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BlogPost 11/30 Dear White People

Dear White People, by Justin Simien, is particularly important for this time period in history and for this time in our lives as we see college students’ intersecting lives filled with racial hypocrisy, institutionalized injustice, and emotional struggle presented in a perspective that forces the audience to think, without being directly combative or confrontational. This type of perspective is unique and a particular way to present these issues like racial reassurance, racial “proving”, intense appropriation, and overall frustration as permissive observation is typically how one, anyone, sees these issues in real life. Even if you have perpetrated racist actions or speech, or have been on the receiving end of a racist threat, this movie does not assume your past or perspectives and instead places you into the worlds of Sam White, Troy Fairbanks, Coco Conners, and Lionel Higgins, and allows you to witness a turning point at Winchester University. This type of movie angel is hard to pull off, but allows the viewer to see what actions caused more hardship, and what benefited the University, friendships, relationships, or individuals, in the end, and therefore hopefully creating change in the literal world. I think this type of perspective is purposefully juxtaposed by the perspective brought up by the reality-TV show producer, who is talking to and working with Coco for the majority of the film, who explains towards the end of the film that America can better sell Black Americans having stupid fights about insignificant topics rather than address issues like the cultural landscape at Universities right now. I think this stark contrast between media representation of racial issues and significant problems in higher learning education is the reason movies like Dear White People are created: to present significant outward racism and oppressive systems to a wider audience in order to demonstrate reality, and potentially as a form for the audience to change their realities. 

One journey that is particularly powerful is Sam White, who is the voice of the radio and internet show “Dear White People” that points out her school’s culture, students’ hypocrisies, and societies rules about “racial interaction” with others or with stereotypes (ie. the tip test). Sam throughout the film struggles with her identity as she feels she must overcompensate through her black activism as she has a white father. She begins a path of acceptance and has a developing relationship with Gabe Mitchel who is white, which reminded me of Cassius Green’s relationship with Detroit in Sorry to Bother You. Both movies utilize humor to address systemic racial issues and discrimination, and both Sam and Cash begin to learn how to balance their seemingly opposing identities.

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Charley Blount Blog Post (11/30)

Dear White People offers a bleak, and largely dramatized, image of reality in a country divided on the issue of race. While the issues revolving race, segregation, and cultural appropriation in elite college institutions are very real, this movie ignores any nuance and subtlety surrounding the issues, thus delegitimizing the problems are fueling the arguments of skeptics who believe that racism is dead. Certain parts of this movie create necessary discussion that needs to be central to any conversations involving progress in America. 

For example, when she is leaving her film studies class, Sam references the commodification of black people in culture, specifically hip-hop and film. She argues that black people are incentivized to perpetuate stereotypes that are counterproductive to the advancement of black people in order to profit from a largely white fanbase. While these adverse incentives are notable and problematic, scenes like this one are overshadowed by examples of overt racism that are not nearly as prevalent as this movie would make them seem. In this sense, the perverse incentives that this movie criticizes are exactly what the producers are feeding in to. Dear White People exaggerates culturally controversial issues in order to drive box office ratings. Their attempts to condemn racism and racial inequities are overshadowed by an overt attempt to grow their profits.

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Demaret Blog Post for 11/30

Dear White People was a phenomenal movie on race relations at a predominantly white institution. It was deeply relevant to us given Richmond’s widespread problem of social and educational segregation, so the discomfort it invokes is really important in terms of our own reflection on our experience moving forwards. What I found most interesting about the movie was the ability of the plot to explore so many different identity struggles among the characters. Every character is wildly different, yet still trying to navigate the same oppressive framework. This is where the issue of intersectionality becomes cinematically inevitable; each student has a part of their identity that holds them to a societal standard that limits their movements in the campus life structure. 

Lionel, for example, faces an extremely oppressed identity as a gay Black man- it is clear that when the housing is structured so categorically, he is left without a single place to fit in. While almost no character fits in perfectly with their surroundings, Lionel deals with a level of harassment and excommunication that is hard to watch. He confronted the truth that his marginalization was hard to avoid in the setting, but it was still extremely lonely for him. He was not just gay nor Black, there are a million things that made up his identity and yet his choices of living situations left him stuck between multiple bad options. 

I believe the debate over housing in the film was partly a commentary (there are a ton of discussions to be had on just one plot point) on the implications of intersectionality and identity. The houses were so categorized that almost no one fit in perfectly, and while a sense of community was clearly found, there was never a house that didn’t cause a certain level of marginalization. Garmin may have had the most glaringly violent exclusionary identity, but even Armstrong-Parker struggled with perfect inclusivity. All this is to say that the framework of the university was not built for inclusivity, even worse, the last scene proved it was maintaining oppression-for-profit as the status-quo. I would recommend Dear White People to anyone looking for discussion on race relations at a PWI, because there are so many nuances and views in the film to unpack and discuss. 

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Blog Post 11/18

Sorry to Bother You was horrifying to watch. Cassius’ “white voice” seems almost funny at the beginning of the movie. He puts on a little act to succeed, that’s something almost everyone can relate to in some way or another. But this is obviously wrong. The audience realizes it, Detroit realizes it, the other workers realize it and even the protestors realize it. Cassius, himself, doesn’t realize it, however, until the party. The party was just plain disturbing. From the rapping to the ‘bathroom’ scene, I was incredibly uncomfortable. It only gets worse from there. The riot was terrifying, and the end was the cherry on top. 

 

What was most terrifying about the film, however, was how it parallels reality. Yes, it takes place in an almost alternate universe, but it reflects the social situation we live in today. It is sad that Black people have to disguise their own culture and characteristics just to make it in a predominantly white world. That shouldn’t have to happen. The strongest people are not the ones mutated into horses, they’re the ones that stay true to themselves and their culture, despite the pressures of society.

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Blogpost 13 (11/18)

In The Coming Revolt of the Guard, Zinn talks about the issue of the division between the wealthy and the poor and the different classes which we also see in the movie Sorry to Bother You. The United States as a nation is extremely divided where it has a majority of middle and low-class people who are exploited most. If these people do not see an issue with the system and stand up against it, instead of fighting each other, the system will not change. 

In the movie, we see how the middle working class felt exploited and protested to fight the wealthy in order to gain money to live their lives normally and not have to struggle in order to survive. I think this is where the media plays an important role in highlighting the issues with the class. We see how cash wanted to get money for himself at first and betrayed his friends and then when he realized how inhumane the company exploited people of lower class he decided to stand up against them, however, fails to achieve that as a single individual. This relates to what Zinn mentioned about the country being created by the leaders and founding fathers exploiting the poor and black people. It is fascinating to see how these issues of class, wealth, and colorism still exist until this day and there is so little done by the middle class to show dissatisfaction with the controlling system.

The movie ending implies that middle or lower class people will always be inferior to the wealthy and will lose no matter how much they try to make a change. These revolts are really important as they are the only way for society to achieve equality.

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BlogPost 11/17/20

Zinn describes in this chapter, The Coming Revolt of the Guard, an idealization of the results of revolution for those not represented yet in America, based on glimpses of historical revolution in the past. He described the increasing divide between the wealthy and the poor in the United States and explained that this country was created with so many natural resources, talent, wealth, and labor power, that it can afford to give up a little bit of freedom to those dissenting or not pleased. He also stated that this nation was created with the sole intent of keeping 99% of the population down and against each other, which is partly true. Infighting is the main way to keep people distracted from their real issues and grievances, like safety, health, housing, poverty, food, but I do not think this entire government structure of the United States was created with this intent, but instead has transformed itself into a distraction as a result of the intervention of external influences. Zinn also agrees from his beginning chapter’s that the Founding Fathers, although they had immense wealth and racist attitudes, developed the colonies into the states that they are today, which was the start (or end, depending on how one views it) of their own revolution. What began the delusion is the intervention of American businesses and international influences into American policies, but I think Zinn would argue that the very structure of almost any government in the world should expect revolution as they are based on an unequal structure rather than “false socialism”. 

History and media should show everyone who is making small rebellion actions every day, and large actions too, as it would allow people to see that they can make change. Histories understate revolts because they do not occur often, but they should continue to highlight the importance of revolt as a means for change, but not forget to overemphasize statesmanship as it is what we rely on for everyday function. Statesmanship includes, but is not limited to, voting for representation, caring for your neighbor, participating in your community, participating in understanding, and more. Statesmanship is not a requirement but is a commitment to improving the country through smaller victories, as these tasks can be arduous at times, which is a continuous protest to the brutality of the state of the human condition.

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Blog Post for 11/18

In both Zinn’s chapter, “The coming revolt of the guards” and the movie Sorry to Bother You, we see division through class and wealth. Zinn discusses how divided we are as a country. He discusses the majority being middle and lower class Americans, and brings up the idea that if our country wants to see change, it is up to them. The tone Zinn has here is definitely more hopeful than he has been in previous chapters. He believes that if the middle class listens to him and acts, there might be change towards equal power.

The movie provides a lens into unequal power between classes. The movie shows lower and middle class citizens using the power they have to make change through protests. I think one thing that stood out to me was the fact that it was all about making money for the people protesting. I felt that Cash really cared about making money for himself, and he was able to move up in his job when he learned to talk in a “white voice.” After movie up, he is introduced to a customer of the company, who holds “horsemen” as slaves. When Cash first tries to fix these problems, he fails alone. At the end of the movie, there is a crowd of people a the protest, and he was able to lead change. I think this reflects Zinn’s point in that the middle class has the power to bring other classes together.

What I didn’t understand was the very ending, and maybe that’s because most movies have happy endings, but I didn’t understand what the meaning of Cash becoming a horseman was.

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Blog Post 11/18

In “The Coming Revolt of the Guards” Zinn talks about how the elite oppress the ordinary people.  Writing, “All those histories of this country centered on the Founding Fathers and the Presidents weigh oppressively on the capacity of the ordinary citizen to act.”  The Founding Fathers of course being elites themselves wanted to make sure that they were able to control the common man.  That’s why only the rich white landowners had voting rights back then.  Now however, the elite displays their control in different ways, “One percent of the nation owns A third of the wealth. The rest of the wealth is distributed in such a way as to turn those in the 99 percent against one another: small property owners against the propertyless, black against white, native-born against foreign-born, intellectuals and professionals against the uneducated and unskilled.”  The elite want to put the rest of the United States against each other for their own gain, and that’s not right.  

Zinn says that there is a growing dissension in the 99 percent, and that it isn’t just the poor people.  However, “Now alienation has spread upward into families above the poverty line. These are white workers, neither rich nor poor, but angry over economic insecurity, unhappy with their work, worried about their neighborhoods.”  This dissension doesn’t bode well for the establishment because they just want to keep the normal.  The establishment doesn’t want the rest of the people to focus on them, but they want to keep the rest of the people fighting amongst themselves.  This is because they are able to keep their power when there are disputes amongst the rest of the people.  

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Blog for 11/18- Isa Keetley

Zinn’s chapter “The Coming Revolt of the Guards” brought what he’s been saying throughout the book together in one cohesive chapter. He focuses on the commonality of the 99% of the population; the people in the middle and lower classes. Zinn writes, “…the Establishment cannot survive without the obedience and loyalty of millions of people who are given small rewards to keep the system going…they become the guards of the system, buffers between the upper and lower classes. If they stop obeying the system falls” (635). He states that the middle class is the buffer between the upper and lower classes, however if the middle class revolts and refuses to do these things just for the benefit of the upper, they can redefine the system and take some power away from the upper class. I think Zinn did a really good job of explaining the importance of the middle class and the clear discontent of the majority of people with the system in this chapter.

I enjoyed the prisoner and guard analogy Zinn used, for the lower and middle classes. I feel like this idea that the middle class is bridge between all the classes is often considered, however no one has called them the “guards”. I think another important point that he makes is that in times of crisis we often look to someone else to save us. This savior ideology only worsens our condition and Zinn explains some of the detrimental effects this really has. Overall, I enjoy how Zinn focuses on the other half of history, the history that many textbooks don’t talk about. This chapter specifically talks about the 99%, the common people and the power they have through unity over the other 1%. History should be respectful of resistance, and Zinn continues to reiterate this message through his book.

Also, in regards to the film, I do not have much to say. I really did not enjoy it, as I had a difficult time figuring out what I was supposed to take away from it. I found the horse people particularly disturbing and would not recommend the movie to a friend.

 

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Blog Post 11/16

Throughout Zinn we have learned about several systematic flaws within America. Examples of these systematic divisions include race, ethnicity, culture, and class. In both this weeks chapter of Zinn and the movie Sorry to Bother You we see the role that class division in American plays in the grand scheme of our national shortcoming. Class is something I think most Americans oversee. For me, I always thought that classes made sense. After all we do live in a capitalist country. I believed that meant we would naturally see large wealth gaps throughout different socio-economic backgrounds. What I realize now is that I severely underestimated how disproportionate and powerful the role of classes within America played on the quality of life for millions of Americans. Zinn goes as far to say that the division within classes might potentially be the most important and concerning of all systematic division within America. 

What role do we as Americans play in this division? What can I do as one citizen to make a difference? Do I rely solely on my vote to try and put leaders in power that have an agenda to tackle this national concern? I’m not sure. I feel like so often Zinn leaves me feeling educated and enlightened, but also kind of sad. The roots that this country was founded on have created a society that is not equal. And that is something I never thought could be true.

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11/18

All about the money. Paying the bills and just making it through… until you are making enough money life changes. During the movie, we see right away after the main character, Cassius, becomes a power caller he has a new way of thinking. His white-person voice and it is all about JUST him making the money. He becomes the “big shot” and is worried about him and his money he will be making. In the span of 24 hours, he is suggesting that well my problems are the only problems that matter. In a way, I feel as if we still see this today in some people—people with a lot of money only worry about themselves and their problems. Of course, this is not all peoples with money, but sometimes the ones we hear about are the snotty, stuck-up,  show-offs of people.  Cassius suggests, “my success has nothing to do with you” (47:30). Right there that is the issue. No one person can do anything alone. It takes a team and more than one person to achieve in this world. Cassius’ desk mate is one of the main reasons that he is promoted—he is able to give Cassius advice on how to make it through in that job. This world is crazy and will continue to be crazy. I believe that the issue we have as humans is that we want to take all of the credit for ourselves and give no credit to those who have helped us along the way. We tend to see selfishness when it comes to money more so than anything. Once the money starts rolling in the personality and creditability of a person also have a shift.

 

Along with the Zinn chapter, America is extremely divided and probably will always be. The division comes along with money. Money creates this notion of power and makes people believe they are more important than other if they make more figures than others—more important and seem smarter because they have the money.

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Bringing it Together

Since the opening chapter of A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn asserts that class, not race or gender, is the most important division in American history. He starts by outlining the long-lasting impacts of indentured servitude and slavery on individuals’ socioeconomic class. By the time he reaches the Civil War he explains how different classes felt different ranges of emotion about the war. In the later chapters he views domestic favor for World War Two and the Vietnam War through the context of class structure. Finally, in today’s chapter, he brings it all together. Class is important to American history and, therefore, society because it is the middle and lower classes that must understand that they — not great figures — who must enact change in history. Even though Zinn admits that the US economic and political system allows the upper classes to manipulate the lower classes to be content with the current reality, he encourages the current lower classes to recognize their ability to make change.

 

In a similar way, the movie Sorry to Bother You encourages the middle and lower classes to recognize their agency. When Cash Green takes a job at a telemarketing company, he is just looking for a way to make some money and help his friends out of a bad economic situation. However, he quickly is promoted up the corporate chain and learns of a plot by one of the company’s customers to control their workers through a class of half-human slaves. In the same way that Zinn recognizes, change is difficult and takes persistence. The first time Cash tries to make change he fails; however, once he gets a whole class of people to revolt at the end, he is effective at getting back at the boss of WorryFree.

 

Looking at today, the movie and chapter’s message seem to be ringing true. After the killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Taylor, and too many other people of color, it was the people as a collective — not some great figure — that stood up and demanded change. I think that the impact of this can be seen in the election of Joe Biden. While Biden has been elected to lead the country forward as its leader, he did not win election through an impressive amount of appearances and speeches. In fact, the opposite occurred. The fact that Joe Biden could win the Presidency on the backs of popular leadership shows that a changing of guard could indeed affect change.

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Elina Bhagwat Blog Post 11/18

Zinn’s chapter “The Coming Revolt of the Guards” mentioned several points that are extremely relevant to today’s political climate that I found very interesting. The first idea mentioned is that the Founding Fathers and extreme presidential power prevents the common person from acting and involving themselves in politics. This can be seen by looking at the role of political elites in the nation and how difficult it is for people in minority or not elite categories to have a voice in politics. Zinn stated that while we have elections, the majority of them have been deciding between which white, politically elite man do we want to run our country. This worry about elite control, especially the economically elite, is seen in Madison’s Federalist Paper 10. Madison’s main concern is that majority factions will have the most power in a government and this should be avoided. Zinn feels as though this concern has not been addressed and we are still struggling with giving the common person a voice in political affairs. He asserts that the Preamble pretends that the government stands for all people, but in reality it’s just the elites that benefit from having a voice.

What I found really interesting was Zinn’s mention of the different dichotomies that construct the United States. He talks about “small property owners against the propertyless, black against white, native-born against foreign-born, intellectuals and professionals against the uneducated and unskilled” (Zinn 632). Zinn marks the root of these divisions as the 99% of people that don’t make up the third of wealth needing to compete with each other. At the end of the chapter, Zinn brings up these dichotomies again, but with the idea that we could bridge this gap in the future so long as we create “friendly communities” and a “nonviolent culture” that will allow all different forms of expression to coexist (Zinn 639). He says that in time this is possible, but I question this claim because we have already been working towards this for such a long time without much success. Especially with the middle class as a sort of buffer that Zinn mentions, it’s difficult to imagine a peaceful bridge between upper and lower classes without competition and some form of disobedience. I also think it’s really interesting how Zinn claims that factors such as alcoholism, drug abuse, divorce, and mental illnesses are all signs of discontent with the government. I’ve never really seen someone attribute all of these issues to the poor performance of the government in addressing the people’s needs, but after reading this I definitely see this as being a possibility. I don’t think we can completely blame the government for these issues, but when basic needs aren’t addressed by the government, it is their responsibility to listen to the people and address them.

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11/18 The Coming Revolt of the Guards

“Certain basic things would be abundant enough to be taken out of the money system and be available-free- to everyone: food, housing, healthcare, education, transportation.” P. 639

Zinn’s imagined future exists around the principle that the inalienable rights people supposedly have should be more wide ranging than simply life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. He is arguing that people additionally maintain the right to things more practical and less philosophical like “food”. I agree with Zinn’s assessment that the overall quality of life would massively increase if the United States adopted these as their basic principles. As nice as I believe Zinn’s hypothetical world would be, I don’t know if the 99% could ever organize well enough to make such a transition possible. As I read Zinn’s writings, I do question how much of the establishments repression of the bottom 99% is maliciously done in comparison to how much of it just naturally developed throughout history. Undoubtedly, what Zinn is suggesting would require adopting many more socialist policies in the United States. Due to the massive amounts of anti-socialist propaganda spread during the Cold War, such a large scale change would require a massive shift in public opinion. The American public would need to be educated about the reality of socialism to the point where the conditioning that occurred during the Cold War could be undone. Zinn using the metaphor of the middle class being the guards to the lower classes’ prison was spot on in the way it depicts why it is so difficult to rise from poverty. In some ways, the guards are so afraid of becoming prisoners themselves that they fight to desperately hold their own position in the economic hierarchy. The defensive position the middle class find themselves in makes it harder for them to worry about and attempt to fix the issues of the poor as they in constant fear of their own taxes being raised. Zinn’s dream world relies on the fact that the cutthroat atmosphere between those in the 99% is beginning to disappear. Hopefully class consciousness will continue to grow in the US and we as a whole will start to move towards Zinn’s ideal world as it would improve the quality of living for the majority of Americans. I am optimistic that we will eventually reach Zinn’s ideal, as it seems that society constantly moves in the progressive direction, but I am not sure of how long such changes may take.

 

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Post 11/18

Zinn uses this chapter to provide a sort of inspiration for the middle class of America.  He describes the distribution of power currently held by American elites, but he provides hope that this can change.  Zinn acknowledges that revolutions often do not work, but that does not stop him from making middle class Americans fed up with the current system.  The American Elites hold their power by inciting violence into the middle class to keep the pressure and flaws at the bottom of the class structure.  Zinn shows that people have been incapable of flipping the script, because of the lack of unity in the lower classes.  I can not see Zinn’s radical proposal working.  It would require such unity that I feel is unachievable in the near future.  I love the perspective and hope Zinn provides for the rest of us, but I cannot see a full revolution of the punishment system to be in the near future. 

That being said, I am hopeful for the future of the country.  America is extremely divided right now, but I think change is coming.  The pandemic and progressive movements within the United States are beginning to bring people together and limit the influence of American Elites.  I feel that politically we are far from united, but people are beginning to see that we are all in this together.  Joe Biden will continue to make this his goal, and I have faith in the American people.  I do not believe in the utopia that Zinn proposes, because of the high expectations he is putting in all American people, but if we can meet in the middle with where we are now and where Zinn wants to take us, I believe in the future of the country.  Zinn even acknowledges his plan is next to impossible, but if we can use the flaws of our past to guide our future I genuinely believe an alternate sort of utopia can be found.  People are far from perfect, and everyone will continue to make mistakes, but if the leaders of our country and the people following them can use this book to see the past to guide decision making, then a better future is there.  America is a young nation that has made so many mistakes, and this historical book is essentially a guide through the years of failures.  Failures that will create a better future in America and the rest of the world.

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Blog Post – 11/18

In this Zinn chapter, he acknowledges that his book has been biased and focused on anti-government arguments. He is not ashamed of this given the fact that most of the accounts of our history don’t focus on the revolts by people and instead on moments of our government’s “greatness”. It is impossible to get an unbiased account of America’s history, so reading multiple perspectives is imperative to understanding the bigger picture. Reading different perspectives has made me realize I don’t have to agree with everything the author is saying, but I can take it with a grain of salt and understand where their argument is coming from. Collecting all of this knowledge allows me to create my own opinion of how I think America’s history truly happened.

This particular chapter seemed like a call to action. Zinn emphasizes that the middle-class who are secure in their jobs but still slightly oppressed by the government are the guards of the capitalist system. They are just content enough to not revolt with the rest of the lower-class population but do not benefit nearly as much as the wealthy 1%, so they have a reason to revolt. Zinn wishes for the middle class to come out of their comfort zone and join with the lower class who they share more commonalities than differences. I can see the benefit of this type of movement, but how possible is it? What is it going to take to change the mindset of these middle-class workers, when they have stayed guards for the system for hundreds of years? It seems that drastic change is going to take years to implement, so how do we inspire Americans to put in the grunt work and take those risks for a greater future?

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Blog Post for 11/18

In this chapter of Zinn, I was left with a pretty negative feeling about our history. Zinn describes the horrors of our history that he has highlighted throughout the book. He mentions the divide in the country between all peoples. He says “one percent of the nation owns a third of the wealth” (623). This staggering data is not only shocking but saddening. Thinking about how this one percent of the US population has run the country for so long, controlling every narrative and painting a picture of the US, when that is not the reality is disturbing. Zinn also mentions how the elites’ attempt to create a perfect America has never worked, as we see through every event in history when there has always been a group of people greatly suppressed. The better part of the US is how there has never been a time when The Establishment has been able to stop people from revolting, and voicing their protests. So much of our history is occupied by some kind of rebellion, which I believe is crucial to our advancement and continued effort in more equality. The government and the top elites hold so much power, but we’ve seen through history that their methods don’t always work and the other 99 percent also need to keep trying to rebel when necessary.

Zinn’s description of how to create a kind of America opposite from our history, a perfect world, a utopia of sorts, seems  nearly impossible with the way we have seen history play out. Creating a society in which all had equal power, without a centralized bureaucracy, and nonviolent culture seems like something to never happen. While this is certainly an ideal, it may take a very long time for a world like that to be created. But, it would be interesting to see how many people would actually want a world like that. The top one percent may want to stay the most powerful, at the expense of others. I think it’s important to keep trying to unify the country more, although it’s something that could take a long time and may still not be perfect.

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Blog Post 11/18

The Zinn chapter and the satirical film Sorry to Bother You both left me in kind of a dystopian yet inspired or hopeful mindset about the future of the United States.

The film used bizarre and insanely creative ways to satire capitalism and the media and I thought the uncomfortableness of the film really sold all of the director’s points. One thing that struck me was when Cassius’ head wound from the protest would not stop bleeding no matter how much time passed or how much money he made. It made me think that although capitalism made Cassius economically comfortable, it still did not make him physically or even mentally comfortable, at ease, or even happy. I thought this betrayal of his friends and the working class was further evident when the police had to escort the higher paid telemarketers through the picket line. This reminded me of the earlier chapters in Zinns book when he says the elites try to pin the middle and lower classes against one another in order to keep their power and money. However, Cassius ultimately realizes that what he is doing is wrong, which Detroit points out only occured when something bad happened to him. I think this is a central explanation of why people start getting involved with social or political movements- because their own security or livelihoods are at stake. If we left it up to altruisim or the good of people’s hearts then little to no social or economic reforms would be enacted. From a logistical standpoint, not necessarily a moral one, our society is reaching an inflection point where change needs to occur and the social problems are trickling up in society.

This last point kind of touches on what Zinn talked about in his chapter “The Coming Revolt of the Guards”, which is that our nation is so interconnected and we are living in an era of proximity such that the misfortune of the poor is trickling up to the middle and eventually the upper classes. This is making the middle class wake up to these systematic injustices and persuading these “guards”, which are the buffers between the elites and the poor, to join the fight that the poor and minorities have been fighting for centuries. America is currently engaging in an unsustainable path of capitalism that can no longer be clouded or distracted by foreign conflict. I actually feel somewhat hopeful for America after watching Sorry to Bother You and reading the Zinn chapter because I feel as if our nation will come out of this era of polarization and try to rebuild the very foundation our nation was started upon.

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Blog Post 11/16

In Zinn’s chapter “The Coming Revolt of the Guards”, he discusses the purpose of his book and how he wants to tell the submerged story of “the people”. The wealth in the United States is distributed in ways that turns the majority of the population against each other. While this creates conflict, it also creates a common interest that is often ignored or prevented by the government. Zinn discusses how the foundations of this country have been fake and give citizens the hope that the government stands for everyone, when in reality it does not. The government must preach and ensure national unity in order to keep control but there has been growing feelings of uneasiness that have caused the people to question the true motives of the Establishment. I thought a very interesting point of the chapter was how the Establishment tries to make people forget that those who are seen as helpless or unimportant are actually very capable of resisting and creating change. This has been seen throughout the history of revolts and victories that show that power is not limited to the people at the top. 

Zinn ends his chapter on an optimistic note saying, “The elite’s weapons, money, control of information would be useless in the face of a determined population” (640). He talks about how Americans are ready for a radical change and this has been shown through the growing discontent with the current system. There are high rates of crime, large wealth disparities, and declining health that has been convincing people that change needs to happen. This class has shown a history of corruption and inequity from the American government that has affected the people and society. I do believe that a change is needed in this country and is possible if everyone is able to come together.

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Blog Post 11/18/20

Zinn begins his chapter, “The Coming Revolt of the Guards” by acknowledging that his book is, “a biased account, one that leans in a certain direction” (645). Zinn’s admission of a bias towards a history he desires to capture is vital. It is extremely important, especially at the end of reading a book, article, poem, news papers etc. that one questions the bias and limitations of that work. This informs what was learned as well as what is missing. Zinn also claims that he does not mind that his work is biased because there are so many works biased in the other direction.

In this chapter Zinn wraps up everything we has previously read. He discusses his opposition to the government and the fake patriotism born to control the majority of the population. Calling the constitution and revolution a “scheme” so that the wealthy elite white men could do as they please and control society. Zinn points out for how most of American history the elite worked so , “that the 99 percent remain split in countless ways, and turn against one another” (648). But the people were not always fooled into submission, “Every time it looked as if it had succeeded, the very people it thought seduced or subdued, stirred and rose” (648). Throughout this book and chapter Zinn highlights what happens when minority groups and the majority of the American population come together to fight for what is right. Discontent for and distrust of the government among the American people is evident.

There is hope. When the people revolt together, “The elite’s weapons, money, control of information would be useless in the face of a determined population” (654). This chapter left me feelings optimistic. Throughout this course we have spent a lot of time discusses all of the injustices faced by the American people/other peoples at the hand of the American government. However, I believe that if we become less polarized and united together I feel that our country could do a lot of good and improve lives. What more will it take to united the country in a time where it feels so divided? Is our polarization a result of government actions in order to maintain power?

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