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!