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Author: Carly Cohen

9/30 Post

The movie “Dear White People” brought up greater arguments and tensions surrounding racial inequality and injustices. Institutions, colleges, and other corporations have simply not been doing their part to make minority students feel welcome and included. The movie shows this statement perfectly. In this movie, the fictional Winchester University is an example of a school with a predominantly white student body that does not respect African American culture. The Halloween party at the end of the movie was when the African American students finally stood up for themselves and declared that they are not going to be racially profiled anymore. 

A lot of the powerful messages that were portrayed in this film are incredibly applicable to colleges and college life today. For example our institution, the University of Richmond lacks heavily in integrating students of minorities. For the most part, people stick to their groups. In the movie the housing was certainly the worst and most segregated aspect of the University. While things are not still that bad today, it is an exaggerated example of the truth. To keep up with the recent times, this is something that definitely needs to be addressed. People need to realize that a lot of the time things they are doing or saying are offensive and cross the line. I hope our University and other Universities across the country can learn to integrate and include minorities better.

 

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11/16 Post

After reading Zinn’s chapter, “Unreported Resistance” and listening to the Ezra Klein Show Podcast, I am increasingly interested in the clear divide of our country. I learned a lot of new information, specifically about just how often a large number of citizens and groups have been unhappy with our government over the years. History really does seem to repeat itself. The repetition of leaders of our country going against the majority opinion and taking drastic measures in situations has become increasingly concerning. For example, the national movement against nuclear weapons development was a time when people were very obviously against the cold war and production and development of nuclear weapons and the government really didn’t listen or respond to the protests and demonstrations.

The chapter also extensively talks about the Bush and Reagan presidencies. It is believed that both candidates won their respected elections with flying colors, however this is not the case. In both of these elections, many people didn’t even bother to vote as well as the popular vote was much closer than what was broadcasted on the electoral map. Nonetheless, both of these men were elected and served as presidents and faced a lot of resistance from the people of America. The resistance surprised me, but also made me happy that people at this time were sticking up for themselves and what they believe in. I hope today we can learn from our countries previous mistakes and become more of a democracy. America needs to learn how to make decisions that will truly benefit the people. 

 

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carly 11/9 post

It is so easy for people to hear the words “anti-drugs” or “banning drugs” and immediately believe whatever the message or ruling is, it is a good one. However, for so many low income people and in particular, people of color the war on drugs has been devastating. White privilege is something that is incredibly relevant today, and has been around for many hundreds of years. Unfortunately, racial biases are at an all time high when it comes to drug possession and drug use. Hispanics and blacks are 3x more likely to be searched while they are in their vehicles than whites. While this does not surprise me, because of how corrupt the system is, this saddens me. Racial biases involving drugs have become way too normalized and it is incredibly unfair. 

While watching the movie Just Mercy, I became incredibly upset. So many people of color are wrongfully convicted or get sentences for crimes that are astronomically different than whites. The racial biases within our systems has been a problem for a very long time, and I truthfully do not know when it will stop. I am increasingly saddened and astonished by the racism that is still so prevalent in not only our country, but in our court systems. One thing that I am interested to see how it plays out is the fact that Oregon just decriminalized all drugs. The disparity between drug laws in all the states is very interesting to me, and I am intrigued to see how this ruling plays out. Overall, this reading and movie left me saddened and discouraged with the way our systems have performed in regards to drug laws and sentencing.

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11/2 Post

Oliver Stone’s “Platoon” does an excellent job of portraying the harsh realities of being a soldier in the Vietnam War. Many of the soldiers didn’t want to go and fight in the first place, so they were already not in a good headspace. Then, once they arrived they had horrible conditions and were essentially harassed and in part dehumanized to endure things that humans should never have to endure. The climate and terrain in Vietnam was something that was incredibly hard to replicate and prepare for. Something that stuck out to me was the fact that the new soldiers that arrived were not properly trained. They were thrown right into the fire often with no instructions. To me, this is completely unfair. Many people didn’t want to be there, but if soldiers had more guidance or help things might have been at least a little better.

Another thing that stuck out to me was the lack of help and response from the government. It is so disheartening to me that Americans can be so against something but have little to no power in what actually ultimately happens. The incredible loss and pain shown in the film is only a small testament as to what these poor soldiers had to see and endure everyday at war. I am upset that the government firstly forced so many people to go fight, but then not give them the resources they deserved to recover from the trauma of war. Overall, this film did a great job of portraying the unimaginable trauma of war and I am deeply saddened that the government and America as a whole did not provide adequate support and resources for the soldiers after all they had to go through. 

 

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Carly 9/26 Post

The Harlem Renaissance time period was one of promise and opportunity for African Americans after so much hardship. By no means was racism elimited, but after the Great Migration where so many blacks moved to the north, they were met with much more opportunity than before. Amongst African Americans who made an impact on the Harlem Renaissance time period was poet Langston Hughes. Hughes was different because he did not sugar coat things. His poems tell it how it is, and he has gained a lot of respect over the years for simply saying things without fear of backlash. 

One poem that really stood out to me was the poem, “I, Too.” In this piece, Hughes emphasizes that even though he is black, he too is still an American and deserves to be treated with the same fairness as other white Americans. The line that stood out to me the most was when he explains, “Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table When company comes. Nobody’ll dare Say to me, “Eat in the kitchen,” Then.” This line makes me happy that even in hard times with so much discrimination and racism, Hughes thinks of a better tomorrow when he is not degraded for being black. Overall, I respect the way Hughes is not afraid to say things without sugar coating it. He was a very brave and well regarded man.

 

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Carly 10/19 Post

Zinn’s chapter, “A people’s War?” as well as the article “World War Two Was Not A Just War,” changed my perspective on the United States involvement and contributions to World War II. I had previously thought and been told that America did a good job in this war and contributed heavily to the freeing and helping of imprisoned Jews in Germany. However, both the chapter and the article proved otherwise. I was also surprised, but by no means shocked to find out that blacks were still treated so unfairly in America during World War II. 

Our country really didn’t advance before, during, or after World War II. War times are times when a country should be all hands on deck in giving the country the best tools and supplies for success. However, Zinn says, “Despite the urgent need for wartime labor, blacks were still being discriminated against for jobs,” and “Roosevelt never did anything to enforce the orders of the Fair Employment Practices Commission he had set up,” (Zinn 415). The fact that even in the country’s biggest times in need, during a World war, people and our own leader couldn’t get over their discriminations and biases, saddens me. Beyond this, proof that America did not advance before, during, or after the war is the 1960s in America. The rebellions in all aspects of life prove that the citizens were incredibly unhappy and felt the need to lash out in any way they could against the government.

 

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Carly 10/11 post

I am incredibly concerned about the fact that our country is not learning from history and repeating mistakes from pandemics in the past. I am particularly concerned that the Covid-19 pandemic has so many parallels to the Spanish Flu that occurred in 1918. Our president, Donald Trump has made a fool of our country. In Trevor Noah’s video, we are shown clips of him making fun of the corona virus constantly and disregarding the hundreds of thousands of deaths in America that have stemmed from the virus. Trump is compared to President Woodrow Wilson in the video because he  is making many of the same mistakes Wilson did while he was president during the Spanish Flu. 

It is incredibly embarrassing that over 100 years later our world is using the same failed technologies that it did in the nineteenth century to fight a deadly flu. You would think that we would have had many more advancements since then. Another cause of concern I have from these sources is that the message of how deadly the virus is, is not conveyed. Our president has downplayed the severity of the virus which has resulted in many people becoming more relaxed with social distancing and mask wearing. Not wearing a mask and distancing yourself from others will certainly bring your chances of exposure to the virus substantially higher. Overall, this video really opened my eyes to how concerning the parallels are between the spanish flu and covid-19 and that we are not learning from our past mistakes to make for a safer and healthier world.

 

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Carly 9/5 Post

There are many stereotypes and negative connotations that come along with the term “immigrant.” However, today immigrants are all around us whether we know it or not. Many immigrants traveled long and far and endured a lot of pain and hardships to get to their new home. I believe it is time we start accepting them and welcoming them into our communities. I respect the way Gloria Anzaldua sticks up for herself and other hispanic immigrants. She states, “if you want to really hurt me, talk badly about my language. Ethnic identity is twin skin to linguistic identity–I am my language. Until I can take pride in my language, I cannot take pride in myself. Until I can accept as legitimate Chicano Texas Spanish, Tex Mex, and all the other languages I speak, I cannot accept the legitimacy of myself.” Language is an important part of someone’s identity, and because of Gloria’s mixed-cultural background she feels that she is judged just for being herself. 

In the two chapters in “How The Other Half Lives” by Jacob Riis, we are given examples from Italian and Chinese immigrants about the way they live as immigrants in the United States. They endure so many stereotypes and harsh living conditions just because of their immigrant status. I believe these negative connotations of immigrants have direct correlation to imperialism. Americans look at themselves as far more superior than others no matter where they come from. The fact that immigration into America has only gotten harder and more complex over time proves that Americans feel that they are simply better than other ethnicities and don’t want to accept change. Personally, I believe Americans need to accept change and be more inviting to other perspectives and cultures because it could certainly have a positive effect on our country.

 

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Carly 9/27 Post

After reading chapter 9, Slavery Without Submission, Emancipation Without Freedom and watching the The American Civil War by Oversimplified, I am again overwheled with new facts and ideas about the Civil War and this time period in American history that I was not aware of previously. For starters, slave revolts were not as common as they were in other countries. Rebellion of slaves was also rare. This was very surprising to me because as I learned in the podcast, about 13% of the population in this time were enslaved, and it only takes about 5-10% of a population to create a rebellion. I truly believe things would have been a lot different if the slave population came together as one and revolted. Nonetheless, a war began regardless of the fact it was not initiated by the slaves. 

One quote really stuck out to me from this chapter. Zinn states, “Such a national government would never accept an end to slavery by rebellion. It would end slavery only under conditions controlled by whites, and only when required by the political and economic needs of the business elites of the North,” (Zinn 187). This idea really didn’t sit well with me. The fact that the only way for our country to abolish slavery was solely up to when rich whites felt like making a difference and was not based on the hardships of the enslaved is sad to me. The Civil War was truly the only way to solve this huge division in our country. I was unaware of how deadly the war was. 600,000 soldiers died on each side. This war had a positive effect for African Americans for a short time period. I did not know that there was a time when in the South blacks could vote, be elected into state legislators, and there were racially mixed public schools. As we all know, this time did not last long, but I did not know that this time even existed at all. Overall, these resources introduced to me yet again, there is a lot more in history and during the civil war time period that I was unaware of.

 

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Carly 9/20 Blog Post

It is not surprising to me that women have been fighting for so long for their basic rights and recognition for all that they do. Women have never gotten the credit they deserve and it is crazy for me to think that this fact stems from the way women were viewed in society so long ago in the middle ages. In the book, Zinn compares the treatment of women to the treatment of slaves. Both groups were seen as inferior on so many levels, and were often sexually abused. It saddens me how much oppression women and slaves had to endure during these times in history. 

The fact that in these times men took credit for all the many accomplishments women achieved deeply upsets me. Women are not objects, but they have been treated as such since the early days of existence, and in some cases still today. Women in these times first belonged to their fathers, and then when they got married they belonged to their husbands. Beyond this, “Besides absolute possession of his wife’s personal property and a life estate in her lands, the husband took any other income that might be hers. He collected wages earned by her labor…” (Zinn 107). Despite this, I am proud that so many women stood up for themselves throughout history, and fought for their rights. Women such as Anne Bradstreet and Phillis Wheatley will forever be remembered for courageously sticking up for themselves and other women through their poetry.

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Carly 9/13 Post

The American Revolution was a time when all Americans came together as one and fought and won their freedom and independence from Britain. Or so I thought. In Howard Zinn’s “A Kind of Revolution” I learned that this was not entirely the case. This war, like the majority of things in this time period was for the benefit of the elite. That had ulterior motives and wanted to gain more power and wealth from this Revolution. The Revolution was yet another example of the rich exploiting the poor. 

The poor were actually the reason for the success of the revolution. Shy says, “Revolutionary America may have been a middle-class society, happier and more prosperous than any other in its time, but it contained a large and growing number of fairly poor people, and many of them did much of the actual fighting and suffering between 1775 and 1783,” (page 79). The poor do not get the credit they deserve and the war was a hoax. It was not the people coming together for one common goal, it was the rich again taking advantage of their power and making the poor do the dirty work for their benefit.

 

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9/6 Post Carly Cohen

The three readings and podcast four really opened my eyes to how many memories are associated with food and how much food affects our culture. For me personally, food is in the center of everything. It is part of my identity and makes up my personal culture. I base when I do things around where and when I am eating, and a lot of important moments and accomplishments have been celebrated with food. All of my memories that involve food are happy ones. For many people this is also the case, but for some it is the opposite.  

Unfortunately, due to slavery and the kidnapping of African Americans during early times, it is hard for many blacks to trace back there ancestory. However, through food, oftentimes they feel a connection to their families and culture. In the reading No More Whistling Walk For Me we learn that, “today’s American food culture is a contested landscape in search of values, new direction, and its own indigenous sense of rightness and self-worth.” (page 6). This stands out to me because I am happy to hear that food for so many people is much more than what is on the plate. It stands for culture, happiness, values, and so much more. Food is also a significant part of history and has been shaped and advanced to become what it is today. I find it very special the way food can bring so many different people together to create memories that will last a lifetime. 

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Carly Cohen 8/30 Post

The first chapter of Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History Of The United States” really caught me by surprise. For all of my life I was told how great of an explorer and person Christopher Columbus was, and reading that this was actually not true really shocked me. Knowing that I was told false information for my whole life made me question what else I have been taught that also isn’t true. History is a strange thing and involves a lot of human error. We are told versions of stories that could not actually be the reality of what happened. This chapter showed me that I was intentionally told the incorrect version of Christopher Columbus’s story. 

In the reading I learned the harsh realities of what Columbus did. He held thousands of Indians hostage and enslaved and raped them. One tribe in particular, the Arawaks were really affected by the actions of Christopher Columbus. They were entirely wiped out, “none of the original Arawaks or their descendants [were] left on the island.” (Page 5).  This opened my eyes to the fact that Columbus was not as good of a man as I once believed. We are not told the full story about the way Columbus acted because the version we hear in grade school is short and sweet. It gives us false hope that our country was founded in a peaceful and comforting way, so we have a false sense of security in the place we live.

 

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