Thursday, July 2, 2009

Informative Day

Today Judy Richardson visited my class, she's a producer and filmmaker just to name one "Eyes On The Prize." She talked to us about how she joined the civil rights movement and how/why she joined SNCC. She left a full scholarship for college to join SNCC to get more involved in the Civil Rights Movement. Her sister even quit her job at Columbia records to also join SNCC. Judy went through so much she actually mentioned that she couldn't be scared. She was shot at and she just made an excuse that it was her car back firing.

She was such an enthusiastic person and had so much life. She traveled for three straight days before she came to our class and she was more alive then most of the students in my class. She started off with this song named "Woke Up This Morning With My Mind Stayed On Freedom." I admire her so much she really made me think about life and how much I could achieve.

Later on in my second part of class Dean Rose came and we did some leadership activities. One of the things I got out of the activities is that sometimes during a conversation I need to sit back and listen instead of trying to make my opinions heard. Also certain things can insult a person while your having a conversation. Like looking at your phone or looking a certain way.

Overall my day was very informative and it was really great!

-Tiffany Carter

Last Day of the Fifties

Since we don't have school tomorrow, my teacher made sure she crammed all the information she could into our heads about the 50s. Today we talked about the other side of the 50s such as the rise of the teenager, rock & roll, the roots of the sexual revolution and teenage pregnancy.

We first started off with juvenile delinquency and the concerns many adults had for it. There was a lot of public anxiety about juvenile delinquency and fear of the youth becoming complacent and spoiled due to the growing prosperity. Comic books that were graphic and violent were also a nuisance and in the late 40s, a group of teachers and parents gathered comic books and burned them. Movies such as Rebel Without A Cause also caused worry, especially with white middle class Americans because the movie portrayed a white middle class teenager rebelling.

Next was rock & roll, and we started off with Blackboard Jungle and the song Rock Around the Clock. Rock & roll was very surprising for adults, seeing how before rock & roll came out, most songs were ballads and had a soft tune and was very sweet and romantic. Also all of the rock & roll songs were about sex. The lyrics, sound, and movements all revolved around sex which caused great controversy.

We then talked about the roots of the sexual revolution began with Playboy. Although Playboy had a lot of nude pictures of women and was thought of as obscene, the magazine was also classy and was very popular to the white middle-class. Playboy had a mainstream appeal and was actually a legit magazine with articles and news about the world. Playboy helped start of an alternative masculine identity that didn't involve the suburban man in a gray flannel suit. It let the middle class man out of conformity and went against the nuclear family ideal. We then talked about homosexuality and the Homophile Movement. There were organizations made for homosexual people in L.A. and San Francisco.

Our last subject was teenage pregnancy which rose dramatically, for both married women and single women. Since a lot of teenage girls were getting married, that also meant they were having babies too. In 1957, 97/1000 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 were pregnant.

We then watched Pleasantville and I saw the movie in a whole different way. The movie expressed the view that a lot of people had about the 50s that wasn't really true. It showed that the 50s wasn't perfect and that life was more than the repetition of conformity.

Today was a great final day of the 50s. I learned a lot and realized the 50s wasn't really the ideal suburban era that was perfect. I'm glad I got to see the movie Pleasantville in another light. Hopefully next week with my new teacher will be just as fun. Tomorrow we go to New York to visit Columbia University and I can't wait. Columbia is one of my top choices and I am soooo exited to be able to go on a tour. I'll talk to everyone tomorrow to brag about my great day!

Rain Man.

After much reading and discussing, today we concluded our lesson of autism with a great 1988 movie called Rain Man. Since many others have already given a short summary of the plot, I'll skip straight to my opinions of it and what I learned. First of all, even though the attitude of Charles (played by Tom Cruise) towards his autistic brother Raymond changed for the better too quickly to be realistic, I was very moved by the ending. Although Raymond did not stay with his brother and had to return to the mental institution where he had been living, the fact that the two were able to bond on a deep level was truly touching. I hated how Charles abused his brother's abilities with numbers and memorization, but I especially loved how Charles's insults went to heart-felt loving remarks. As he began to spend more time with his autistic brother, he began to understand him and even want to help him. I truly hope that something like that does occur in real life with the family members and friends of not just autistic children and adults but of people with any type of mental illness-- that eventually they are able to look past a simple problem and truly connect with their loved ones. I'm glad we saw this movie today because Thinking in Pictures basically gave me facts, but Rain Man gave me a visual. With this movie, I was able to see his outbursts and other actions.

But in addition to my comments on the movie, I also wanted to share what I have learned about autism as a whole this week. Even though Temple Grandin's book, Thinking in Pictures, was not my favorite, I still feel like I learned a lot from it. Grandin gave me a deeper look into the life of autistic people through both direct information and her writing style. She taught me that their way of thinking, learning, and developing is very different, but more importantly, about the duality of autism. By duality I mean the fact that though it is perceived as a "curse" by many, it can in fact be a blessing for some who have mild autism. Temple Grandin is one example of that. She is a high-functioning autistic whose visual thinking and connection to animals has distinguished her from the rest. 

Civil Rights

Avauna Walker recently wrote about studying some of the advertisements in old magazines that clearly showed how racism was prevalent in mainstream advertising. Here are but a few examples of products that could be found even in our very recent history with some right in our own community.


We watched a very interesting movie in class today. It's called Rain Man, and it is about a man who finds his long lost brother, and kidnaps him for money. He never knew of his brother because he was autistic and got sent away to an institution, but when their father passes away, Charlie tracks down the money to his brother Raymond. The movie goes on to show the two bonding. At first Charlie was in it for the money, but in the end he realized that Raymond was the only family he had left so he wanted to do everything in his ability to keep him around. The story was very touching and I'm grateful that I don't have to go through any of the emotions that Charlie felt.

In an article that I'm reading for homework it talks about teenagers hooking up, and how most teenagers don't want serious relationships in high school. I found the topic very interesting, because they openly discussed their private lives and what they did when they "hooked up". As said in the article, the term hooking up is very vague and can mean multiple different things. It's interesting to see how other teenagers around the nation go about in their private lives, in contrast to my life. I grew up learning the do's and don'ts of my culture. Hooking up would be a shameful thing to do; most of them hook up with strangers. I would never want to bring shame upon myself and my family. Topics like sex and relationships were not openly discussed with friends and family, so when I read the article I couldn't believe that these teenagers (some younger then me!) would spill secrets like this. You can definitely see the cultural differences between the "teenagers of suburban America" and people in my culture. Which is eccentric because you always assume that everybody acts similar until you read something like this, that can totally change your opinion.

Heart Disection, Gross Anatomy Lab, and John Hay Library

Today was an incredible busy day! In the morning we went to the Gross Anatomy Lab and saw a dissected cadaver, a human head cut in half vertically, and got to hold a human brain. I thought that I might be a little uneasy being in the presence of a human cadaver but I was completely comfortable and I touched the cadaver. The cadaver that we saw is ten years old and its known as "born to raise hell" because of a tattoo that the cadaver has on the arm. I loved being able to have this experience because now I know that I can be comfortable around cadavers.

In the afternoon we did two activities, we dissected a sheep heart and we went to the John Hay Library to view medical illustration folios. The Heart although you are only making one cut it is quite difficult to dissect because of the fat. Unlike the fat in the cat which was soft and a bit liquidy the cardiac fat was more solid yet it wasn't hard. After we cleared up the vessels and identified them, we cut the heart open in half and identified the right and left atrium as well as the right and left ventricle. Doing the heart and cat dissection this week really made me feel like I was at a disadvantage because all the other students in my class have dissected more than just a fetal pig and a rat which made it easier for them to do the dissections. I feel like if I would have dissected more than just a fetal pig and a rat the Teacher Assistants would not have to be helping me as much as they did.

When we finished cleaning up our workspace in the lab we went to the John Hay Library to view medical illustration folios from the 1400's to the 1800's books that were done when doing autopsies was a controversial topic, when plagiarism was not yet established as something against the law, and when very few corpses where available which resulted in scientists stealing bodies from graves or taking the bodies of criminals that had been hung. It was very interesting to see how intricate ans accurate these drawings were.Some of them where funny though, there was one where is was a picture of a women sitting down showing the muscles on her back yet her cheeks were rosy and her hair was nice and had a ribbon on it. On the other hand there was also other books that demonstrated the crude reality of autopsies and where very explicit.

"Rain Man" on a Rainy Day

We watched "Rain Man," starring Tom Cruise, today in class. For an overview of the movie, Tom, whose name is Charlie, is the owner of a car company. He had a rough relationship with his father and his mother past away before he was old enough to know her. He left home after an incident with his father's Buick and never returned to him. Unfortunately, his father past away and he finds out that all his father left him is the Buick and the rose patches. The $3 million he was hoping to receive was not given to him and thus, he goes in search for where all that money went. It leads him to a home for the mentally disabled. That is when he discovers that he have an autistic older brother, Raymond. Then the rest of the movie shows how Charlie kidnaps his brother Raymond in hopes of splitting their father's will but after struggling with his brother's condition, he begans to grow a deep connection to him. In the end, he did not care for the money. Instead, Charlie wanted to be the guardian of Raymond.

I really enjoyed watching this movie. Reading the book was a whole other thing. The movie helped to visualize what it is like to be around autistic people and it is definitely more interesting than the book. Just like my other post about autistic people being geniuses, I found out that it is not as common as I thought. In "Rain Man," Raymond had the ability to memorize everything he read or saw. Not only that but he was quick and speedy when it came to counting cards and doing mental math. However, there were times when something like a noise, or the water faucet, would trigger an outburst. Raymond also struggled to live normally since he was so use to having someone take care of him. Now the question is, "Is it better to sign an autistic person into a facility or emerge them into society?"

The movie brought about a very interesting topic about family unity and secrets. Charlie had a rough relationship with his father because of all these hidden secrets that his father would not tell him. He never knew his mother. Therefore when he grew found of Raymond, he wanted to be his guardian. He finally found a family member that he can relate to. Family unity is the strongest bond possible. What would I do if I was alienated by my family? What kind of life would I live? How will living alone feel like? Now, I am able to see the core value in a united family and my family. Family is a strong bond and is almost impossible to break.

Regarding the movie, I strongly recommend it. It is a truly compelling movie about the value of brotherhood.

As a side note, I cannot wait for tomorrow. I am anticipating the time when we are all set and ready to leave to New York for the day. I want to learn a lot about Columbia and the city in general.

Now I will take my leave and settle for the day.

The Civil Rights Movement

I apologize for not blogging yesterday. I have a paper due on Friday and I spent all my time trying to start it off and try to get it finished. But yesterday my teacher took our class to the John Rockefeller Library to look at some primary sources from the 1940s and 1950s. We looked through endless amounts of Life magazines with numerous advertisements, articles and photographs. We spent about 40 minutes looking through these magazines and for 20 minutes talking about what we found. I found a couple of ads, but in the end I made a snapshot decision and chose this ad that my friend showed me.

When we got back to class, our teacher started her lecture about the Civil Rights Movement. She discussed the symbols of segregation, such as the "white" and "colored" signs on water fountains, bathrooms, restaurants, hospitals, and many other buildings. She then discussed the origin of the movement in correspondence with the Double V campaign, the March on Washington, and the Highland School. She described the case Brown v. B. of Ed. and told us about the "Doll Test" and how it really helped the NAACP win the case. We talked about how the racism in America made America look bad to the world, since America was based upon the principles of democracy and freedom. We then watched about 20 minutes of Pleasantville and were dismissed for class.

I thought I knew a lot about the Civil Rights Movement from what I had learned from my family and in class. But in reality I didn't know anything about the Double V campaign or the Highland School. I didn't know all the details about Little Rock 9 until I read some chapters of Melba Beals memoir and when we discussed it in class.

This class seems to be teaching me a lot of things that I didn't learn back home. Some of the students talked about how they did certain exercises similar to the "Doll Test." I have never even heard of the "Doll Test", or even performed an exercise trying to imitate it. Overall, I am glad I am taking this course because it is teaching me a lot about an era in our history that is very important. When I return back home and to school, I will ask some of history teachers, mainly US, if they will talk about the things that I didn't learn. Hopefully they will and many more students will have an idea of what else happened in American History.

Posting In Class

Last year I posted once while in class. I don't remember the occasion or the reason why, but I kind of just felt like it. We're in break right now after a lecture on the short-run tradeoff between inflation and unemployment. For the most part everything we're learning in class is pretty logically organized. The tradeoffs are easy to grasp, meaning that all the exchanges that occur make sense.

I wish my class was more discussion based. Everyone else has a class that has more group interaction. On the other hand, my class is lecture based, I sit at my desk and take notes on the presentation my teacher makes. I realize that most of my freshmen classes in college will probably be lecture based, with discussion groups after, but maybe by then I'll grow more accustomed to it.

Last night, I attended a discussion on International Relations (IR) held by a few of the RAs who are taking classes in that concentration. I had already talked to another RA who was taking Econ and IR at the brunch on Sunday, so I thought I had a pretty good idea of what IR had to offer. Still, I wanted to see if any of the other students had questions that I had not asked before.

Turns out, I already knew a lot about what IR is about or what it requires. A lot of the questions were about Brown's Open Curriculum and how IR fits in with that or how AP credits would affect placement. I could see that a lot of the students wanted to see if they could skip classes and get ahead in their studies, which kind of annoyed me, because a lot of the students came off as obnoxious and thought that because they did well on AP tests that they were entitled to skipping classes. However, that's really a personal opinion and taste.

In reality, the RAs explained that Brown usually offered higher placement for AP tests rather than actually "credit", and that because Brown has an open curriculum with no GE's, getting out of a class does give more opportunity to take classes one is interested in, but the advantage is not as much as if one got out of a GE at another university. Also, IR doesn't have as many requisite classes as other majors, something like 10 compared to a science where they may have 14 or so. This combined with the open curriculum really lets students tailor the major to their own interests.

I'm really looking forward to going back to New York tomorrow and visiting Columbia. With all the information that I know now about my personal taste in universities and what I'm looking for in one, I think I can make a better judgement while looking over the city.

Time To Get Serious.

My class Leadership for Social Change, is a very productive class. I learn a lot of things everyday . The CYA (California Youth Authority) is a very important thing that I learned about that I never knew before. The CYA is known for their beatings and abuses, both sexually and physically. The CYA abuses have been going on for years . What I also did yesterday was do a campaign to stop Nike from selling shoes, clothes, shirts etc. because of their use of sweatshop labor. There are sweatshops in places such as Honduras, China, Japan, and even in Thailand. What I really didn't know was that there are other U.S. territories that nobody really knows about that also use sweatshop labor to make clothes and shoes . These include things that say made in U.S. and is really deceiving because you would never think that sweatshop labor would go all the way into the U.S. Immigrants get tricked by corporation owners because they say that the immigrants will get a job, and will be able to live in the U.S. But what they didn't know that the U.S is also United States Territories such as the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan, Guam, Rota etc.) My campaign is based on getting the principal to help support us by sending newsletters, e-mails, phone calls, etc. to parents and probably other schools to inform them on how bad sweatshop labor is, on how they hire even little kids such as Iqbal Masih who escaped child sweatshop labor at a young age and was assasinated at the age of 12 trying to make a difference. I want people to know about how sweatshop workers get paid less then $1 a day, maybe a little over if they are lucky, but still don't have enough money to support their families, even when they work over 60 hours a week. I also want to inform the students about how in the sweatshops it takes only $3 to make the shoes, but we pay over $100. Not only are we getting ripped off, but we are also continuosly buying a new pair of sneakers and that helps supports sweatshop labor. I not only want to help the people in my community, I want to also help suffering people around the world. When I first got here, I was only thinking about myself and talking about things such as buying hats and such, but that's not the issue I should be adressing. I should be focusing more on how I want to make a change, how am I spending my time, and how I can use this time at Brown to my advantage. You don't need power to make a change. There are a childrens groups everyday that make donations, or even make web pages to help eradicate sweatshop labor. When I first got to Brown I didn't think about doing any of this. I thought that just because I didn't have power, just because I wasn't an important person, nobody would listen. Now my thoughts have changed. How did the people making a change get to where they are today? They started off right where i'm at right now, and that's by thinking of ideas. Ideas that not only change my community, but to also change the world. A leader is someone who influences others, and in my opinion makes a difference. I learned that Adolf Hitler is a leader, even if he wiped out millions of Jews. Adolf Hitler had a cause, and people followed his cause, that's a leader. Martin Luther King Jr. had a cause, people followed him because they believed the same thing that he did, he was a leader. Ruth Simmons believed in diversity enough to get over $1 billion, because people believed in her and her cause, that's a leader. Now if I have beliefs, hopes, and dreams that I think will change the world, I KNOW that people will follow. I know that people feel the way I do about getting younger crowds to know about life changing opportunities, such as having a summer at Brown, so that they wouldn't think that they couldn't make it in life, or that they couldn't make a difference. I once thought that too after my junior year. Knowing that football isn't everything, or my grades weren't good enough, was what had me declining even further. I use to sit at home thinking about my future, thinking that I wasn't going to make it. But since I came to Brown, all that is gone, because it's never too late to make a change. This whole trip to Brown is not only about changing the environment, communities, or even the world. It's about changing yourself and knowing who you are and what you can do as a leader. All of these things are up to me, and the only question i have nowadays is,How far am I willing to go?


So it's two thirty in the morning, and I'm still awake. It seems that I haven't quite gotten used to east coast time. Or maybe I just need someone to make me go to bed.

This morning, I headed over to health services to get my blood drawn. I was nervous at first, but it wasn't so bad. They took a test tube worth, which I think is four ml.When we go into the lab, we purified white blood cells from the blood through centrifugation and lysis. It's amazing to think that a week ago I knew nothing about working in a lab and now I'm confidently working. Tomorrow I will even be purifying DNA from my blood.

Also, we looked at the results from a lab we did yesterday, and my cells were some of the only ones in class that grew on a certain plate. This means not only am I now working confidently, I'm also working competently. It's quite comforting seeing as I was struggling so much at the beginning of the course.

Tomorrow should be an exciting day because my building is throwing a party.

Until then,
Joseph Young