will be loss of jobs for the farmers. This chapter “Back to the land” also explained how farmers work really hard for their farm, and because of them we get the foods.

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
    • * Ronald Barbulescu says:

      In analyzing Ch. 14 of Durrenberg and Erem, it’s really obvious how much farming means to any industrialized country, and especially the United States. Farming at its core, is the basic production of food for consumption by living creatures (mainly humans). After reading the chapter, it’s clear to see how capitalist society in the U.S has transformed farming into a major player in the corporate business. Instead of the former “household production,” which focuses on using the food one produces to eat and sustain a living, farms have changed to “commercial production” and are mainly interested in selling their products for profits.

      The choice for a farmer between the two systems of production is not at all up to them anymore. In this current system of politics and economics, the farmer must adhere to what corporations tell them, or they could lose their farm if they don’t cooperate. In order to keep food prices low, mass quantities of food must be produced at all times, in all seasons, which brings up the idea of using pesticides and genetic mutations to grow all kinds of crops all year long. If a farmer wanted to keep their farm organic, the cost of food prices would skyrocket, as can be seen in grocery stores when comparing the “normal” (artificial/chemically made) vegetable to the organic one.

      In this current system, the need for farmers is scarce, as major corporations can keep massive quantities of food and farms under their control and have no need to hire out many private farmers to grow crops. Farmers don’t make that much money in this day and age, and with today’s availability of processed food, they aren’t valued as much as they should be. The quote in the chapter said it best when describing the modern agricultural system in the U.S: “it’s not about the individuals; it’s about the power of an organization controlled by a handful of interests driving the resources in the direction of those interests, often under the guise of another name.”

      | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
      • * Gary Spreder says:

        I’m glad that someone already brought this chapter up. When reading, I was at first unsettled y the idea of the purported “exploitation” of farm workers, but before before long saw the error in their complaints. For a book that looks to present Anthropology “Unbound”, it consistently binds the narrative within their own, very strong, opinions.

        Although it is certainly true that fewer people work on farms these days, we cannot freely assert that this is a negative thing. Farmers lose their farming jobs to the larger units, in favor of “evil” efficiency. Perhaps the farmers could be successful subsistence farmers once upon a time, but the quality of life for those farmers is not a given whatsoever. Even in America, such a young nation, the vast majority of people, over 80%, were farmers before the agricultural revolution. The Agricultural Revolution, which the book very passionately refers to as The Raping of the Farmers, made agriculture into a business, dramatically increasing efficiency and freeing up people to become, yes, wage workers. The availability of labor gave rather quick rise to the Industrial Revolution, which gave birth to technology as we know it.

        If the book’s assertions hold true, then we should remove any ability for this so-called “exploitation”, and go back to subsistence farming, to household economies. Then, we can drop all of the things we gained from industrialization in the first place, giving up the tractors, crop dusters, motorized tillers, chemical fertilizers, and everything else that industry brought to farming. We can all go back to using hand tools and oxen. While we’re at it we’d have to give up all of the other things that wage workers produce, like our phones, computers, cars, trains, planes, freighters, modern medicine, and so on. Oh, and since we’re all subsistence, we won’t really have currency anymore, so we won’t have taxes. Wouldn’t that be great? Then we wouldn’t have a government, and we could happily work our land, hoping no natural disaster destroys our livelihood, while we wait for a foreign, industrialized nation to come in and subjugate us all.

        This, my fellows, is the danger of accepting well-spoken or well-written words without taking in their full ramifications. Although I do still tend to agree with them on a number of points, the intensity and extremity of their convictions at times bring them far beyond the reach of reason.

        Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
      • * Charles Moss says:

        To add to Ronald’s comment about a lack of choice, it should also be pointed out that if a farmer wants to make any kind of decent living, he has basically one choice in terms of crop. This is, of course, corn.

        Due to a combination of government subsidies and the powerful lobbying of the corn industry, we now have an over abundance of corn. So we came up with ways of using it for everything. Corn syrup is used as a sweetener in everything because the surplus has made it cheaper than real sugar (and god forbid we use any of that evil Haitian sugar). We use corn to make fuel, plastic, and a hundred other things, all because of its lower cost. But that just causes farmers to grow more corn to make up for the lower cost and the cycle continues.

        I know corn is a very specific example, but it is a particularly telling one. So in addition to the average Joe no longer having the know-how to produce food for himself, even the few remaining farmers are losing touch with anything but corn, which has very little nutritional value and is nigh impossible for humans to digest.

        Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
  6. * Bianca Tic says:

    WEEK 8

    I have been reflecting on a few sentences that I read on page 62 about Manno and the “lottery school.” I immediately thought about a documentary I recently watched called “Waiting for Superman” in relation to the failing public school system that we have in place. In order for underprivileged kids to get into better performing schools they have to attend a lottery in which their chances of getting in are very slim. Education is most definitely a way in which we can discover new meanings to the 3 questions that anthropologists try to answer. I recommend this documentary to anyone who would like to learn a little more about the theories that these educators pose in this documentary. One of them is whether richer school districts produce better academic results as a result of their richer infrastructure. Geoffrey Canada, a social activist, educator and commentator in the documentary begins to change beliefs that many people hold true. He does this by providing evidence that minority youths are just as capable to succeed in academics with support from teachers. He does this by putting great teachers in one of the worst schools in Brooklyn, NY, and the results are unbelievable. This takes me to a point I would like to make about beliefs, which is that beliefs can be so wrong and devastating to a population, whether they are stereotypes or superstitions. Beliefs hold no merit because they are not scientifically able to withstand criticism and a scientific evaluation.

    Here is a link to the documentary:

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
    • * Charles Moss says:

      In addition to the lottery system, our country’s “No Child Left Behind” policy is also hurting our children. In order to gauge how well students are doing (and, by extension, how well their teachers are teaching them), there is a plethora of standardized tests in use throughout the United States. If a school’s students perform poorly, that school receives less funding (because punishing the students for not learning by cutting their ability to learn makes *perfect* sense). This has led to schools teaching a curriculum geared toward the standardized tests, which discourages students from pursuing academic paths that actually interest them.

      Sure, teaching to the test makes for good numbers on some bureaucrat’s spreadsheet and the superintendent can get that nice Christmas bonus, but it is producing a generation of children who know only what they are told to know (which is a jumping-off point for another threat all together about hidden curriculum and systemic violence). The result is that no one has a drive to learn anything more than the minimum to pass the test, stifling innovation, and, ultimately, causing society (at least the bottom 90%) to stagnate.

      | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
  7. * Sheila Funderburg says:

    WEEK 8

    I found the movie Life and Debt to be very interesting. I would have never thought that Jamaica is seeing troubling times with their government and are having financial difficulties. It’s hard to believe that a place that’s so beautiful could have so many troubles. From them not having a hospital close by, having problems with their sewage system, and most importantly they cant get any assistance from their government with finances because of this new global economy. The name life and Debt is most definitely a fitting name for this movie because Life, being what’s seen from the outside which is beautiful, well developed and flourishing and then Debt, which is their island going under in debt with no help and no way out in site. I would not have guessed that the food that’s being served to tourist on the island is actually food that is shipped in from Miami, it’s sad that because of the global economy food can be purchased from Miami at a cheaper price than buying from the local farmers. Which means the local farmers are losing out on income. How can the farmers survive, if they cant sell their produce in their country. They’re already having a hard time as it is, but this global economy is making their situation worse. After watching this movie, I can see how tourist can miss all the problems that Jamaica is having because as tourist we’re only looking at Jamaica (or where ever we vacation) in an etic type of way. If the islanders are not sharing these problems with the tourist there’s no way anyone would know, and the islanders are not going to share that information because they depend on tourist for income. I think that tourist are selfish also, they’re there to enjoy themselves, distress, and get away from their problems. So their not trying to find any problems in a place were their trying to have fun and get relaxation.

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
    • * Charles Moss says:

      Much of what Sheila said can be applied to our very own (pure) Michigan. We have a great climate for growing cherries and apples, but you can go into any Meijer or Wal-Mart and you would be hard-pressed to find local fruit. Why? Because of what I said in an earlier post about corn. Oh, you can rest assured that the high fructose corn syrup in your pop likely originated in Michigan, but corn isn’t what this state is about.

      While tourism isn’t terribly big in Michigan, we are home to the (somewhat deceivingly named) Motor City. People think of Detroit when they think about cars, but very little of the auto industry is still here. Sure, there are some high profile plants and office buildings, but GM gets a large chunk of its parts from Mexico and Ford has outsourced a good deal of labor to Canada (to avoid paying for their workers’ health care). Your run of the mill Honda has more American-made parts built by American labor than a typical Ford. The Big Three’s profits don’t trickle down to the local economy and the wage workers employed by Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai don’t make enough to stimulate any kind of growth, all the while the profit generated by their labor is going to Japan and Korea. So, it’s the world that outsiders are presented with, and the world as it actually is.

      We do flip some of the Jamaican issue around, though. Instead of outsiders only seeing the good and having the bad hidden from them, we have taken a sort of perverse pride in the rotting carcass that was once the “Paris of the Midwest”. All outsiders know and see are the burnt out husks on Chalmers and Chene (etc, etc, etc…). We don’t make a big deal about Midtown and Greektown being nice. Sure, we push the casinos, but only as a kind of juxtaposition with the decay of the surrounding areas.

      I may have gone wildly off-topic with this, but there you have it.

      | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
      • * Sheila says:

        It may be off topic a bit but it’s still the truth, I just wanted to add that in my opinion, the only reason why outsiders only know of the burnt out husks of the city is because of the Media’s portrayal of it. Media plays a huge role in how everyone sees things and because people believe what they hear/see on the news they think Detroit is some crime ridden, run down city. The truth is that there is crime and violence everywhere (city and suburb) as well as foreclosed/abandoned homes) but for whatever reason the media choose not to focus in on the suburban areas, they only choose to give Detroit a negative image. Like you said, they don’t make a big deal about Midtown and/or Greektown being nice. Truth is Detroit has a lot of great qualities about it and a lot of great people that live in it, but most often these things are not mentioned, media will find the worst part of Detroit to focus in on. I’m guessing this has part to do about ratings, I don’t know, but I do know that it’s sad that media doesn’t give Detroit a fair chance. They should focus on the positive just as well as the negative.

        Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
      • * Leah says:

        I disagree with you: I see many paralels with Detroit when they describe Jamaica. As someone who interacts with tourists on a daily basis, I think that any area has a side that the tourists see, and a side that people who actually live there have to deal with. Detroit is, as you say, a prime example of that. I work at the Detroit Historical Museum, and I give people directions and hear where they stay and what they do all the time. Visitors take tours of the historic districts, the Ren Cen, and maybe the fisher. They visit the museum district and the better parts of downtown. They stay at the giant glittering casinos and ignore the homeless shelter 4 blocks from Motor City. They don’t experience the power going out because of our aging electrical system, and they don’t have to deal with bus schedule cuts, and aging water systems. The visitors don’t know about our failing school system. They studiously avoid the “bad” parts of town. When visiting Detroit, people see only the better areas. It’s like when the Superbowl came to town, and suddenly all the trash was gone and the abandoned buildings had artwork in the windows and fresh coats of paint. We hide parts of the city from visitors. Like Jamaica, much of actual Detroit is hidden to the tourist. At the same time, they miss a lot of positive things that make Detroit Detroit. Part of Detroit’s identity is it’s people, which visitors often don’t get to interact much with. It’s an important concept to keep in mind when visiting somewhere new: it may feel like paradise, but you’re not actually experiencing what it’s like to live there.

        Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
    • * Carmen Abrego says:

      Sheila’s reaction to the film on Jamaica also had an effect on how I see tourists and their “blindness” to the realities the Jamaicans experience each day.

      I was in Jamaica when the land was pristine,and the people were content. No one was there to take away their farms – no one was there to control their every move. This film showed us the greed of those in power. The greed of taking away the livelihood and happiness of the Jamaican people. They seemed forced to sell U.S. and European goods – to feed tourists with produce from countries other than Jamaica. Was that fair? Definitely not.

      It was difficult to see that the land that was once green and perfect with farms and workers loving what they had and owned.

      Globalization seems to make things worse for third-world countries instead of better. Globalization benefits large corporations and not island people who just want their farms back so that they can sell what they grow.

      Take away what they once had – in a history they can only look back on is so unfair. Do they have a “voice?” I don’t believe they do. The corporate control over a small island is overwhelming. Globalization is real, and cannot be stopped.

      It is very disturbing to see tourists who are “blind” to the misfortunes of those living around their resorts. The small structures that are their schools, the two room houses that I once called a “shack” that is all the islanders own.

      So blind to these realities are those who are partying the night away and having no worries about money and large corporations taking away their livelihoods.

      It is embarrassing to see the tourists and the contrast of the islanders who have no material things, as they are the “other” to those who just see them and not know them. Not knowing their struggles and their needs. Just being there for vacation and fun.

      The stories these Jamaicans could tell is enough to make others angry.

      | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
  8. * Sheila says:

    After reading chapter 8, I have come to the conclusion that the government has been corrupt and greedy since the beginning of time, or at least since money came into the world. The government has been greedy in regards to money, produce and merchandise to the point where they had to control who made it and also how they made it (as far as jobs, farming, and free labor). To control all aspects of others’ lives by placing labels such as classes to start or continue stratification is sad. If it wasn’t for the greed and love of money, everyone could have been living in an egalitarian type system. I believe that people could have been living in peace, because if everyone would have lived by the standards of reciprocity, no one would have wanted for anything. Crime, thievery, and robbery could have been controlled or even eliminated because everyone would have been helping one another. This would have been nice because it would have created a less stressful and more peaceful living environment. I recognize this is my fairytale (ish) point of view and would never had been a long term option but still, it would have been nice.

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
    • * Romon Long says:

      Since the government is run by people, unfortunately I expect them to be greedy. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think everyone that is elected intends to increase the prosperity of the government, than that of “the people “. But we have to be reasonable; the government has been around for a long time, and so has the greed that was created with it. I feel that if the government or the people that regulates the government are to change we would have to take away some of their power.
      Reading Chapter 8, the Thai government had too much power that didn’t benefit the people. For example, how dare the government force the people without a farmland to work for wage when they didn’t have to previously. Swiddens during this period worked out perfectly for the people that couldn’t afford or didn’t inherit lands, because they were able to find a small part of the forest cut it down and farm. But the government having full control of the forest eventually prohibited swiddening, therefore forcing the people to work for wage to feed their families. Which I could imagine wasn’t enough, because the people that owned the land usually made enough to feed them only.

      | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
      • * Gary says:

        Romon, I’m going to have to at least partially disagree with you, as I feel there are a few factors that have to be considered.

        Your argument reflects the argument in the book, championing subsistence farming above wage labor. It is always important, however, to consider things form another angle, and the book has provided only one, strong angle throughout.

        In a perfect, pre-historic world, a system based solely on subsistence farming would be theoretically possible, but this is not that world. Furthermore, the method the farmers were using, swidden farming, was not even remotely sustainable. You may be inclined to think “The Thai government is oppressing the farmers trying to make meagre leaving off of their swiddens”, but miss the second half, “…which destroy the forests, strip the soil of vital nutrients, shatter the plant cycle, and in time create deserts and wastes.” Yes, it may have been their way of life, but it is not a sustainable way, and not for the farmers, and not for anyone else, at least not for very long.

        Wage workers by concept produce more than they consume, creating profits. Left to their own devices, subsistence workers would do only that – subsist. Why is this a problem? Because without surpluses, there is no wealth to transfer among people, and therefore no way to support anything other than farmers. That means no government, which means no protection. When a warlord (or foreign nation!) comes by to tap you of your resources by force, and decimate your population while they’re at it, you’d wish you’d had a system in place that would help you support a system of protections, and another vital element the book fails to mention is the necessity of governments.

        Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
  9. * Gary says:

    The film we watched today, “Life and Debt,” did not directly speak (at least in the parts we saw) of the global implications of the systems and conditions we were seeing. As unsettling as the story presented in China is inherently, it’s even more alarming to think of the ways in which we are involved in it. If you look at the relationship between the well-to-do and the barely-doing in the communities the film depicted, you can take a step back and consider the strange relationship our own country has with China.

    In a time not long ago, we were the haves, and they were the have-nots, and we used them in any way we could because we had the economic power over them, and they were therefore cheap labor. Working hard for little pay, the Chinese learned to survive the best they could in the rough conditions, and they got good at it. Really good at it. These days, China is wealthy on a national scale, but poor on a personal scale. In a nation overworked and long-exploited, the fallacy of Social Darwinism is deeply ingrained, and they impose its tenants even among themselves.

    So what happens now, when the tables have turned, and our economy is falling while their economic clout continues to climb, especially over us? Are we to become China’s workhouse, the cheap labor they exploit to increase their quality of life at our expense?

    Nah. We’re too lazy; we’ll just starve.

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
  10. * Shati Miah says:

    Week 11

    This week in class we discussed about “What is archaeology? And what they don’t study. I was quiet surprised when I learned that archaeologists don’t study dinosaurs, they don’t simply dig randomly to look for pretty shiny treasures, or they don’t buy, sell, or place a price upon artifacts. I always thought that archaeologists are the ones who study about dinosaurs, and other old giant animals. They are the one who find hidden stuffs. But, I was wrong, after I studied about this I learned how whatever I was thinking was not true at all. They are not part of this job. They are actually involves in studying human past through material remains that are recoverable and recovered for systematic scientific and humanistic discovery, analysis, and interpretation. They falls into four parts: archaeology, cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, and linguistic anthropology.
    It is really amazing how archeologists study about languages, different culture, where we came from, how we came from? Etc. There are so many things I never knew until I was enrolled in this class. I have gained so much knowledge about archaeologists and how they do their things in their own ways. It is very outstanding. Archaeologists aim to discover and describe the fullest range of past human experience like constricting cultural chronologies reconstruct past life ways, and etc. They try to find out why things happens, how things happen, where we came from, why are we like the way we are ? And etc. They go through different countries, different amazing places to find out about things and its not a easy thing to do. I really like how they work and find out stuffs. Thanks to this class, because of it I learned a lot about archaeologists.

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
  11. * Harpinder Sidhu says:

    Thread: Planet B-Boy
    Week 7

    This film Planet B-Boy is great entertainment backed with profound social and cultural insight.
    B-Boying or break dancing, the hip hop dance form that originated on the streets of NY’s South Bronx, burst into the cultural mainstream during the 1980s and, like many pop crazes, quickly faded from fad status. Planet B-Boy gives us some history on the evolution of break dancing, from what it was in the 70s and 80s to what it become now in the 2000s.
    There are four primary elements that form breaking. These include toprock, downrock, power moves, and freezes/suicides. Today, brilliantly talented, extremely dedicated young dancers represent dozens of countries with diverse mainstream cultures in annual competitions or ‘battles.’ It is certainly realized that French b-boys are known for their artistry and sensitivity to the music, that South Koreans are known for their unbeatable “power moves” or that the Japanese are known as fantastic innovators.
    I think we get to know the boys as young artists, sons trying to please demanding parents, athletes pushing their bodies to the limits, teens struggling to find their place in a difficult world. Planet B-Boy shows how these artists–no less dedicated and skilled than Olympic gymnasts–are confront mainstream cultures that pressure them to conform: one Korean lad struggles to live up to his traditionally-minded father’s expectations, a twelve-year-old boy in the French crew faces his family’s not-too-subtle racism, the Las Vegas lads are trying to achieve the American dream through self-expression.
    The dancing is awe inspiring, truly. I think back to the break dancing scenes from movies like Flash Dance and think they just can’t compare to the advanced skill sets these kids have today. You just have to see it to believe it. What was also great about Planet B-Boy is that you got to know some of these kids, each group’s dancing styles and techniques were obvious reflections of their culture and personal experiences. The US and French teams seems to be more individualistic. The Korean and Japanese teams were, as well as jaw-dropping, precise, clean and highly skilled technically.

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
  12. * Harpinder Sidhu says:

    Week 8: Life and Debt
    The movie Life and Debt presented the case of Jamaica.Jamaica was relatively self-sufficient after independence, and had a thriving small farm sector. Agreements with international financial institutions ‘forced’ the country to open up its markets to imports from the U.S. The richest countries of the world as US have presented the intentions of IMF and the World Bank as helping third world countries, like Jamaica, stabilize and prosper. But the evidence presented in the film shows that third world countries are forced to redistribute their wealth to the US and Europe.
    It is very sad to say that these imports- of potatoes and onion and powdered milk destroyed local farming. What’s worse, price will go back up once domestic industry is ‘destroyed. Moreover, the IMF lent money at high interest rates, and demanded that the government lend to farmers at high interest rates instead of the previous low interest rates. The United States destroyed the Jamaican banana industry by insisting that bananas from Central America enter the European market on the same terms as Caribbean and African bananas.
    In Jamaica the IMF is mainly interested in accomplishing two goals: 1) making developing nations marketplaces for subsidized goods from the U.S. and other Western countries; and 2) exploiting cheap labor markets. The former goal ravishes the natural sustainable food industries of Jamaica (including dairy, poultry and meat production). The latter goal is a short-term gambit that leaves Jamaica paying for “duty free assembly zones” that have long since moved on to even cheaper suppliers of labor in other countries.
    We see how the profit-driven agendas of the World Bank, World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund and Inter-America Development Bank have systematically ruined Jamaica’s economy, plunging the country into insurmountable debt simply to make already rich Western investors richer. This globalization affects workers in the First World as much as the Third, taking formerly American jobs to wherever the employers can pay the lowest wages. Some of the questions raised are:
    • Are Jamaica’s poor getting poorer because of IMF programs?
    • Did consumers benefit from liberalization?


    | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
  13. * Harpinder Sidhu says:

    At that time, more than 50 percent of the U.S. population lived in rural areas, and 30 percent of the workforce was engaged in farming. Extension’s engagement with rural America helped make possible the American agricultural revolution, which dramatically increased farm productivity:
    • In 1945, it took up to 14 labor-hours to produce 100 bushels of corn on 2 acres of land.
    • By 1987, it took just under 3 labor-hours to produce that same 100 bushels of corn on just over 1 acre.
    • In 2002, that same 100 bushels of corn were produced on less than 1 acre.
    That increase in productivity has allowed fewer farmers to produce more food. Fewer than 2 percent of Americans farm for a living today, and only 17 percent of Americans now live in rural areas.
    Low prices for agricultural goods will cause some farms to go out of business. Small farms are being combined into bigger farms. The number of farmers and ranchers who own their own farms is expected to decline moderately through 2018. The number of agricultural workers who work for other people will grow more slowly than the average for all occupations.Jobs is declining because each farmer can produce more. They use machines and technology. But there will still be some jobs because many of today’s farmers and ranchers will retire or leave their jobs. Organic farms, farmers’ markets, and fish farms are finding more customers.
    Agriculture is the foundation of our lives and the economy of the nation. For centuries, agriculture has affected the way many cultures live and work. Technological advances address the needs of an expanding population. From harvesting by hand to combine harvesters, agriculture leads the way in finding new and more efficient ways to produce the products we need. Without agriculture, we would be without our favourite pair of blue jeans and the cereal we eat for breakfast. Through conflicts and wars, agriculture has always rebounded and will continue to do so for many years to come.

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 7 months ago
  14. * Romon Long says:

    This week in class was very interesting, because we were able to have fun by playing a card game. Which was strange, because I have never had a teacher have us play a game at Wayne State. Nevertheless, reading the instructions the game seem as if would be easy to play, and also similiar to my favorite game “Spades”. However, moving to another table I quickly found this game wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought, because everyone seemed to not understand the instructions. Watching everyone keep reaching for the same books I thought we must have different instructions.
    After playing I understood that it was more than just a game. For me, it symbolized a person entering into a different culture, and either adjusting to this culture’s customs or retaining that persons own beliefs. For example, while playing the game, everyone eventually had to settle on who won the book. Usually, the customs of the table won, because it seemed to be two of the original players there to assist in reinforcing the rules. So new comers could a stood their ground, and tried to get the book. However, I believe they still would a been outnumbered.

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 7 months ago
  15. * Virginia Ramsey says:

    The Anthropology of Religion

    When it come to understanding how religion works you must first ask yourself, what is religion? Where did it come from? Why does one need to have a relgion? Why do people desire to have some type of religion? I don’t feel like Anthropology explains these questions. It explains religion as being some sort of set of beliefs. Religion is more than that. Religion of today has taken on a new meaning than its original meaning. The word religion comes from the Latin root of “re” meaning back and “ligion” meaning to tie or link. People seems to have a natural inclination to wonder what their purpose is and what they are here for. Studying music and art history I couldn’t help but realize that it was all made in worship of a God or gods. People have always believed and wondered about a supernatural. Religion is a personal love relationship with their creator. Something that requires soul searching and questioning. It isn’t something that should be forced on anyone. Today religion isn’t what it truely is. Its a way of controlling people and trying to get them to believe actually what you believe. I don’t think religion has anything to do with belief. To me it more about understanding. Its about understanding first who God is and then understanding our purpose. The purpose he created because he is the creator. In order to understand we must be drawn back and linked soul to soul with our Creator. I also don’t believe that there is only one way to do this. If there is a God who created everything in the universe he must be complex in everyway. A God that complex could not possibly have only one way of understanding him. Since people have a natural inclination to want a religion it makes it easy to control people with a religion. Pride and ignorance has brought on the new meaning of religion. People now believe that religion is a set of beliefs and rituals that we must follow to please our Creator. Pride has lead people to believe that their way is the right way or only way. People then began to control others because the soul is yearning to have a relationship with its Creator. The yearning causes people to choose a religion and follow what they have been taught. When we only follow one way it limits our sense of understanding. Our understanding then follows one set of beliefs and our pride comes in and makes us feel like we are right and every other religion is wrong. In my opinion no one is right. If anything everyone is wrong. We have no way of actually knowing what the supernatural is. We can just try to understand what it is. We can ask questions, study history, and study religions to understand what the supernatural is. If your wondering what I believe then here it is. I don’t believe in any religion that their is today. Today religion is so narrowminded and used to control people. It forces people to live and think one way. I believe religion is a personal soulful connection with our Creator. I believe in one God and I believe he is so complex. I believe we must love Him with our soul and open our hearts and minds to understand what He is. Following one set of beliefs doesn’t open our minds and hearts it narrows our minds and limits our understanding. There is One God but many ways of worshiping him. Many things to understand about him. He has made a trillion people and He has made them all different. He yearns for us to know and understand Him. Our souls yearns to connect with him. I encourage everyone to really sit down, reach within your soul, and ask what am I here for Lord? Why did you create me? And help me to understand. When you do that then open your mind and hearts to understanding. Lay down your pride and prejudice because its those two things that limits us from understanding. It also limits us from having the most enjoyable life possible. Never believe you are right because the truth is no one really knows and we all are probably wrong. Instead work on loving God and loving yourself. Then you can love and understand others for who they are because they to were created by our loving, amazing, awesome God.

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 7 months ago
  16. * Virginia Ramsey says:

    AIDS Comes to a Haitian Village

    When I was a child I had a sick uncle. I always knew he was sick but I never knew why. Growing up I would sit on his lap, hug him, kiss him, and interact with him like I would any other family member. All of my other family members did the same. When he died I was nine years old and I was so sad. It wasn’t until I was in my teens that my grandmother explained his death to me. My uncle was gay and he was diagnosed with HIV in the late 80s. Not only was my uncle gay but he was Mexican, making him a huge minority. My grandma told me the doctors here treated him like he was a nobody. They didn’t offer him much help and they barely wanted to touch him. They acted like he was some kind of walking time bomb and if they got too close he would explode killing them all. I remember my uncle taking many medications everyday and he always worked out. He did his best to stay healthy and live a great life. My family freely interacted with him and loved him no different than they ever had. Reading the stories of these young peoples life with AIDS makes me remember and understand a little more of the discrimination and suffering my uncle faced in his last years. People always need a scapgoat, someone to place the blame on. I always knew the gay community was blamed for the AIDS epidemic but these Haitian stories are news to my ears. Even though my uncle had a close doctor he could go to he was still offered little help from them. Anitas story really touched me a lot. Her mother died when she was so young. At thirteen she left her home and lived on the street. I couldn’t imagine being thirteen and leaving the comfort of my home to live on my own in the streets with no one to help me, no one who cared. Then she gets somewhat of a life and it is then again its destroyed. She finds a man at probably only fifteen but it seems like she felt like that was her only option. I wonder is she even loved him. I wonder if she even knew love or experienced its comfort. Her lover dies and no one knows why or seems to care. Then she gets the same symptoms. What I find interesting about these people is that they didn’t try to blame anyone. Instead they tried to find an answer so they could fix the situation. These people had a way of living and many believed in voodo. They came up with the best answer they could based on the reality they live in. They tried to save eachother with voodo because they believed it worked. Atleast they tried to save eachother. Atleast they came together and interacted with eachother with love and compassion. Here the gay minority community had little or no help with the people that could try to find an answer to their illness for them. These Haitians had no chance. Their whole life was a battle to live. The saddest part about Anitas life is it didn’t have to go the way it did. The flood destroyed her chance of a live of prosperity. The ignorances and selfishness of some caused suffering for many. Its altered and changed the future of generations of people. The ignorance and selfishness of some forced Anita into a life that she didn’t deserve. She had no chance after the flood. Yet she blamed no one when their were plenty to blame.

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 7 months ago

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