Thursday, February 19, 2015

The story of Roger Ebert

Last week Ms. Mystrena introduced the concept of commemorating time to show off an amazing person that might be unknown to the rest of the audience. In doing so, she effectively chose a specific movie critic who was affected by cancer in sad ways, who is otherwise known as Roger Ebert. 
With his story I have learned that I must value everything I have and even if I ever lose something I shouldn't waste my time grieving about something I cannot have again, but I must pursue my life with positivity. 
In his blog, ¨all the lonely people¨, he says ¨What do lonely people desire? Companionship. Love. Recognition. Entertainment. Camaraderie. Distraction.¨ I read that sentence and I realized  I desire many of those nouns. I also realized that in even when I might be surrounded by millions of people I sometimes feel completely alone. But on the other hand, he discussed the impact of the internet and its expressed when he said ¨now I see that all relationships are virtual, even those that take place in person¨. The internet has so much influence on our society and most relationships in this age have the use of technology to show their love and/or communicate and I agree with that because I feel like some people could be losing their compassion because they use a cellular device to show their emotions. 
On another note, I had never heard about Roger Ebert prior to her introduction, so it was truly touching in that moment to see how he fought his battles and it was such an inspiration to keep working hard and appreciate what you have because one day you could lose it all. But the difference with Ebert's story is that his disability didn't make me feel as much pity for him but more so admiration because he handled his situation in such a way that I never would have been able to.
I believe it's important to keep in mind that people with disabilities shouldn't automatically seem weak because the way they overcome their tough battles makes them the strongest people I've ever seen.  With this story I found it very noteworthy that Ebert still viewed life with such optimism even though he could have been internally struggling. It is true that I wish I could change certain things about my life, but I also take my life for granted when I have so many privileges that some people don't have. I know if I had ever lost the ability to speak or eat, I would be very emotional all the time about what I lost. But Ebert thought about what more he can give to the world with everything that he has lost. Roger Ebert lost certain abilities yet he was more positive than I have ever been in my entire life and I respect that mindset a lot.

Friday, January 30, 2015


In class we began to discuss the many sub levels of Racism such as intersectionality, white privilege, cultural appropriation and so on. There are in fact so many types because this sort of discrimination is an inevitable consequence of our world's actions. No matter what country we may visit, racism will always exist among the masses, ranging from various levels of it. Racism is a result of judging someone just by first glance and not being able to completely understand who they are. People who are openly racist and seem to be proud of who they are, are really the opposite because they are too afraid to tolerate difference. These people need to categorize other races as "inferior" just so they can feel higher than everyone else. But if the lower races were to ever disappear, the true cowardice of these discriminators would be exposed to the world because they heavily rely on putting another race down because they can't signify anything good about themselves. These remarks aren't necessarily about one race in specifically but about all of them. Racism isn't chosen by a specific group of people, but individuals of every race are racist, which is truly unfortunate because there isn't a single group of people that completely consists of beings who are willing to accept the people of the very world they inhabit.

Specifically because of America's past, the concept of racial discrimination may be instilled in the hearts of many people who are still following the mindsets of their so called "ideals" of the past times.With the event of Slavery as one of our nations biggest racial occurrences in history, there is unfortunately clear racism in how white people and black people treat each other. Even after the Civil Rights Movement and then the final recollection of African American rights, there is still active racism that occurs to this day in many kinds of forms. Many people assume that America is the sole country that wouldn't be influenced with racism as much because we seem to be more accepting of various cultures and traditions, but there is a great deal of racism within our own country to this date.  An example of racism in its truest form is the incident with Eric Garner. There was video surveillance that provided proof to the rest of America that our country is still in the midst of a racial crisis. While we watched the video in class, I personally became really upset with what I just witnessed. In fact later that night my dad and I had a very long conversation about this current event and what it meant for the future of America. I honestly felt ashamed that we live in a country where police officers could easily abuse their power against harmless victims of their violence. But what really made me furious was that the Grand Jury decided not to indict the officer that choked Garner to death, even after he helplessly repeated "I can't breathe" about eleven times. I just felt that it was unfair that the officer really had no reason to push him onto the ground and choke him because all Garner said was that he didn't want to be touched and harassed, yet they ended up killing him. The whole situation of Garner and the unfair ruling, along with other really unfortunate cases such as Michael Brown and Tamir Rice, really supports the fact that racism is evident in the United States and it is not okay.

Another topic that was introduced to the class was Colorism. I personally don't favor people just because they have lighter skin than others, but people, especially in my culture show importance to a more fair complexion. When Nandhini discussed this topic I was able to connect myself because I have witnessed this issue in India. All over the roads of India, there would be huge posters of women with fair complexion showing off the fact that they were fair because these posters would usually be advertisements for a product that made individuals look lighter. For example, there is a product called Fair and Lovely, and about every Indian might know what it is because its such a popular product in India. There are so many advertisements that come on the TV that start off by portraying the actress as "ugly" just because she has darker skin. But with the product, she magically turns into an angelic and beautiful figure just because it supposedly strips her of the darkness that many people in my own culture find disgusting. I personally believe that being dark doesn't make anyone ugly at all and being fair doesn't have to be the prettiest attribute to an individual's appearance. Fair and Lovely doesn't even work its basically a lotion that has some sort of powder in it and it looks really pasty when it is applied. But that is besides the point. Colorism shows that there is a specific discrimination within one race itself just based on the shades of the skin. People from South India tend to be darker than people from the North, so I have witnessed myself that other Indians don't believe an individual if she says she's south Indian but she has a fair complexion, just because that's so uncommon. But why should that even matter in the first place? Even my own mother tells me that I shouldn't spend too much time out in the sun because of the risk of becoming dark. Why does being dark have to be a consequence? Many relatives have also come up to me and said I that I used to be much lighter as a child and I have drastically changed my skin color, but they still hold onto the hope that I will indeed become lighter like I used to be. How does that even seem like a relevant issue at all? Shades of skin should not determine if one is beautiful or not, people with racist eyes don't know what real beauty is. 

I can really relate to the quote Ms. Mystrena put in her blog post, especially because I have a similar quote on my wall that says "We must become the change we want to see" (Mahatma Gandhi). I believe that if we want a change to happen we must make it happen ourselves. We can't just wait for change to occur because what if everyone decides to just wait it out and nothing happens. We must find a way to relieve the racial tensions of the country and prevent further atrocities from occurring. But to conclude about Racism, I'd like to say that there is a fine line between being proud of who you are versus having a reason to convolute pride into something as hateful as torturing another race for your own selfish reasons. Being racist is not something anyone should be proud of, and in my opinion having such vengeful perceptions of the people around you purely because of how they look to you, is a flaw that definetely isn't worthy of appreciation.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Passion Project Update #2

Within the time frame of my last blog post and this one, Nandhini and I have made significant progress with our zine. The beauty of this project enables us to work freely so we've passionately created mini zines, paintings and drawings. We're looking into more concepts that can be included to give the Zine more variation as well. Nandhini also mentioned that she contacted an artist in Georgia so we're pleased to engage in a trade. Hopefully by the next blog post we'll have her zine for inspiration. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Passion Project: Reflections on your progress

Nandhini, Trinity and I are collectively working to make another zine. We will be incorporating various topics into this zine such as homemade art, poetry and Feminism. In the past 2 weeks we have made several paintings and works of art that will be included in this zine. We are hopeful that this zine will be full of expression and life. This zine will be a tool to display our personalities and what interests us. I'm excited to engage myself in this previously explored project that was done by Nandhini, Trinity and Abhishek.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Is an empathetic society within our reach or is it merely intangible?

After viewing Jeremy Rifkin's "The Empathetic Civilization" our class began to discuss the barriers that were holding empathy back from solving our problems. We discussed major issues that were inflicting our world such as hunger, terrorism, illness, super-patriotism and many many others. Rifkin discussed various aspects of empathy in his video, but something in particular stuck out to me. He mentioned that countries are just fictions. I found this intriguing because we live in a world where every country has its own sense of pride and nationalism and Rifkin included a topic that questions their existence. A question that was raised by this concept is what makes us "American" or any other classification besides the fact that we reside in those specific countries. For example, if a patriotic american were to move to another foreign country he/she would no longer be an American but an alien to the country as others are claimed to be. We can't help our worldwide divisions, but while these factions might allow the people within it become closer, at the same time they are cut off from the rest of the world. Even in our own individual schools we act differently with the other grades. The upperclassmen might ridicule the underclassmen for their behavior or immaturity just because they feel superior to these "inferior" grades. I am not blaming anyone, as I am guilty myself, but it's just something we can't help.
Think about our world as a bar graph, while each group/separation is another bar. Would you ever think to connect the dots on a bar graph? No, because there is nothing to connect. In comparison, it would be pointless in ever trying to connect our groups because we can't join something that was never one.
It's sad to say but imagining an empathetic society is all we can do. A world full of peace is simply unattainable. Part of our human nature is to want what we can't have, because not having something drives us to desire it more. But if one day we were to obtain this empathy, would we still want it and use it to our advantage? Or would we just abandon the thought and move onto something else?
We cannot engineer humans to have this specific mindset because of the fact that we are flawed beings. We have the capability to act with selfless generosity but also insensitivity to others, it just depends on our mood. It seems as if when everything is going well in our lives that's when we would be kind to others. On the contrary, when bad events control people they can't feel for others because they are too busy battling with themselves to compliment others. So unless we find a way to ensure that everything that happens to us is good, then only will we be able to try to even gain this sort of society.
On the other hand there is always that possibility that our world can have too much empathy. Let's say our world somehow achieved this empathetic society, wouldn't this sense of empathy drive everyone's lives? Soon enough everyone would just start to feel bad for everyone else and there would be no space for any of the other positive emotions that define mankind. Empathy would wire itself into our brains up to the point where we would only see what a person has lost and not what they have gained. With everyone being empathetic there would be no room for positive criticism and commentary that could make someone improve because people would just tell people that everything is perfect when in reality every aspect could be flawed. We might see something healthy but think it's diseased and try to cure it with empathy as if it's medicine.
But sometimes empathy just isn't enough. Empathy just means we are able to feel for another person and share the same feelings. However crying over something will not solve the problem. Even if we were to gain universal empathy, everyone will indeed feel bad for each other but will each individual do something about what is going on? Most people can be persuaded to help but there will always be that group of people that just won't or can't do anything about it, even if they do care. People might be emotionally or financially unstable to help a cause which expands into more problems even after empathy could be achieved. Empathy is something that should be felt by us humans and indeed people should become more empathetic but depending on empathy to solve our problems just doesn't make sense because part of living life is battling our problems. What is success if we never fought for it?