Monday, December 27, 2010

Faith without deeds

Ever since Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights movement, the Christian Church has had limited involvement in any social movement or the community for that matter. I personally find that disgraceful and appalling! The Christian Church is not just a religion or a political figurehead, it is the body of Christ. Meaning we all must work together to spread the good news AND reach out to help our fellow man. Ephesians 2:10, Matthew 25:31-36, and Proverbs 11:24 are just a few verses where this commandment can be found. This is a true testament to the greatest commandment that the Lord gave us which is to love your neighbor as yourself. If you were homeless wouldn't you want someone to offer temporary housing, if you were hungry wouldn't you want people to give you something to eat, if you had no clothes wouldn't you want someone someone to offer you garments, if you didn't have enough money to get on the train wouldn't you want someone to pay for your metro card, if you were struggling with a class wouldn't you want someone to use their God given knowledge to help you prepare for an exam? Brothers and Sisters let us put aside our selfish needs and put ourselves in our fellow kinsmen disposition.

If we all lived this way day by day this world would be a much better place. I am tired of people in Church praising God, singing worship songs, attending prayer meetings, and bible study but not reaching out to help the homeless or to mentor disadvantaged youth! The christian ideals are exemplified the best when you not only allow God to guide your ways but also make an effort to reach out to the community. Ask yourself a question. Are you really living a Christ centered life if you are happy and holy while watching the whole world suffer? What sense is it if everybody in the church is saved but youth in our community are dying of gun violence, parents are affected by the drug epidemic, education is failing, suicide is rampant, and children are starving?

If we live our lives to emulate Christ in his likeness we need to try harder and strive for excellence even if we fall short (which is what God's grace is there for). If we step over a homeless man to go inside church and do not ask if he is hungry or cold then we might as well not go inside the church or not call ourselves "Christians" because a true Christian thinks of others before themselves. If we scoff at drug dealers on the corner but choose to do nothing about it then we are in the same boat as them because we have chosen to accept the situation and remain silent. If we have faith in the Lord that HE will answer our prayers and grant our desires but do not help the next man when his car breaks down then we have have done that to the Lord.

As it says in Matthew 25:40: And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, In as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. If we do not feed the hungry or give money to the poor we have done it to Jesus. Every time we pass by a homeless man and do not care to offer him gloves when it is cold or a drink when he is thirsty then we have failed as Christians. May we have the compassion to help our fellow man and go in peace. Our duty as Christians is to strive to emulate Christ in his likeness. When Jesus walked this earth he healed the sick, helped the less fortunate, fed the hungry and walked with pariahs. Jesus left the world better than he found it! So in order to be the best Christians we can be we must cultivate an environment where love is seen through our acts and not just our words! Let us take up our cross daily and show the world what a true Christian is about!

James 2:20: But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead

Temporary solutions to permanent problems

Today I was thinking about some of the social problems that plague our society and how we attempt to solve them. One of them is drug addiction which we attempt to solve through medical treatment, counseling, and rehab centers. Crime we attempt to solve through law enforcement and the penal system. Teen pregnancy we attempt to solve through abortion clinics, contraceptives, or sex-education. Education disparities we attempt to solve through better schools and more money. The health care system we attempt to solve through granting everybody insurance. Domestic and international political conflicts we attempt to solve through electing better presidents, assuring better diplomacy, making more just legislation and mobilizing NGOS to work in certain countries. The issue of Disadvantaged youth we try to solve by encouragement through mentoring! We attempt to solve world hunger through foreign aid, food drives, and benefit dinners!

All these problems are relevant in today's world! Although we do not have a definite answer to these problems there are individuals who are contributing to the solution. I ask because I participated in programs that have served to help solve the problems. But what the Lord revealed to me today is that all these solutions will only provide a temporary solution or momentary fix! If you receive counseling there is a chance that your condition will improve but it will be nothing compared to the spiritual healing that Christ has to offer. Perhaps prisons will provide an all too familiar temporary fix to crime that just recycles prisoners that continue to get re-incarcerated. The Red cross will help with Health care and relief but mainly during natural disasters. Maybe a loved one you know has cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy which will only provide a temporary solution to such a severe situation.

Amidst all of these social issues, there is one person that will provide an everlasting solution. This person is Jesus and he is the fountain of eternal Hope! As we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and savior and allow him to change our hearts we will overcome the struggles we experience and continue to grow closer to him! When you thirst for Jesus and seek GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART HE will bless you in inexplicable ways (part of pastors sermon today). One of the ways that HE will bless you is by eradicating sin and delivering you from that ungodly desire! Once you drink from the well of eternal life you will thirst no longer. You do not need counseling, psychics, nor money to solve the issue! Jesus Christ is here! GOT ISSUES JESUS CHRIST IS THE ANSWER! HAVE NO FEAR JESUS CHRIST IS HERE!

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Trials II

After the retreat I came back and had to face another pharmacology exam. I hesitated to attend the retreat because of this test, but in the end I chose the retreat and trusted in God! I earned an 86 on the exam which was 2 points short of an A. So close I could feel it! I was pleased with my grade but still knew I could do better, but I also understood that God was with me because I had gone on the retreat and didn't do any actual quality studying but stilled pulled that grade off! I learned that the Lord puts us through the fire to develop our faith perseverance, and devotion. The Lord will also allow us to experience pain or afflict us so that we can grow and/or to get our attention(pastors message I wont take credit for that either way, GLORY TO GOD). I think HE was testing my faith and seeing how badly I wanted him! One of my friends says we are like diamonds because He will put you through the fire to remove all of the impurities and be refined into the person he created us to be.

After the retreat I became a lunatic. I prayed over everybody (whether they wanted to or not)lol! I also handed out track cards to everybody(BASIC INFO CARDS). Furthermore I participated in a BASIC table sitting and I really enjoyed the experience. Often, I connect with teens and adolescents, so I think that the Lord is going to place me in that ministry (youth)! I would stop the undergraduates and some of them would gaze at me with a look of intrigue while others just passed by locked into their own little worlds! Some told me they had heard about BASIC while others have never heard about it but were open to coming to the meeting! I spoke to the youth about my experience in college and why and how I was a lost soul and ultimately how I found Jesus after college. I also mention how my life has been so much more enhanced since the I gave my life to Christ. I told other students that I was imprisoned by the club life, crazy college life and the drinking. I was hopeful that through these experiences I would be able to minister to them. Furthermore, I hoped that this would give me a unique opportunity to establish a genuine connection with the youth! Nevertheless I enjoyed doing this and the blessings it would bring. The semester was trying! Later in the semester I participated in the FEED the 500. This is an event that feeds the homeless in Manhattan! God showed me many things this semester and feed 500 was just one of them. We interacted with many homeless people. Some of them were very faithful and knew about the Lord Jesus but others needed the word of God. However, the Lord showed me that every one of them are God's people and we shouldn't treat them as they are below us. Also I dislike when people disregard homeless people's needs.

Overall God has been teaching me that I am not in control and that I am weak when He is Strong! Even when I want something my desires may not match up with God's will and I may not get what I want at that time!I tried my best to excel and achieved all Bs (which is barely meeting the mark). I became distressed and angry when I saw my grades but I came to my senses and thought to myself I passed and I have a million things to be thankful for and to speak about how the Lord has touched me. I am truly grateful to the Lord Jesus for his undying love and the opportunity to pursue my education at a prominent institution! While other youth from the Bronx did not have the opportunity to pursue education I did! Thank you Lord for choosing me! I know these are just trials to test my perseverance and faith. But even in the bad times we must praise. Thank you Lord for your grace mercy and blessing me with (BASIC) a firm support group rooted in YOUR NAME!



Trials, temptations, inner frustrations, regrets, failed attempts, false hopes, ungranted desires, shortcomings. ANGER, Lord why have you put me through this, I thought you loved me?????????? You are not supposed to treat the people you love like this! What did I do to deserve this? My living situation sucks, no heat and I have been commuting by taxi every day of the semester! Most of my grades suck and I feel like I'm studying in vain! I can not explain half of what has happened to me this semester both good and bad! I don't understand if I am giving God my all why isn't HE reciprocating this action. For most of the semester I felt like I was in the desert lost with no vegetation to eat or deserted at sea with no buoy to keep me afloat. I kept getting disappointment after disappointment. In lieu of adjusting to this new and strange environment and the rigorous academic course work I had a weird living situation which I wont delve into details but lets just say that awkward was an understatement!

Most of my academic career since college has been plagued with self doubt. I have experienced qualms about every semester since my first semester in my undergraduate studies. Every semester was an uphill battle. Somehow I thought Grad. School was going to be different, I was hoping since I had matured from my college days and wasn't the same bright eyed kid you saw in Syracuse, that the tides were going to change in my favor. I earned an A on my first test, which established some sort of wayward confidence and at first I was fooled, the direction of the wind was in unison with the boat and I was smooth sailing! However, shortly after, the tides became turbulent and I was quickly thrown off course! I earned a C on my Pharmacology exam! Oh no I cant believe it, undergrad all over again! I panicked and met with my professor. I soon learned that my pharmacology class had what my friend and I call "SHARKS" (extremely competitive undergraduate students). If you didn't know Stony Brook is one of the premier science schools in the North East and maybe in the country. I say this in the most humble tone as I just want to describe the competitive atmosphere in Stony. Most students will stop at nothing to receive an A even if it means stabbing a friend in the back. The classes are intense and undergrads are cut throat, their ferocity stems from the supposed fact that only a certain amount of students get As (around 10 percent). These students that pursue medicine comprise a huge population of kids and compete for a limited amount of spots which explains the survival of the fittest mentality. I struggled to come to terms with my failure, nightmares of pre-med years were revived! I was crying out to God for help.

One day I was printing something out in the computer lab when I saw a girl with a sweater that said Jesus on the back of it. I quickly approached her without being creepy and yet she still seemed startled! I asked her about the group on her hoodie and she said it was Intervarsity. I asked how I could get involved and she told me to email Yekito and to inquire about BASIC (Brothers and Sisters in Christ)! That Monday I couldn't attend but I did the following Monday and it was truly amazing. First we praised and worshiped and then a girl named Esther prayed over me. She knew exactly what I was going through I never had anybody pray over me which I found weird and then people hit the ground and I was taken aback! That was my initial reaction but soon after I learned that it was a sincere sign of praise to the everlasting God! The Lord has been planting seeds in my spirit for a very long time through many different individuals! A couple of weeks after I joined BASIC I went on the retreat and it was amazing! I mean like the workshops and the fellowship was awesome! I met two young girls that were daughters of pentecostal ministers and I enjoyed interacting with them and giving them my advice on different life issues. On the retreat I rediscovered my purpose in life and had a renewed outlook and vigor for life! I felt like the Lord has been calling me to go on a missions trip! I really want to go on a missions trip soon, preferably this summer (if its God will)!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Good evening/morning beautiful people.

First, I just wanted to express my gratitude to my Lord Jesus Christ for granting me all these great opportunities in my life. I have been blessed. After a two year hiatus, I have been back in school since August doing my Masters and I have realized that I am truly privileged and feel honored to be back in academia and to be surrounded by some of the brightest minds in America! Coming from the Bronx I have traveled to different places, met so many different people. All of these experiences has allowed me to gain exposure to the world outside the Bronx. As a result of all these experiences I have grown. Also my identity has been challenged and has changed every time I enter a new environment whether it be a workplace or academic establishment. Furthermore I have learned more about myself as I continue to expose myself to different environments.

However, there are always multiple sides to a coin. While I am in lecture with all these distinguished scientists and professors I think about my hometown (the Bronx). The first thing I think about is all the kids from my birth place and all the teenagers from inner cities across America. I wish they had the same opportunity to learn and gain exposure to college (preferably away from their city on a college campus ie a Bronx kid going to visit Harvard). This will give them a chance to interact with kids form all over the nation and change their myopic views about certain populations and introduce them to new ideas, theories, places, personalities, events, experiences, religions, cultures, values, activities and the list goes on! The social sphere of a academia as well as the academic environment will teach them a lot about life and broaden their horizons. A combination of all these experiences will change their mindset and mold them into multifaceted individuals.

Whenever you put somebody in a totally new and different environment, it is difficult to predict somebody's reaction because everybody has a different upbringing, mentality, personality, cultural values, etc. But one thing is certain, they will have learned something new and that experience will also change some aspect of that person (no matter how subtle the change) while challenging and possibly altering their view on the world! These experiences will set them apart from their peers and also cause them to be leaders and have a positive influence on their peers. Most kids in the inner city that go down the wrong road is because of an absentee father, negative peer pressure, the lack of mentoring and the wrong environment. Some of the kids in urban neighborhoods are just living from day to day hoping they dont get jumped or shot. Some of the brightest souls will never make it out of these environments and gain exposure. Through faith many amazing things can happen and I have faith that some day there will be programs within the inner city public schools that will allow ALL students to gain short term(1 day) or long term exposure(entire college career) to the college environment. Many of these kids will never make it out of Compton or the Bronx. But if they ever were blessed with the special opportunity to attend a lecture with an esteemed research scientist, their lives could change forever!

Alex siging out God bless

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Desire to be successful

We all have some innate human desire to be successful or famous. But the attachments to these labels and what they mean in a social context have more to do with the desire than achieving our own personal feats.

Most people in this world want to be successful. Why? Some individuals may not be able to answer this question directly. Most people may give you an answer that is tied to their own personal goals. The actual reason why most want to be successful is because it validates them, giving them a true sense of belonging and acceptance by the masses, while guaranteeing acknowledgment. Being successful or famous will ensure (in modern society) that your name will be immortalized in history and that you cannot be replaced.

Being successful validates you because it makes you feel important. It proves to your psyche (sometimes fallaciously so) that everybody else who has attempted to achieve whatever you succeeded in has failed. This gives you a sense of value by signifying that you are unique and different from everybody else because you were successful in your respective arena. It also means that you will never be forgotten, that your name lives on. This is a very salient notion in modern society and is also crucial for psychological nurture.

Once you become successful and are in the spotlight it will allow you extend your social networks and people will receive you differently. Becoming successful may/may not make you famous but it will make you popular in the arena you succeed in. This gives you a special sense of belonging. Humans naturally gravitate towards popular individuals. Furthermore, successful people have a unique trait that the rest of the human populations desires and admires therefore the amount and duration of interactions with other people will increase dramatically; this confers a sense belonging. Since people usually want to be around successful individuals they tend to accept them; people who are successful usually have high rates of acceptance among different social groups.

Lastly most humans want to be successful in order to be acknowledged. Being successful will almost guarantee that you will be recognized. Everybody in life wants to be recognized no matter how grand or trivial the task. Being recognized will indirectly ensure belonging which are two very important requirements for psychological growth. Acknowledgment can be amplified and reach the next level which is being idolized. Being idolized means that you have almost reached a super human state (where most people regard you as Perfect, flawless, the best) which can be unhealthy. At this stage people have gone from admiring you to glorifying you.

God Bless this is Alex signing out!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Psychological underpinning

Human nature has developed different ways of compensating for flaws. Its quite interesting how most of our everyday behaviors have a psychological underpinning. Psyche plays a major role in our world and allow us to communicate or miscommunicate. Having a sister who is in the Psychology field has led me to be more appreciative and reverent of the field.

Observation is the key to understanding how crucial psychology is in influencing somebody's behaviors. Superficially inflating or protecting your ego through lying is one way that people compensate for their flaws. A possible scenario could be a girl lying about sexual contact; females usually fear being judged so they lie in order to avoid being judged. A past event may have inflicted psychological scarring that wasn't repaired and caused her to suffer from low self-value; she could have been abused at a young age. Therefore she sleeps around because she thinks that guys will give her value and make her feel better. The reality is that guys do not respect her and she becomes submissive by allowing guys to trample over her. For ladies out there listening: when you give yourself up, you give up your POWER! Guys will not value you, If YOU DONT VALUE YOURSELF! BOTTOM LINE! Usually its the best looking girls who have the lowest self esteem for various reasons.

Other ways of avoiding your insecurities is through injuring others' egos. A common example is one who constantly insults others, I would fathom a guess that the individual is attempting to alleviate their suffering from low self esteem by elevating their ego.

Another way that we as humans masquerade our flaws is through blaming others for our own failures. For example if I miss my interview because the bus was late, I will blame the transit system for not being on time; when in reality it is my fault because I did not leave early. Other times we may blame somebody else for something that is more permanent. A guy may blame his parents for not enrolling him in an academically challenging high school and causing his poor academic performance in college. We may not be able to change the past but we can develop habits and enhance skills in order to maximize our chances of academic success. However, blaming is easier because it preserves our pride and ego while covering our flaws and exposing others' flaws.

One of the most universal ways of escaping our flaws is through a defensive mechanism in which we are defensive and justify our behaviors. Take me for example I am a dancer; I would say I am a good dancer. Now somebody may have seen me perform on stage and criticize my dancing by telling me that I could have done a move better or that my count was off on stage. My first reaction is to preserve my ego and respond by saying "everybody else messed up, and you only saw me". Or I may say "no, I messed up because I only practiced the dance several times". Or lets say Im a a Hip Hop artist and a critic says that my music can be improved. My defense mechanism may be" you dont know what you are talking about" signifying that the person lacks expertise so they are fundamentally wrong. Even though they may have a valid point!

All of these scenarios play a dramatic role on who we are and how we respond to different psychological stimuli. Everybody is innately different and reacts differently to the same situations. This is the beauty of genetics and environment and how they shape our response to the same situations.

That’s it for now Peace Love Happiness, and faith!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Changing one's life 2

As I said before the reason why people turn their lives around intrigues me. The motives behind changes vary. Some people want to change a destructive habit whether its being jealous or using drugs to make a loved one like their mom happy, others change in order to satisfy themselves or God. Other people change because they are inspired by somebody else. Certain individuals may arrive at a vision from a higher source and feel the need to fulfill it while others want to make the community or the world a better place. Some people may just want to prove to themselves and/or others that they can change and accomplish their goal. Whatever inspired people to make a positive change varies but the bottom line is that made a change!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Changing one's life 1

Hello fellow bloggers tune in, Im back at it again.

Changing one's habits can be challenging but changing one's life can be even more difficult. Just the idea of examining one's life can be a daunting task, imagine re-navigating the course. I know everybody knows someone who was a troublemaker in primary school or high school and changed their life around. This person could have achieved poor grades but is now a manager at their respective company. These scenarios are mind boggling however even more intriguing is what drove these individuals to make such a dramatic change in their life? For example I know someone who wasn't the most disciplined student in college and is now director of a program for college students. I can speak from my own personal experience as my brother was a goof-off in elementary school and high school but shaped up and is excelling in college. He said that he never really thought about his education as a priority and found school fun. Although he was a slacker he always had the potential but never used it. Its like a basketball player who possessed innate skill and never practiced. In the athlete's case he becomes a mediocre athlete rather than an exceptional one.

Looking at some of the most pivotal figures in society I have observed that temporary failures have been transformed into historical successes. Yesterday on the radio I heard that while the majority of mankind is resistant to change, highly successful people are willing to change their thoughts and behaviors. This illustrates the difficulty of disrupting a vicious cycle in your life. When your life has a negative pattern it becomes burdensome to change. People who have changed are usually expecting better outcomes. The process of changing is two-step process. First you have to recognize that there is something wrong and that you need to change it. The second step is that you need to begin taking the necessary steps to actualize the desired change. This journey is one that will not come without obstacles, but perseverance, faith, and hard work will help your reach your destination.

Thomas Edison tried 6,00 times before he invented the incandescent light bulb. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school team before becoming arguably the best basketball player in professional sports history. Albert Einstein failed out of school before winning the Nobel prize and becoming one the most renowned physicists and intellectuals to graze the earth. The difference between these luminaries and other humans was that they acknowledged that they had to change and executed in order to accomplish their goals! Whether you were an alcoholic and became sober or somebody who failed every test in highschool and became a CEO of a company you can change your life around.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Commercial vs Non commercial

Whats going on followers I am coming through with a fresh topic straight from my dome.

So two days ago I was conversing with a friend about an activity we share which is break dancing. I expressed my view about movies such as You Got Served and Step Up and how the commercialization of break dancing through movies has had an overall positive effect on breaking because it has exposed others to the art. On the contrary, my friend retaliated by saying that commercialization has a detrimental effect on breaking. He elaborated by illustrating different ways that break dancing's rawness is dissipating as a result of commercialization. Primarily he said that due to the portrayal of breaking in these films everybody thinks that breaking is consists of just spinning on your head. In addition he mentioned that the art is not preserved in its original nature when it is commercialized. He also articulated that through commercialization people forget about the history and the foundation of breaking.

Upon further discussion, I came to the realization that it is a double edged sword. Commercialization has its pros and cons indeed. Although commercialization can introduce the world to a genre or form of art (like breaking) that is scarcely known, it can have significant disadvantages. The main disadvantages emanate from the market values such as egotism, glamorization, sex, violence, pleasure, dishonesty, and/or exaggeration. While break dancing is being exploited by the media the purity and essence of the art form is being tainted! Non market values such as love, sacrifice, authenticity, camaraderie, compassion, and most importantly integrity are being replaced by market values. Well what does this all mean in terms of breaking being commercialized. This means that commercialization can play a positive role in the evolution of break dancing because it will expose the world to the brilliant art of break dancing and other cultures will cause it to expand by infusing their own elements into breaking. If it wasn't for "Beat Street" or "Wild Style' breaking would not have reached the next level.

However, here is a caveat: if "breaking" does not limit commercialization it will become difficult to stay true to the art and preserve its genuineness. Shows like So You Think You Can Dance and America's Best Dance Crew have brought breaking to the forefront so the world can see the beautiful form of expression that began in the urban areas of New York City and then disseminated around the globe. But they have also distorted the authenticity of the art form by omitting the original elements such as toprocking, six step, and beat rocking. These elements are superseded by the "flashy" moves like airflares and flips. Whenever the media takes control of an art like visual art, dance, music, or poetry it tends to distort it and make it all about 'shock value" and focus on the "ooohhs and aaahhs" rather than staying true to the art. Media does allow the art of breaking to grow and evolve; we all know that if something doesn't grow then it will die. Moreover commercialization gives bboys an opportunity to earn a sustainable income which would otherwise not be possible. On one hand its a positive thing for breaking but it also has the potential to destroy the art's true nature. Ultimately, love, sacrifice, camaraderie, and authenticity are forces that must trump egotism, glamorization, dishonesty, pleasure and sex if the art is to be preserved.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Beyond Race

Hey there guys Im back again with my little thoughts hehe! Read below to get into the mind of Alex

This past weekend I visited my cousin at her college in Connecticut where she is doing summer research. There I met my cousin's roomate's boyfriend. When my cousin first introduced me to him, he appeared to be genuinely interested in who I was; he seemed outgoing and open minded. My intuition led me right, as I got to know him I discovered that is his ethnicity was a mixture of European countries. During our conversation he told me that his mom had just earned her PHD in architecture from Brown University.

We exchanged thoughts, ideas, and interests; I eventually found out we had a lot in common. He liked basketball, rap, and urban culture. We even shared favorite books. Despite our difference in racial background and possibly social class we were able to reach common ground!

I want to illustrate this point with hopes of demonstrating that we can connect with people with whom we never imagined ourselves connecting. I say this because while I am an open minded individual for the longest time I thought the deepest connections I could make were only within my race.

Meeting different people in various circles has allowed me to broaden my social horizons. Although I have love for my ethnicity I have been enlightened by the relationships I have built with people of varying racial and socio-economic backgrounds. These experiences have been insightful and have made me a better individual! I am grateful to the creator for these experiences.

Dont Judge a book by its cover 2

In some scenarios we tend to judge people by the school they attend or their particular profession. For example you may see a prostitute offering you her service who may seem like she enjoys selling her body. Well the true matter of the fact is that her first sexual encounter was when she was abused as a young girl and she perpetuates the vicious cycle through frivolous sexual contact. As a result of her previous sexual abuse her self esteem is low and she continues to allow herself to be abused because it is the only way she knows how to deal with this traumatic experience. In another very different but less devastating scenario there may be somebody who attends Harvard and appears to be very intelligent. The real story is that he is a "C" student in high school with mediocre SATS who's father and grandfather went to the same school. Since he was a legacy, the admissions committed gave him a conditional acceptance.

As you can see, looks can be quite deceiving whether its at a superficial level like what somebody's profession is or at a profound level like why a woman chooses to sell her body. Life is very ironic like that I guess. Sometimes we as humans classify and generalize way beyond what is ordained, we never know who somebody really is nor what they have been through, so let us read a couple of pages before we judge a book by its cover.

Dont judge a book by its cover 1

In life there is one fatal mistake that most of us make and that is judging a book by its cover. Assumptions and preconceived notions can consume our thoughts when we first meet new people. However, those thoughts can be challenged. I must admit abstaining from preconceived notions is extremely difficult especially within a society that puts labels on everybody. These social classifications can inhibit our interpersonal relationships. What you will find is that preconceived notions are usually false perceptions of individuals.

A real life scenario of falsely judging a book by its cover is somebody who has tattoos, wears his pants below his waist, and works at a local Bodega but is perceived to be a criminal. This young man actually turns out to be a lawyer. Then there is a scenario of a woman who dresses appropriately (in a blouse an dress pants) and whose daytime profession is actually drug dealing. Here we see that one's apparel can be quite misleading in regards to judging one's character. Another common example regarding clothing is a girl who dresses provocatively and is perceived to be promiscuous but is actually a virgin.

Another feature of an individual that can be misleading is somebody's place of residence. For instance let's say you meet an older white male who is part of a country club, wears brand name clothing, and speaks with a refined suburban accent. At first glance it may seem like he may be a Westchester County resident or reside in Greenwich Connecticut but he is actually a resident from inner city Philadelphia. On the contrary there may be a young black male who speaks in slang rather than proper English, wears plain clothing, hangs out in a Bronx park where he plays basketball during his leisurely time. This guy may appear to be from the Bronx but actually lives in Bronxville, New York.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Distinct Realities

Hi fellow bloggers and followers I have been rather MIA in the past few weeks. I have been busy with finishing up at my job and training a fellow worker but I just stepped down from work and I should have more free time to blog when the ideas come to me, however I am back on the digital horse.

Have you ever strolled down 170 Street and Grand Concourse in the Bronx or have you ever taken a trip to the Riverdale section of the Bronx and spent a day there? Ok well let me pose another scenario have you ever taken the 6 train and got off at 86 and Lexington or taken it to 103 and Lexington. The irony of these two separate situations is that in each situation the two areas are close in vicinity but worlds apart. Walking by the East side of Manhattan below 96th street and above 96th Street is like night and day, there is an ostensible difference.

I dont get it, its mind boggling! The missing piece to the puzzle is found in the clear distinction that represents an economic disparity. The areas where 170 Grand Concourse and 103rd and Lexington are located are under resourced, underserved, and disadvantaged. On the other hand, 86th and Lexington and Riverdale are located in areas that are well kempt, privileged, and excessively resourced. I think I have reached an epiphany!!!!! The Upper East side along with Riverdale are overwhelmingly more affluent than the the areas in the South Bronx and Spanish Harlem. This means that there is a significantly lower crime rate, better quality of education, and more funding for the community in general. Higher property tax in richer areas allows you to keep your neighborhood safe and clean, as well as provide funding for better schools. Now if you examine the demographics in each area they are also very different. In Riverdale and the Upp. East Side there seems to be a majority of whites in the upper-echelon and in the South Bronx and Spanish Harlem the population is predominantly Black and Latino from a lower socio-economic status.

The class distinction is astonishing when you juxtapose the South Bronx/Riverdale or Spanish Harlem/Upper East side. During the Jim Crow Era, segregation was more apparent because it was driven by race. The dynamic has changed and a new age of segregation has emerged, and its called classism! I define classism as a distinction of different neighborhoods based on socio economic status. While the dictionary defines it as "a biased or discriminatory attitude based on distinctions made between social or economic classes." Next time you are in a "nicer" neighborhood take a closer look and scrutinize the population; you will be surprised at what you discover!!!!!!!

Until next Blog, see ya :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Hello followers I apologize for not writing in a while but I've just been busy and haven't had a chance to update like I would've liked to. But here I am with some refreshing concepts. I thank you for being so patient and allowing me to share my ideas with you.

So I was thinking the other day why does this young generation act the way they do in this day and age, by young I mean the age range 10-21. I thought of one main reason MEDIA. Media dictates our lives. It plays a fundamental role on how we view the world. This statement may be overly dramatic but I believe it to be true. If we aren't glued to the tv, radio, or blackberry then we are trying to figure out how to obtain access to a communication device. Humans (particularly teens) are stuck in a matrix that becomes increasingly difficult to escape from. This cycle is hard to disrupt. It is comical how entranced we are by the media, so much, that we can hardly distinguish fantasy from reality. Society has become dependent on media instead of media being dependent upon society.

Generation Y (Net Generation) has brought about a lot of positive changes to the world such as the facilitation of daily activities from making toast to more efficient forms of communication. However it has become challenging for the youth to distinguish between the real and fake. They (by they I mean my age group too) are mesmerized by youtube, myspace, facebook, mtv, and bet. As I said earlier the media has become like the matrix that has kept the generation of young Americans insulated from reality and incarcerated by this fictitious world. The media is a tour de force and plays a crucial role in shaping the characters of our youth. Young Americans constantly emulate what they see in music videos and attempt to model their favorite stars. Hollywood is not all it seems, it is basically smoke and mirrors at the end of the day. Teens will get tattoes, adopt slang, wear clothes and ingest drugs just to be like their favorite rapper, singer, athlete, or actor. As a result they become trapped by these images portrayed by the media in hopes of fitting in and/or becoming popular while sacrificing their own persona. Instead of striving to be like Lil Wayne or Rhianna why not strive to be like Cornell West or Sotomayor. We should focus on the positive figures in society that can be good role models for the youth.

We should teach our youth to become critical thinkers. They should become their own person and be comfortable with themselves. More than anything we need to embrace learning how to be a unique individual without emulating what you see on tv. We should restrict how much the media influences our youth if we want them to have a brighter future.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Hello members I am sorry for the for hiatus but I am back with some thoughts and I strongly urge you to reply so we can get an official dialogue going,

Imagine being born a crack baby with HIV, an orphan, and blind. I cannot fathom how anybody in this physiological and mental state would be able to function in society nevertheless survive. When the odds are stacked against you like this, life becomes an incessant challenge. Heinous acts such as child abuse, sexual abuse, and verbal abuse are ubiquitous and the victims who endure these hardships have demonstrated their resilience, dedication, and faith. It takes a lifetime to recuperate from having your soul battered and your inner being lacerated. These brave souls deserve a nobel prize for overcoming these obstacles.

In addition to the myriad of problems that minority communities are plagued with just being a minority can be daunting at times. The financial, social, academic, and psychological issues we encounter can be overbearing. Whether you just lost a loved one in a shootout or have to work in order to help your mom with the rent you need to make the necessary adjustments to achieve the grades you desire. Furthermore when there are no academic resources available or you just aren't aware of the opportunities available for minorities it makes it difficult to succeed. People who come from a single mom household in a lower income neighborhood and have graduated college have already defeated enormous odds. Dedication and willpower become critical to attaining a higher degree such as an MA, MS, MD, JD or even a BA(graduate school, medical school, law school, college four year university).

We must learn from every failure and develop the determination to dust ourselves off and get back up. I view failures as learning experiences and not defeats. We must defy the status quo and challenge the societal norm of being inferior. Failures are God teaching us what we did wrong and testing our faith. Anything that is worth having in life should not come easy because if the journey to get to the finish line is difficult then we cherish the victory much more. When we fall we must dig deep into the depths of our soul and excavate the courage to keep going! SUCCESS IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Evolution 5

Socially the world has been transformed since 2000. our societies have been saturated with sex, materialism and egotism. Moral values are almost non existent as well as divorce rates reaching astronomical numbers and infidelity has become commonplace. More people have tattoos (which used to be taboo) but are now the norm. STDS, HIV Rates, cases of child and sexual abuse have all risen. our family values are at risk as society has become increasingly focused on the media, fashion, and the culture of individualism. From a cultural standpoint people's values from their birthplace are being replaced by American Values. For example my parents are from the Dominican Republic and most Dominicans are losing their cultural values and customs which are being replaced by American ones. Paradoxically so individualism has increased but nobody feels comfortable in their own skin and originality is frowned upon. Everybody wants to follow the next trend and lose their sense of self rather than think critically about society. Furthermore, incarceration rates (especially for young black men) have risen and abortion rates have dropped since 2000. Moreover drug abuse has risen and gone overboard to the point where drug users have resort to pain killers such as percocet and vicatin as well as other prescription to attain a new high. I believe that the mass media has influenced culture a lot since the 60s and more recently since the year 2000 by promoting sex more aggressively and emphasizing market values such as materialism, and egotism.

Society has also changed a lot since religiously. The scandals in 2001 about Priests molesting young boys has changed the way the world views religion and has put the Catholic church under more scrutiny. In addition the way that extreme capitalism has affected religion has been incrediblle. Mega churches have evolved the and the sole focus of certain churches are to genlerate revenue. Greed and materialism have corrupted the church. Certain pastors are taking tithes for themselves rather than putting the money towards services that the church needs and for the public good. Most sermons focus on prosperity and acquiring wealth rather than improving your well being and strengthening your relationship with God and giving glory to God. We have forgot to exhibit Christian ideals such as compassion, kindness, loyalty, dignity, faith, and altruism.

Evolution Part 4

The world has had a climactic shift in the environment (pun intended) over the last decade. There have been growing concerns about the climate change and excessive CO 2 emissions that are blamed for it. CO2 emissions are professed to be the main cause of global warming. Polar ice caps have been reduced by 15 percent the highest ever which reflect sunlight but when they are not present sunlight warms the water which circulates around the world and causes a shift in the climate and abnormal weather. In addition to global warming there have been some anomalies in geological events within the past 5 years. In 2004 there was a tsunami in the Indian Ocean that devastated Sri Lanka along with other countries that claimed over 220,000 lives. Then in the year 2005 there was a Hurricane that terrorized New Orleans mainly because the levies of the damn that are supposed to protect the overflow of water broke. There are still parts of New Orleans that are suffering form the grave impact of that tragic natural disaster that killed more than 1830 people. This year January 2010 another natural disaster happened. A massive earthquake struck Haiti and killed more than 250,00 people. There was another earthquake that hit and killed approximately 1000 people in March 2010.

Evolution Part 3

Economically our world has turned upside down. In September 2008 Americans witnessed a series of events that would lead to the financial crisis that we are still suffering from in 2010. A combination of the housing bubble, predatory lending, cds (credit default swaps) and cdos (collateralized debt obligations) contributed to the economic downturn. We are still in a state of recession in April 2010 and our unemployment rates are higher than they were during the Great Depression. In a nutshell greed, excess, and a lack of moral values led to this economic meltdown which had a trcikle down effect on the average consumer.

Politically our world has turned upside down as we have our first black president (bi-racial) to be exact. I thought I would never live to see the day. Barack Obama was elected to be president in November 2008. He was inaugurated in January 2009; it was a monumental event which I was fortunate enough to see. Unfortunately he inherited the country in a really bad shape particularly in the economy. He was received with skepticism from the Republican side but the majority of the American public was in favor of Barack Obama being president of the United States. One of his goals as president was to achieve bipartisanship in congress and hoped to work across party lines. Some people criticize the bail out of AIG and the burdening of the tax payer with this debt. This is one of the most difficult decisions Obama had to make early on in his presidency. The success he has achieved thus far has been in passing the health care bill. This was a long and hard fought win for the democrats and citizens of this country in general. Through the health care reform there will be more than 30 million Americans insured, pre-existing conditions will be removed from health insurance policies, adults under the age of 26 will still be covered under their parents' insurance until they are able to establish economic stability, and there will be stronger focus on preventative care. The changes that will happen as a result of health care reform in the next couple of years should be interesting.

Furthermore in 9/11/2001 a national catastrophe happened. The twin towers in the Lower Manhattan (known as the world trade center) were hit by the two planes. Other government buildings were attacked by planes but the damage was minimal. Both planes were said to have been operated by terrorists from the terrorist group Al Queda. But suspiciously so these "terrorists" took flying courses on American ground. This horrific event claimed close to 3000 lives. Everybody has their own views on the attack on 9-11. some say it was a conspiracy by the government to get us to believe that the terrorists were the enemies others believe that terrorists really did strike the twin towers. Well at any rate in the year 2003 the united States declared war on Iraq with suspicion that Iraq was responsible for the terrorist attack and that they had weapons of mass destruction. The ultimate goal was to find Sadam Hussein, capture the terrorists along and find weapons of mass destruction so they can achieve peace. Well it didn't exactly work out that way. Now the government pulled all of our troops out of Iraq to have them deployed to Afghanistan and to complete a counter terrorist mission there. Our country is now in 11 trillion dollars of debt because of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. We owe China approximately 2.5 trillion dollars. This is the biggest and longest war our country has seen since Vietnam and so far 5000 soldiers have been killed. this has been an unfortunate event in the past 10 years.

Evolution of society 2

Scientifically the world has been revolutionized. The discoveries that have been made in genetics and stem cells will have a pivotal impact on humanity. Stem cells are cells that are made in adult bone marrow. Pluripotent stem cells can mature into different cells throughout the body (can turn into a neuron or liver cell) and has the unique capability of regenerating itself. The therapies that will be derived from stem cell research shows a lot of promise in terms of clinical application. These therapies that are being tested in research laboratories is projected to have the ability to cure cancer and neurological diseases such as Parkinson's.

In 2003 the mapping of the human genome was completed successfully. Now we can say that we know the secret to life. The deeper understanding of our genetic makeup will become crucial as we progress into an age where cancer is the second leading cause of death. Through genetic research and analysis ideally, cancer causing genes, proteins and promoters will be isolated and shut down before they can be expressed in the human body and possibly lead to the eradication of cancer in the human race. I know it may far fetched but with the rapid advancement of genetics and science in general this could become quite feasible.

Evolution of society 1

In the last ten years American society has changed dramatically. Over the last decade the world has made leaps and bounds in arenas of science, technology, politics, social issues, economy, and religion. Some changes in these arenas have revolutionized the way we interact as humans as well as how we establish global connections.

Technologically our world is entirely different from what it was in 2000. Our level of mass communication is unforeseen on a global scale. With the increasing use of the internet and other forms of technology such as GPS we have made it possible for globalization to occur. Furthermore the use of cell phone has risen by amazing proportions. I remember in the year 2000 when I was in grade school people in the in-crowd only had beepers. I would say in the year 2001 when I was in high school only a select few owned cell phones. However, in 2003 there was a shift in the population activity and more people began to purchase cell phones as they more readily available to the public. Then there was another shift in activity circa 2004 (when I first got to college) everybody began to utilize text messaging more frequently. A whole new era emerged in early 2007 when texting (text messaging) began to replace phone calls and personal interaction. House visits and phone calls are becoming obsolete because they are being replaced by text messaging. Text messaging has its advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantage is that it decreases personal communication which can gradually deteriorate a community. In a text message there no non verbal cues or tone changes that can be detected so it is more difficult to understand somebody and a message can be easily misconstrued and taken the wrong way. The brevity of a text message is good if you want to get straight to the point.


Everything that you have experienced in life affects your worldview: how you were raised, where you attended school, family background, and where you were raised. A kid who grows up in the projects in the South Bronx will view the world differently than a kid who grows up on 67 and 5th avenue in Manhattan. Unfortunately these disparities are ostensible in different aspects of a kid's life especially in education.

Even for kids who grew up similar environments there may may be a significant difference in the way they view the world. A simple example is two childhood friends who were raised on the upper east side in Manhattan but one grew up with an alcoholic father and an abusive mom while another one grew up in a normal single mom household. Our world views will vary based on our circumstances. Another scenario is where two childhood friends are raised in the housing projects: one friend attends a private school and his father takes him to different museums from ages 3-8. The other friend attends a local public school and is raised by a single dad who works two jobs and under his time constraint was not able to take his kid to museums. The kid who attended private schools will view the world as nurturing, full of opportunities and promising. In addition the museums he visited, different activities that he participated in,and the the people he met in school will lead him to be more open minded. On the other hand there is a large possibility that the other boy who was practically raised by himself and was not exposed to a world outside the projects will be more close minded, desolate, and view the world as hopeless, and devoid of opportunities. The richness of diversity is invaluable. Encountering new experiences, seeing new things and meeting people from different ethnic, religious, and/or economic backgrounds broadens a child's scope on life.

In general something as simple as going to the museum and seeing the Egyptian exhibit can change the way you look at your surroundings. In the long run knowing that there is more to this world than the Bronx or the upper east side in Manhattan will revolutionize your view point and will make you better equipped to handle life's challenges. Being open-minded can have a positive impact on the way you relate to people and ultimately provide you with more opportunities. The more extended the social network the more opportunities you will have, its just common law. This will increase your social capital and will put you in a better position to achieve success.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Cultural exchange

Anytime there is a cultural exchange through music, customs, or even slang it is a beautiful thing. One modern day example of cultural exchange is the suburban/urban slang exchange. This trend has been occurring for the past five years. However it would not have been possible if it wasn't for music and other forms of entertainment. My theory is that Kanye along with other hip hop artists who had a unique and alternative Hip Hop sound allowed this slang exchange to occur. Through mass appeal and embracing each others' cultures these artists cultivated a cultural exchange. Hip Hop rock fusions were also pivotal in this suburban/urban slang swap.

The most notable slang exchange emerged during the year 2005. While I started to use the slang after everybody else did, I observed that inner city teenagers and young adults were using the word "hot" and "dude". The word "hot" meaning good looking and the phrase "sucks" having a negative connotation referring to something that is bad. If a person says "you suck at basketball" they mean you are a poor basketball player. Although some of this slang was used by a small portion of the urban population in the past I noticed that since the year 2005 it has been more widespread. Nowadays people in the suburbs are using slang which emanates from the hip hop culture. It is not rare to see a kid from Westchester county use the word "mad" (to signify alot or very). For example I am mad tired ( I am very tired). Or even the word "son" to refer to a person. For example "whats up son". In addition there are terms used by the inner city and outskirts alike such as "chill" (which has different meanings) calm down hang out 3.or an adjective describing somebody who is easy going and fun to hang out with "awkward" ( which is heavily used in modern slang and means exactly that "awkward") and "sketchy"( meaning something is weird or doesn't feel right). I call these terms inclusive because they appeal to the urban populations as well as the suburban populations.

Perhaps the media has fostered this cross cultural exchange through music, sitcoms, and channels that are popular among the younger generation but watched by everybody (MTV). I think this phenomenon has a positive impact on today's society. Whenever cultural exchange occurs different populations begin to interact more which in turn procures understanding as well as openmindedness. This is one way that music and the media can increase human connection which will ultimately make the world a better place!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Menial geniuses and Corporate Mediocritites

Have you ever wondered why people in the work place denigrate custodians? Or even when people ask what a person does for a living and the person replies "custodian" people look in disgust and automatically assume that they are inferior. Well I have some news for anybody who thinks like this, just because the job does not require a PHD does not mean that the person is not worthy of having a PHD. There are people who do menial jobs whether its sanitation, working at a fruit market, or a school custodian, particularly people of lower class. These ordinary citizens who work hard in order to pay the bills at home and support their family may not have a degree that allows them to gain a higher income and can't afford to further their education.

Although most people who work menial jobs don't have degrees there are some who are highly intellectual individuals and acquire their knowledge through self study. Nobody would know this unless you took the time out to speak to a mailman, bus driver, or a janitor. If you do take the precious time to speak to somebody who works one of these jobs some of them possess more knowledge than anybody I know about history, politics, medicine, current events etc. This is sort of a branch off of my previous blog entry "judging a book by its cover"!

On the other hand if you speak to a lawyer you will find out in some cases that they have an enormous repository of knowledge centralized on their field. However, if you ask them about philosophy or science they may have no clue about any of those subjects! Where professionals are lacking is in the area of versatility. Unfortunately most professionals are so focused on their field that their worldview and knowledge base is myopic. So when you pair a stockbroker from Wall Street and a janitor the stockbroker may appear smarter because he is a professional but if they ever engage in a intellectual conversation the janitor may prove he is more intelligent. You should never be defined by your occupation or anything you do in life; you must define your occupation and shape it. If you view yourself as downtrodden and inferior then the world will view you as so, but if you see yourself as a successful business entrepeneur rather than just a sidewalk sweeper then the world will respond with equal intensity.

I personally believe that whatever you do in life is not a reflection of who are you but rather how you do it and the impact you have on others around you reveals your true character! Furthermore I profess that whatever your occupation may be, knowledge always prevails. The more you read and expose yourself to a variety of genres, themes, subjects and topics the stronger you become and the more well equipped you are to face life's challenges. Moreover you will be able to engage in conversation with anybody regardless of their field or occupation. Its important to know about stem cells but you should also know a little bit about the Yankees and American Idol. Education is the key to success whether its formal or informal, but versatility is the most crucial part.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Judging a Book by its Cover

In life there is one fatal mistake we can all make and and that is judging a book by its cover. Assumptions and preconceived notions can consume our thoughts when we first meet new people. However those thoughts can be supressed. I must admit abstaining from preconceived notions is extremely challenging especially wihin a society that puts labels on everybody. These social classifications can inhibit our interpersonal relationships. What you will find is that preconceived notions are usually false perceptions of individuals. This causes us to be close minded and view everyhing in black and white rather than having some gray area where we are not sure about a person but take the initiaive to disocover somebody's true self. Blinded by social percpetion and visual deception we end up judging a book by its cover as you will see in the following scenarios.

One example of a preconceived notion is one where a male walking down a street is covered in tattooes and pants below his waist and appears to most people as a thug. The male walking next to him is a person in a three piece suit who would appear to be a businessman. At first glance this seems to be fact. Although this is just an illusion it is a combination of our preconceived notions and societal labels propagated by the media that have led us to believe that this is true. Well as story has it the male showered in tattooes is a CEO of the most successful company in America while the guy in a business suit is an e cereal killer who has yet to be accused of the crimes he has committed.

This is where judging a book by its cover can go terribly wrong. These rash assumptions cause us to say and do things we will regret. A possible scenario could be one where you are at a networking event for the company you work for and you approach the guy in a business suit and invite him to your house because he seems to be respectable and in the long run attmepts to murder one of your children. This appears to be extreme but based upon our assumption it seems safe to have this guy in your house. He appears to be a decent, hard-working, and respectable buisness man. On the other hand we dont even think about approaching the guy with tattooes because he seems like a good for nothing hoodlum. When in fact he owns his own company and could possibly help you make payments on your defaulting mortgage. This person's preconceived notion almost costed her her child's life.

Another scenario is where there is a woman at a party you are attending and this person dances with mulitple guys and sips from a cup while dancing. The first assumption is she is wild, then others may think she is promiscuous, while some conservative folk may say she is immoral. The woman sitting in the corner by herself has not danced with anybody and she appears to be an innocent angel. We as humans get in trouble when we confuse fact for story. This is the single driving force for judging a book by its cover: it is all in the mind. The reality of the sitaution is that the woman is there with her four brothers celebrating her acceptance to medical school, having a good time, and drinking water to rehydrate herself. As far as her personal life she is a Christian woman and a virgin. The woman who was quiet is the one who is actually the promiscuous one and drank lots of beer during the party. She was sitting down because the room was spinning.

The last scenario has two men (one man in a polo reading the New York Times and the other man is listening to loud music and wearing a trench coat and has body piercings) on a train car during rush hour standing opposite a man who has his wallet hanging out the side of his pocket. The middle aged man gets off on the same stop that both of the men get off and he notices that his wallet is missing. The guy in the trench coat is running and the other guy in the polo is strolling. The guy who lost his wallet yells to a cop that the guy in the trench coat stole his wallet when he had no real premise to believe so. The guy in the trench coat is apprehended by the police and is searched thoroughly but the wallet is not found; he is released. The guy who had his wallet stolen is not only embarrased but angry because he was unable to find the culprit. Days later on the 6 oclcok news there is a breaking story of a guy in a polo who looks familiar. The guy who had his wallet stolen recognizes him as the guy who wore the polo and got off on the same stop he did. The guy in the polo was arrested and charged with identity theft and grand larceny and is known to prey on subway riders by stealing wallets. Later on in the news there is another story of a guy in a trench coat and recent Harvard graduate who won a pulltizer prize for a ground breaking novel. The guy recognizes this man as the one who he falsely accused of stealing his wallet.

These scenarios can have a dterimental effect on society by contributing to unjust discrimination, biased hiring practices, unjust incarceration and even losing out on meeting your soulmate. I would urge people to investigate one another and get to know each other before we judge others' characters, intellects, or intentions. This is a grave concerrn of mine because I have been misjudged plenty of times and I have misjudged people in the past also. As a result of these preconceived notions I have either looked like a fool or lost out on a business opportunity or building a frienship with a good person. In order for mankind to progress we must get to know each other's stories before we jump to conclusions. We must eradicate preconceived notions and abide by two principle mantras " let's get to know each other and do not judge a book by its cover"!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Urban Paradise Part 3

After all is said and done there is a critical component to the progression of blacks in this country. This component is mentorship and the desperate need for black leadership. Mentorship gives the youth a unique opportunity to connect with a role model who shares the same racial background as well as struggles. This serves as a motivation for a young kid and allow him to grow into a gentleman.

While there is an urgent need for program funding there is also a requirement for attitude reform. We as people of color must rise up to the challenges, raise our expectations and overcome our obstacles rather than playing the exhausted victim role.

A new day awaits us and our fate depends on the future of the urban youth. We will surpass expectations and reach new heights. We will break barriers and forge new bonds. We will liberate ourselves from mental incarceration and shackles of ignorance. We as a people will focus on solidarity rather than divisive competition. Only WE STOP ourselves from SUCCEEDING. We ae the conductors of our destinies and monarchs of our domain.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Urban Paradise Part 2

Is there a remedy for these community cancers and chronic conditions of the soul? Although these daunting truths are overwhelming there is a solution that is simple yet complex.

First we need need to institute an urban task force that maintains peace, addresses these social issues, and runs anti-crime/anti-violence workshops. Also we need to apply for grants that could fund new workshops and programs. One of these workshops can be a parenting workshop whee parents are taught how to properly discipline their child, foster academic excellence, and nurture them correctly. Another workshop could be one that is held year round at different educational levels starting out with elementary school. Some of the workshop topics will include etiquette , professional skills, character building, leadership development, conflict resolution, and positive thinking. In addition programs such as Prep for Prep that help children from the inner city realize that they can receive a quality education regardless of socio-economic and/or ethnic background must remain funded. Apart from improving academic performance this program will provide them with a unique opportunity to travel abroad and explore unknown realms. These excursions will allow the kids to cultivate insight and grow through new experiences. The ultimate goal of these trips is to leave them with open minds. Moreover we need to build more community centers and host more community events that promote camaraderie within the black community.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Urban Paradise Part I

In a land where teenage pregnancy thrives and bullets riddling though the local bodega's window is the alarm clock there still lies hope!Welcome to Urban America where foster care, alcoholism, drug addiction,, poverty, and child abuse deteriorates the well being of the ghetto's luminous souls. Kids in urban neighborhoods face more dire circumstances than not being able to go to college. Beyond the tragedies of "da hood" urban youth start out with a trajectory that seems promising. Most parents and relatives of children from urban communities will say that they were once intelligent and had bight futures. Unfortunately these same children were absconded by the street where there potential for Law School evaporated and dreams of becoming a doctor were assassinated. Most of the kids born into these broken homes are at high risk for incarceration and teen pregnancy due to the lack of family structure and stability. They seek escape from their harsh realities through sex, violence, drugs, and material possessions. Negative peer influence does not help the situation either. Locked in a prism of demise they have only a few options to resort to.

Poetry, dance, and other artistic outlets serve as a creative space for a much needed catharsis for the urban youth. However gangs and local neighborhood crews become a negative alternative for these confused teenagers. Teenagers are misunderstood which is why their crimes are dramatacized and their fates often limited. In a society driven by fear they are marginalized. Even though most modern day families lack a strong religious upbringing which leaves them devoid of moral grounding and causes them to pensate criminal activity more than an avid churchgoer. In efforts to preserve their sanity some of the youth join churches and go to college. These institutions provide them with support and a temporary escape from their turbulent backgrounds. Unfortunately, in the larger majority of these stories emotional wounds are alleviated by material medicine. Black youth falls prey to the materialism portrayed by the media that psychologically and wrongfully causes to you equate self worth with material goods.In reaction to this propaganda they obtain the funds by any means necessary in order to purchase these goods. Whether its through robbery, stick -ups, or drug dealing they obtain the goods one way or the other. Young and fatherless teenage girls seeking attention and love are plagued by stds and premature pregnancies. Psychologically distraught teenage boys lash out at each other to superficially elevate their self esteem. In order to protect or boost their ego they combat each other in each and every way possible. Whether the competition is how many girls, how many Jordans they own, how many basketball games they won, and in the worst case scenario how many people they murdered! Black male aggression towards a society that offers few opportunities for people of color is channeled through pimp activity, gang activity, gunfire exchange and any other type of activity that exerts confrontational power. Born into a country that opposes the progression of men of color via racism and discrimination and bereft of a primary role model (father)the male black youth is a perilous predicament. In summation low self worth creates internal turmoil that projects itself through urban crime unexpected pregnancies, along with a litany of other social problems!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Demise of solidarity

Why has there been such a deterioration of unity in society or more specifically American Society? One reason is the cultural principles and priorities that society upholds. Hedonistic elements such as sex and materialism are perpetuated by the mass media and promote egotism. American ideals that focus on self attainment and prosperity rather than communal prosperity have also contributed to the demise of community. Other divisive factors such as classism, ageism, racism, and sexism have also contributed to the dissolve of our sense of community.

While focusing on your materialistic desires you deviate from uniting for a common cause. Furthermore, materialism distracts us from fighting for something larger than ourselves whether it’s a non profit organization, religious group, mentoring program, or a political party. So instead of helping the next brother out I am worrying about getting the new Jordans that came out. Sex has us focus on what makes us look sexy and attracts the opposite sex, which there is nothing wrong with but when that is your main objective it can be self defeating. Self destructive behaviors are rooted in these elements of sex and materialism.

Indulging in materialism makes us forget what is important (which is the connection of human souls). Worrying about self gratification as opposed to catering to others' needs (which is a big part of the community) only facilitates the fall of the community. In addition maintaining the community entails sacrifice and humility which most people in modern society don’t have. This limits the potential for cultivation of a community. In order to build strong bonds in the American community we must forget about individual luxuries and work with others to establish common ground. We need to be less selfish and forge bonds so that our world is unified and this world will become a much better place. We need to love each other regardless of skin color, income, age, sexual orientation, nor religious preference! UNITY FOR THE WORLD!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Immigrant's Ambition II

When you give a foreign-born person all these resources its like giving them all the world's treasures all at once. Immigrants really value what they have. Dominicans are one of the largest foreign-born populations in New York City's metropolitan area. Dominican students continue to grow as one of the largest immigrant populations attending college. I have seen this firsthand as the largest latino population in Syracuse University was Dominicans. Not because we are better or anything but because our parents had that immigrant drive: the eye of the tiger! To elaborate on this concept if someone was African American with generations of ancestors born here then the likelihood is higher that he will take things for granted and not appreciate what he/she has whether its an ipod or heating in your residence.

Also if my mother was born here she may take things for granted but if someone is conscious enough to break the cycle and take advantages of the opportunities then progress would be inevitable because you are no longer stagnant and have now broken the mold. Even children of immigrants who were born here do not know what its like not to go to college if you don't have the funds, endure harsh weather without proper garments, not to have running hot water, to have a power outage for eight hours out of the day, or to labor at five years old in order to help out financially in the household. An American born citizen see things as necessities while an immigrant views these things as luxuries. Where an American sees a vacancy an immigrant sees an opportunity. Here lies a very powerful distinction. When you are not born here you have future aspirations to achieve success and bring more of your family to the US. If you were born here this is everyday life and you aren't exposed to any other part of the globe nor anything diffrent for a prolonged period of time so you don't value your priviledges and resources along with not proactively seeking opportunities. Out of all of the people of color, immigrants are the most successful ethnic group. Isn't that a paradox!

Immigrant's Ambition I

For some American citizens the United States of America is the land of extortion for most foreigners the Unites States of America is seen as the land of infinite opportunity. The voyage is made to the land of milk and honey where the passengers possess a strong will to succeed and a hunger like ambition. So I ask myself are people who are neither immigrants nor 1st/2nd generation Americans taking the resources available for granted? Well in my story my parents were born in Dominicabn Republic and they came to the country in the early 1980s. They lived in the South Bronx by Jerome ave. which was a breeding ground for Dominicans. Most people flock to their own ethniciy which is a natural instinct of mankind. My parent's attitude was one of positivity growth and progress. They had a goal in mind and would not let up until it was accomplished. Thye did not come here to squander time nor resources but rather to seek better opportunities for themselves and to provide a better future for their kids. They never took anything for granted from being able to send their kids to schools where they were eligible for good financial aid to having running hot water. They new they had to break their backs to get what they wanted.

My parents had a dream and behind that dream there was a vision that carried their aspiration. My parents have always progressed; we moved every couple of years in order to improve our living conditions. The central theme in my parent's lives is progression. My parents wont stop until all of their kids graduated from college. and become successful professionals. My parents push us to realize our academic potential without even knowing about what is required to acquire these grades. But they recognize our efforts and commend us whenever best suited. An immigrant's dream always encapsulates prosperity, progress, and persisitence. Most immigrant
s come here with a fighting attitude to become successful and they have a mentality that breeds success because they take full advantage of the resources available to the general public. Some of these resources are the New York Public Library, education, healthcare, and day care. They take advantage because their homeland is devoid of certain resources.

Education from Independent Study vs. School education

Does real knowledge depend on how many degress you have attained or how much independent study you have done? By independent study I mean reading history, philosophy,science etc.and analyzing the literature that is being presented to you. When conducting independent study or self edification there are no external views that can tamper with the construction of your personal worldviews. Therefore independent study allows you to formulate your own opinion on whatever information you digest. Inevitably this will cultivate critical thinking. In result you will have a wider scope of reality which will lead to questioning any concept, person, place, or thing you come in contact with. In addition independent study has no limitation to what you can study while school based education is restricted to the subject or theme of the course.

On the other hand learning in a classroom environment will give you knowledge from the teacher's perspective rather than enabling you to draw your own conclusion. Learning in a school also provides a formal education for those who prefer structure. Although, I do think that a structural type of education is critical for the degrees it offers which are prerequesites for many professional fields and are necessary for the job market. Furthermore, school based education creates a safe space for the open dialogue of different ideologies and allows students to challenge each other's view points. By listening to others' view points you become enlightened which subconsciously makes you more open minded, strengthens your ideologies, and enhances your growth. This is the disadvantage to independent study: in independent study your are auto-educating which is basically dictating your thoughts to yourself without disagreeing. This type of education does not challenge you which means it does not strengthen your point of view on any given topic. Each type of edification has its advanatages and disadvanatages. At the end of the day participating in both should be the most beneficial thing for any scholar!