Monday, March 9, 2009

Product of your environment

Today I thought about people that I surround myself by and how they share the same goals, aspirations, and qualities as me. I guess the law of attraction is as accurate as they say it is. For some reason people who are like minded gravitate towards each other. I do not know if its because a particular group of people find a comfort zone with each other or if its because that cluster of people are more driven and focused by surrounding themselves with the same type of people. Every group has a stamp of generalization branded upon them. By this I mean a label that is convenient and adheres to the laws of social psychology. A prime example of this is when a group of people who are deeply religious travel together some people might call them the "church folk" or when a group of really smart kids travel in packs they call them the "nerds". These are classifications that distinguish different groups based upon the alignment of common ideologies.

It seems so cliche but its true, the people who you surround yourself with define who you are and vice versa. People's attributes rub off on you. For example if you surround yourself by intelligent people the the likelihood of you becoming intelligent is higher. A paradigm of this is in the IV league schools where the rigorous coursework and the competitive atmosphere breeds stellar students. This is not to say that if you do not go to an IV league school you won’t be a stellar student, but you have a greater chance of becoming a top notch student by attending an IVY League school where everybody competes to get the highest grade! Thus the high graduation rate at prestigious schools. On the other hand for people who do not value their education the same thing applies. A situation that personifies this concept is one where all your friends drop out of high school then you will be more likely to drop out of high school too. A result of this is the high dropout rates in teh inner city public schools. Social psychology theories explain how people are more prone to partake in an activity if everybody else around them is doing the same thing. This can be seen in an activity as simple as an audience clapping. When one person claps another person will stand up to clap and the rest of the audience begins clapping. This is a perfect illustration of how social psychology rules our daily social interactions and our human connection.

This is also seen when you are competing in a sport. For instance if you are a basketball player and you train with Michael Jordan this will make you way better than any other basketball player. Of course you need to have some raw talent the same mentality but training with him will give you an edge on the competition. Or if you train with a wrestler that is better than you, you will have a chance to improve your skills and compete at the highest level possible. Again it comes down to who you choose to be a part of your supporting cast. The same thing goes for negativity and positivity. When you hang out with people that have a negative mindset that attitude will surely permeate your life and influence your thoughts and actions. Positivity works the same way. If you are positive-minded the positivity will work out in your best interest and brighten up your day whenever you are feeling down or gloomy.

This is also seen in everyday things such as people that you associate yourself with repeating your actions or sayings. For example if I frequently use a certain phrase and I spend a lot of time around you, you will naturally start to use that same phrase, it is just human nature and its bound to happen! A scenario where this is seen often is with slang. If I greet my friend with "wassup man" everyday he will most likely start to use the same phrase. The same thing goes for actions and personalities. If I hang out with a person that constantly puts other people down then it is just a matter of time before I will surely repeat this act.

These are my thoughts on how you can become a product of your environment. Some people are able to resist the negative external influences. Some of these are the strongest people mentally; they are able to resist any actions that are not their own and tend to be negative they rather choose to embrace the positive influences! This is Arod signing off until next time!

Rulers and paradoxes.

Yesterday I was watching a special on the Holocaust. They depicted some of that atrocities that occurred during that period in history. Then it was mentioned that there was a rumor that Hitler's grandmother was Jewish and that Hitler was also part Jewish. Whether it is speculation, a rumor, or fact we will never really know. But the thought is bizarre and nebulous. Beyond everything it is extremely paradoxical. This would have depicted how we as humans embody self hatred and try to vehemently reject what we view as flaws. How can you oppress your own people or people that share your blood line? Since Hitler despised and oppressed the Jewish people maybe he didn't want his perceived weakness to be projected by any revelation of his Jewish heritage, so maybe the documents or any remnants of his ethnic history was eradicated before anybody could get their hands on it. He had a tumultuous relationship with his father who was stern and strict himself which could explain his inferiority complex and the voracious desire to be powerful and dominant. But to hypothetically think that he would enslave and kill his own people is self contradictory and shows how much we as humans subconsciously or consciously reject who we are and hate ourselves. It is a true a testament to the phenomenon of paradox that perpetually plagues the human existence.

Moving on to another nefarious dictator who's reign was concurrent with Hitler's is Rafael Trujillo from the Dominican Republic who ironically was born in my parent's hometown of San Cristobal. Trujillo is historically known to have a Haitian grandmother. The stark irony strikes again. He killed an abominable amount of Haitians in his day because he viewed them as inferior and thought they were damaging or polluting the race. Some of his legacy still lingers in DR ( Dominican Republic) as some Dominicans have animosity towards Haitians and vice versa. Here we see that he was trying to reject his Haitian heritage and what better way than to marginalize Haitians and massacre thousands of them. Trujillo was a heartless tyrant who killed anybody who opposed his regime not just Haitians. Before he ordered the killings of Haitians he covered up the fact that he was part Haitian. Trujillo had one of the longest reigns of any dictator and ruled Dominican Republic for 30 years from 1930-1961.

In both these scenarios we can see that both of these men have been afflicted by self hatred and seek out the entity within themselves that they hated the most and persecuted the entity to its fullest extent. But while they were killing the Haitians and Jews they were actually killing themselves. Now that is PARADOX and IRONY in nutshell. This internal conflict is not unique as we see in our everyday lives how people deny their own race or ethnic origin. It is evident in the Black and Latino community where some people hate themselves subconsciously because of the way they are treated! It is also evident in other ethnicities. Is this a plausible theory, you be the judge! This is ARod signing off!

Geographic connection to social class

I was thinking the other day about geographic location of cities and their connection with crime and demographics. I have noticed that the southern areas of most cities are the most poverty stricken areas. The Northern parts are usually the most affluent areas. If the dichotomy is not as polarized the northern and southern areas still tend to be demographically and economically distinct. Maybe it could be a conspiracy where the government or society subconsciously or consciously pigeonholed everybody from the lower economic strata in one area and it always tend to be in the south. Or maybe it just happened to be that way. But this within itself has some powerful symbolism. South represents down. So it can be either interpreted as society regarding these areas as inferior or the people who draw these district lines and set the geographic boundaries trying to keep the population in these "southern areas down".

Lets take the Bronx for example. The Bronx in general but more specifically the southern part of the Bronx in recent history has been the residential area for the black and Latino underclass. It was jaw dropping when I rode the train one day and had an epiphany. I was downtown around 42nd street and as the train's trajectory progressed uptown towards the Bronx more and more Whites and Asians got off the train ad more Blacks and Latinos boarded the train. I was in the awe at how polarized most neighborhoods and boroughs were. New York's segregation has less to do with race and more with social class. I believe the Bronx is the most concentrated borough in terms of the minority population or people of color if you will. This is also the borough with the lowest social class and is home to many blue collar workers. It has been like this since the 60s when the Bronx was in the worse predicament socioeconomically. Plagued by the crack epidemic, low employment rate, high crime rate, and landlords incinerating buildings to collect insurance, it was a city of chaos and turmoil and it was deemed as one of the worst national urban centers crimewise.

If you go to LA the southern part is also the worst part crimewise and it is what would be defined in slang as "the hood". The southern part contains Watts and Compton which are two districts that have highest crime rates in Los Angeles and possibly in the state of California. they also have the lowest income per household which makes sense, since there is a significant trend between crime ad poverty. These two areas are predominantly black and Latino.

Lets go to "Chi-town" Chicago. This city's southern quadrant also has the highest crime rate in the city of Chicago. This area is predominantly Black and also has a low median household income. Atlanta and Philadelphia's southsides are also the most impoverished areas in their respective cities. This is apparent throughout the Unites States not just New York City or Los Angeles. It is a ubiquitous problem.

The property value in these urban centers are also low which explains the poor surrounding schools and lack of resources. Now my question is: was this geographically constructed on purpose to isolate all the poor people in "the southern areas" to signify oppression and avoid the dissemination of the underclass? Or was it just set up like this subconsciously. I will leave that question for you to answer. Until next time this is ARod signing off!