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Teachers Invite Hate Groups to Classrooms

The Washington Times was the first to cover on the growing number of teachers who invite members of hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and the Westboro Baptist Church into their classrooms.

Educators say that this kind of class activity allows students “to witness the extreme views such groups espouse and know how to avoid them.”

As for the Worthington Kilbourne High School in Columbus, Ohio, this teaching strategy is a tradition. It began in the 1970’s when their senior classes have to study “U.S. Political thought and Radicalism.” Other topics that students explore are immigration, environmentalism and abortion. Since then, for a few weeks in a semester the students get to interact with hate groups such as the Topeka, Kansas Westboro Baptist Church, a church known for their anti-gay principles and protests for the deaths of American soldiers who died in combat.

School officials explain that such interactions do not intend to endorse or convert students into the groups’ way of thinking. The sole purpose, they say, is to allow young students to identify what an extreme perspective is and learn how to avoid them.

“The kids see through their messages,” said David Strausbaugh, a teacher at Worthington Kilbourne High School. “They know. There’s nobody — nobody — who leaves and says, ‘Boy, we’ve got to join these people.’ That’s why we can bring them in, because we know the kids are going to see them for who they are.”

Apparently, Worthington is not alone. Portland State University in Oregon has a sociology class led by Randy Blazak who invites neo-Nazis to speak before his class about the role function of extremism in society.

“It’s a good idea to know what’s out there,” Mr. Blazak said. “They’re not monsters. They’re human beings, wrestling with their own issues.”

At the Central Michigan University, Professor Timothy Boudreau allows members from Westboro to speak to his journalism class because, he said, it teaches students a powerful lesson about freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment.

“The First Amendment was designed to protect unpopular speech, speech exercised by people we would rather silence or muzzle,” Mr. Boudreau tells his students.

“I don’t endorse them, I don’t agree with them,” he said. “I do, however, support their right to speak and their right to be hateful and their right to offend. Like it or not, that’s their right as Americans.”

Meanwhile, other schools do not allow face-to-face interaction with these hate groups to avoid controversy. They however, permit phone conversation or Skype interaction. Andrea White, a teacher from Badger High School, said that Westboro representatives get to speak to her class via phone and has not ever visited her classroom.

If this kind of teaching method does allow students to snuff out bigotry, then the teachers are on to something. One thing is certain, though, they have to practice care as there could be a black student in their class that can get traumatized when a man wearing a white rob shows up in the class.

A Man To Be Executed For “Accidental” Slaying

“Richard Masterson put to death Wednesday for a killing 15 years ago became the busy death penalty state’s first prisoner executed in 2016.Richard Masterson, 43, was pronounced dead at 6:53 p.m., 25 minutes after the lethal injection began.”

Before we give a sweeping statement regarding the case, let us first look closely at the definition of murder. Oxford dictionary defines murder as, “the unlawful killing of another human being without justification or excuse”. Murder is a serious criminal offense; depending upon the circumstances the person who has convicted murder can be sentenced several years in prison, death or prison until death. Accidental killing, however, is “a death caused by the lawful act done under reasonable belief that no harm was likely to result”.

Recently, Richard Masterson, a Texas Man was put to death due to “accidental killing”, as he claims, of Darin Shane Honeycutt fifteen years ago in 2001. Masterson had made many appeals in front of the jurors and U.S Supreme Court, but his last efforts for the rejection of execution were unheard. He was pronounced dead at 6.53pm on Jan 20, 2016. He was executed as soon as the pentobarbital effect took place; first sending his body into deep snoring and then death. His execution was watched by his family and friends from the watch room.

Richard Masterson met Darin Shane Honeycutt in a club from where they went to Honeycutt’s apartment. Honeycutt used to dress put like a woman and was interested in gay sex. Masterson claimed that while they were having sex, Honeycutt had gone unconscious and fell off the bed. Later Masterson realized that Honeycutt is dead. To flee from courts and investigation, he made Honeycutt’s apartment look like it was burglarized. After killing Honeycutt, he ran away with his car and dumped it in Georgia.

The prosecutors claimed that eight days later, Masterson met a guy at the gay club in Tampa. He tried to strangle him to death during gay sex at his apartment. When he lost his consciousness, Masterson stole his wallet and car. The same way he stole Honeycutt’s car.

Masterson’s attorney, George Gardner, argued that he was abused in childhood and had gone through brain damage. Because of the injury done to his personality during the early years of development, he began using drugs and found pleasure in activities which were at times not acceptable to the society.

According to research conducted by National Bureau of Economic Research, child abuse, and maltreatment can increase the probability of engaging in crimes. Even if two twins, one of which is maltreated when other is not, the criminal behavior may tend to appear in the maltreated twin. The more the child is exposed to different types of maltreatment including the sexual abuse, the more likely it is that the child would show criminal behaviors. A maltreated child may exhibit criminal behaviors as juveniles and as adults.

During the trails, Masterson was bizarre and contradictory. He said, “Everyone has to live and die by their own actions.” 

It was later proved that Masterson deliberately tried killing Honeycutt and succeeded in doing so. He also had a criminal record which provided greater evidence of murder and a greater reason for his execution. Malcolm X says, “To have once been a criminal is no disgrace. To remain a criminal is the disgrace”. His execution was witnessed by his family and friends, but no one from Honeycutt’s side witnessed it.

“I’m all right with this,” he said. “Sometimes you have to live and die by the choices you make. I made mine, and I’m paying for it.”He said he was being sent “to a better place.” He mouthed a kiss to relatives and friends who were watching the execution. Closed his eyes and was put to death.

Racial Demographics of Abortion – The Personhood Amendment Debate

It is said that there is a very high rate of abortion in the U.S. among the black women as compared to white. If we see the figures and try to figure out the number abortions being carried out across the demographics divide of the country, we will be astonished to see how much it has to do with the race. To see how high the abortion rate among black women in comparison to white women is, we can tell that overall white women opted for 138 abortions for every 1000 births last year as compared to the black women who opted for 501 abortions for every 1000 births. To minimize this, the Republicans introduced a Personhood Bill in 2010.

Before we go into the details, it is vital to discuss the background of why such a measure was taken and why people think black women are going to be the prime victimized after this act is passed countrywide. Partly due to the reason that rate of abortions have tremendously increased in the states and according to a survey black women are likely to get four times more abortions than white. It is also important to note that it has nothing to do with hidden agendas or mal intent. It is only to do with popular practices among a certain chunk of the society.

This issue has been highlighted by many organizations. One of such organizations blackgenocide.org has concluded following points on their website:

  1. Minority women make up 13% of the female population aging 15-44 in the U.S., but they have gone approximately 36% of the total abortions.
  2. There are more than five times chances that black women will have an abortion as compared to a white woman in the U.S.
  3. On average, 1,876 black babies are aborted every day in the U.S.

It is true that abortion results in great loss of life. It is estimated that Black women have carried out approximately 16 million abortions since 1973. According to Michael Novak’s calculations, the current population of Blacks in the U.S. is 36 million while the missing 16 million represents an enormous loss. Without these abortions, America’s Black community would now be 52 million which makes it 36% larger than it is now. So like it has caused in cutting down every fourth member of the Black-American community.

The main disadvantage of having abortions is that it tremendously affects the health of the woman who undergoes an abortion. A very profound study done by the Howard University in 1993 showed that African-American women (above the age of 50) had 4.7 times more chances of getting breast cancer if they had any abortions as compared to women who had no abortions.

To change this trend, Personhood Act was initiated as a constitutional amendment in Colorado on 2nd November 2010. According to it, personhood sees every human being from the very beginning of his biological development in the fetus. In definition Personhood law is a law designed to extend the legal concept of “personhood” to pre-born humans. Specifically, this law gives legal status to a person to any fertilized human egg, from conception until birth. Therefore, now this bill is being sought to ban abortion in different states of America.

The law is being re-emphasized since March 2015 when a pregnant woman was attacked in Colorado. This can charge a person with murder who causes a pregnant woman’s fetus to die during its development stages. Although the Colorado voters have rejected it thrice now the government is determined to implement it.

The recent reintroduction of the bill by Republican’s Sen. Paul Rand is claimed that it only attempts to sidestep Birth Control Controversy and varies slightly from the one he first introduced in 2013 stating that it should not be interpreted as “a ban on in vitro fertilization, or a ban on the use of birth control or any other means of preventing fertilization.”

The Republicans are of the view that they want this bill to be implemented because it is not the first time that anyone has attacked a pregnant woman and caused the harm to the fetus. And in the past, there has been a similar bill drafted by Cadman after DynelCatrece Lane aged 34 stabbed Michelle Wilkins and cut the 7-month-old fetus out of her womb. Mother aged 26 survived but the baby couldn’t. Boulder County District Attorney Stanley Garnett filed eight felony charges against the attacker, including attempted murder, a 1st-degree assault and unlawful termination of a pregnancy. But he said he was not able to file murder charges against him because the baby never lived outside the womb.

He further explained that the purpose of his new bill is to ensure that a public prosecutor can file murder charges in such cases irrespective of the age of the fetus. The Republican lawmaker who wrote this bill explained that he was careful to write the law so that it does not affect the right of abortion that is currently being practiced by anyone in the country. It does not apply to an act performed by the mother in pure medical scenarios or to a physician performing a medical procedure or any licensed medical professional upon the request of a pregnant mother or in cases a fetus is harmed during the dispense or administration of the prescribed medication.

However, the Democrats and women’s rights groups have expressed concern that the measure could still be used to charge pregnant women. Because the bill gives personhood right to fetuses. They are concerned that it might open the door to a full prohibition on abortion and even the use of birth control measures in the states. They further are of the view that such bills, whenever passed, could not ensure the protection of women and instead have caused more harm than good. It is more often that low-income women and black women have been charged with such bills, already belong from the most vulnerable populations.

As soon as the legislation was materialized, an Indianan woman, Purvi Patel, aged 33 was sentenced to twenty years in prison for felony neglect and “feticide” after a miscarriage during pregnancy and then dumping the dead fetus. Since then it has become a hot debate and people have shown an overall concern and reservations over this matter.

The Unemployment Insurgent Program

The biggest problem that arises in the lives of workers is unemployment. There is a lack of jobs and not enough work for the youth. A person who does not have a job but actively seeks work to do is known as an unemployed person. Youth unemployment rates are historically high than the adult rates in every country in the world.

There are so many reasons behind unemployment in countries around the globe. The first reason that we come up with is the quality of education. Most of the unemployed people are those who have primary or less education. Although, high education does not always guarantee a good job but it does help in landing a suitable job most of the time! Second is, that companies or offices hire the young workers in temporary forms of work like internships and short-term contracts and when a firm downsizes, it fires these workers.

The unemployed people face so many consequences in their life. What can be more unfair, that they are willing to do work but are not getting any? Unemployment has many direct and indirect impacts on lives of young people and their families. Due to unemployment, many people are becoming victims of depression and anxiety. Crime rate also increases due to unemployment because their needs force them into doing wrong things to earn money.

Unemployment also affects the economic growth of the country as so many people are not working which causes non-productivity. The young people who are at the age of 18- 26 seriously consider migrating to other places in order to find work. As it is not easy to spend life without working and earning because nothing comes in free. Money is such an important part of life as there are so many desires that a person wants to fulfill and without money it is not possible and without a job or work earning money is also not possible.

The rate of unemployment in the United States has increased in last five years. Youth unemployment rate has increased 10 percent more. For solving the problem of unemployed workers, the country provides them with some benefits. These are known as Unemployment Insurance Benefits.

Unemployment insurance is also known as unemployment benefits or unemployment compensation. It is a form of social welfare payments made by the state or other authorized bodies to unemployed people.

In 1932, unemployment insurance was launched in Wisconsin in the United States. The federal government of the United States effectively promoted the individual states to adopt unemployment insurance programs through the Social Security Act of 1935.

Unemployment insurance is organized as a federal-state system and it provides basic income support for unemployed workers rather than retirees. The program is designed to provide limited income replacement to regularly employed members of the labor force who become involuntarily unemployed. It means people who become jobless for a reason other than misconduct. Benefits are paid weekly to workers who are qualified as a matter of right, according to benefits schedules or formulas specified in the law. Benefits eligibility and amounts are related to previous contributions by or on behalf of the worker.

WHO SHOULD AVAIL THIS?

In order to receive benefits payments, a person must meet the unemployment insurance (UI) eligibility requirement. When an unemployment insurance claim request is filed and a certification is submitted all the eligibility requirements must be fulfilled before benefits can be paid by the Employment Development Department (EDD).

An individual who files for unemployment insurance benefits must meet the following eligibility requirements before benefits can be paid. The  individual must:

  • Have worked for at least one quarter in the previous year.
  • Be laid off by an employer.
  • Be unemployed through no misconduct.
  • Be physically able to work.
  • Be available for work.
  • Be ready and willing to immediately accept work.
  • Be actively looking for work.
  • Be approved for training before training benefits can be paid.

Workers who meet these eligibility conditions may still be denied unemployment insurance benefits if they are found to be responsible for their own unemployment. If the worker is receiving certain types of income such as pension, back pay, or workers’ compensation for temporary partial disability, the benefits may be reduced. Unemployment benefits are subject to Federal income taxes.

An individual must certify for benefits by submitting a certification online, over the phone, or by mail. The EDD will schedule a phone interview if the information on the certification shows that the individual did not meet the eligibility requirements. Benefits may be reduced or denied it depends on the information that is obtained from the individual.

BENEFITS OF UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE

The unemployed workers in the United States who are eligible to claim the benefits are given between 40-50 % amounts of their previous pay. These benefits are paid by the state government, the state funds it in large part and by the federal payroll taxes imposed on employers, to the workers who become unemployed without any misconduct of their own. The benefits are based on the quarterly earnings of an individual. The time period and value of an unemployed benefit are determined through the previous amount of earnings and number of quarters a person had worked. Although the maximum time limit of an individual to receive this benefit is 26 weeks.

These benefits are good for unemployed persons and give them support to some extent. And it somewhat helps them.

CONCLUSION

For permanent and temporary workers more balanced employment protection is needed. The country should maintain the level of education. There should be a high and equal level of education in reasonable fee for every individual of the country so that maximum persons could meet the criteria of available jobs. The country should take measures and try to create opportunities for the unemployed population.

Although, Unemployment Insurance scheme is very beneficial and useful for the unemployed workers. The procedure to file a claim is also not difficult and lengthy but yes there are rules and conditions applied. The person should be able to work, willing to work, and should not be responsible for his own unemployment. Otherwise, the individual’s request to claim the benefit will be denied.

The Pros And Cons Of Four-Day School Week – An Attempt To Back Up The Tumbling Finances

Many schools in the United States changed the school week to a four-day week; most also extended each school day by an hour or more. A four-day week is basically an arrangement where a school is attended by students for the course of four days rather than five days. There is no specific day some schools do not have classes on Friday while others prefer to give the students Monday off.

Sometimes, the school week is trimmed to cut down its costs and expenses or for flexible working hours. Other than that, switching to a four-day school week could give children more time for homework and families responsibilities and has the potential to lead to a higher quality education and learning environment.

A study by Tulane University revealed that under a four-day week, teachers were absent less often and faculty turnover was significantly reduced. And students actually behaved better, they were attentive and showed better attitudes under the new system.

PROS OF THE FOUR-DAY SCHOOL WEEK

  1. Cut Down Expenses

Most school districts have changed the school week to a four-day week; to save money on operating costs, including running school buses and paying bus drivers. Schools find that a shortened school week can save up to 2 percent of overall costs, and they don’t have to pay overtime salaries for their supporting staff. While some of the schools who also followed four-day week have reported even higher savings.

  1. Students Performance

People had said that students under four-day school week program will suffer academically. But an early study has revealed that students are responding well, and their academic performance has improved. In another study, the results showed that students in Colorado school District accomplished better grades in a four-day school week rather than five day week.

Students do not skip multiple days, when they know there is a three day weekend coming every week, therefore, attendance increases as well as student’s efficiency.

  1. Sense of Responsibility

A four-day school week is an excellent way to enhance the sense of taking responsibility for your own actions in a child. Although, it is the dream of every student to get an additional day off from school every week, but the four-day school week does not mean that students get a day off from completing homework assignments and preparation for upcoming exams.

More often students will have the ability to study or catch up on homework, especially if they are behind on their work. The extra day off helps the students to figure out the way of learning and allows them to adopt any information absorption method, which suits them best.

  1. Self-Confidence of Students and Teachers

If students and teachers both get the opportunity to get rest and time to figure out their work, then they can cooperate with each other in a better way. A four day school week is better than five days school week because stress levels are less, and it eases the burden of teachers and students both.

Four-day school week decreases the workload of teachers, and it enables the students to receive an improved education without changing the schools. The confidence of students has also improved; they are now able to set their schedule.

 

CONS OF THE FOUR-DAY SCHOOL WEEK

  1. Diminishes Focus

Some students can easily change their routine to four-day school week. They have the ability to get used too, to changes and can take benefit from three day weekend. On the other side, few students learn differently, and they cannot adopt changes quickly.

The people who do not support the system of four-day school week said that this system is sensitive for the students who learn differently and are not able to deal with a four-day school week. This system is best for children who are self-motivated but not for the children who do not learn in the same way. Longer days can cause bad grades for students who cannot concentrate properly.

  1. Child Care Concerns

Every family is not the same they have their own issues and problems. In modern society, most kids have two parents who work or parents who are divorced and share the custody of their child. By this trimmed school week parents have to spend their money on extra expenses for availing child care services during the week.

Because of a four-day school week, parents have to spend their hard earned money for hiring a babysitter to look after their child for the fifth day. The responsibility of the parents who work the full day also increases. Although it’s not easy to handle extra burden.

  1. Less Hands-on Learning

Schools which switched to four-day school week has also extended the time of every class in a day to ensure that students receive the same number of class hours as those in five-day districts. Schools often load heavy academic subjects into mornings, when students are more focused.

There are children who can learn on their own by reading the topic or book several times, but there are other children too who cannot learn on their own. They need a helping hand, and it is important for educators to incorporate hands-on learning into their daily instruction. It is important to remember needs of all the students and ensuring that no student is left behind in the process of learning.

 

Everything has its benefits as well as side effects. Four-day School week is a good system if it is adapted by making several plans and notifying ups and downs which students or teachers are going to face. Where it is useful for students who can learn fast, it is also bad for the students who learn differently and slowly. But with few steps and measures, these problems can be solved. Detractors have their own facts and point of view. But it is important to note that schools should not get blind by extra money which they are saving by trimming the week. They should also pay attention to the level of study and notice every student’s behavior across the week.

Black Lives Matter Movement – Formation, Struggle & Achievements

Whenever marginalized groups are oppressed in any society, are mercilessly discriminated and are not given due rights, their fits of anger and frustrations reach a boiling point and they refuse to be treated like this, ultimately standing up to claim their rights. Hence, giving birth to civil right movements. The US history is filled with rows between black and white Americans which gave rise to some popular civil rights movements led by leaders like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King that protested the oppression of black Americans.

1-Founding

The latest movement of this series is the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement that was born in 2013 when a 17-year-old black teenager by the name of Trayvon Martin was posthumously placed on trial for his own murder while his murderer, George Zimmerman, was not held responsible for the crime that he committed.

Soon it was formulated as an international activist movement by the Afro-American community and has been campaigning against the violence towards black people since its inception in 2013. The movement began with the use of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media and within no time became nationally recognized for its street demonstrations. It gained momentum in 2014 following the deaths of two other African Americans namely Michael Brown and Eric Garner that resulted in massive protest and unrest in Ferguson and New York respectively.

Since the Ferguson protests, participants in the movement have demonstrated against the deaths of numerous other African Americans by police actions or while in police custody. In the summer of 2015, Black Lives Matter began to publicly challenge politicians including the politicians in the 2016 United States Presidential elections to state their positions on the BLM issues. As far as its organizational structure is concerned, overall, the BLM movement is a decentralized network and has no formal hierarchy or structure.

2-Philosophy

According to its founders Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors, the movement draws its inspirations from the following quote by Ella Baker,

“Oppressed people, whatever their level of formal education, have the ability to understand and interpret the world around them, to see the world for what it is, and move to transform it.”

Black Lives Matter is seen as an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.

3-What Does #BlackLivesMatter Mean?

When we say Black Lives Matter, we are broadening the conversation around state violence to include all of the ways in which Black people are intentionally left powerless at the hands of the state. They are talking about the ways in which Black lives are deprived of their basic human rights and dignity. Upon these grounds, the BLM upholds following key agendas:

  • How Black poverty and genocide is state violence?
  • How 2.8 million Black people are locked in cages in this country is state violence.
  • How Black women bearing the burden of a relentless assault on our children and our families is state violence.
  • How Black queer and trans folks bear a unique burden from a hetero-patriarchal society that disposes of us like garbage and simultaneously fetishizes us and profits off of us, and that is state violence.
  • How 500,000 Black people in the US are undocumented immigrants and relegated to the shadows.
  • How Black girls are used as negotiating chips during times of conflict and war.
  • How Black folks living with disabilities and different abilities bear the burden of state-sponsored Darwinian experiments that attempt to squeeze us into boxes of normality defined by white supremacy, and that is state violence.

The BLM’s philosophy revolves around following guiding principles:

  • Diversity

They are committed to acknowledging, respecting and celebrating difference(s) and commonalities.

  • Globalism

They see themselves as a part of the global Black family and are aware of the different ways they are impacted or privileged as Black folk who exist in different parts of the world.

Different syndicates working the very direction are:

Black Women

They are committed to building Black women affirming space free from sexism, misogyny, and male-domination.

Black Villages

They are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, and especially “their” children to the degree that mothers, parents and children are comfortable.

Loving Engagement

They are committed to embodying and practice justice, liberation, and peace in their engagements with each another.

Restorative Justice

They are committed to work collectively, lovingly, courageously and vigorously for the freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension all people. As they forge their path, they intentionally build and nurture a beloved community that is bonded through a beautiful struggle which is restorative and not depleting.

Collective Value

They are guided by the fact all Black lives, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status or location.

Empathy

They are committed to practice empathy by engaging comrades with the intent to learn about and connect with their contexts.

Queer Affirming

They are committed to fostering a queer-affirming network. When they gather, they do so with the intention of freeing themselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking or, rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual unless s/he or they disclose otherwise.

Unapologetically Black

They are unapologetically Black in their positioning. In affirming that Black Lives Matter, they need not qualify their position. To love and desire freedom and justice for themselves is a necessary prerequisite for wanting the same for others.

Transgender-Affirming

They are committed to embrace and making space for transgender brothers and sisters to participate and lead. Since they are committed to being self-reflexive and doing the work required to dismantle cis-gender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black transgender women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.

Black Families

They are committed to making their spaces family-friendly and enable parents to fully participate with their children. With a commitment to dismantle the patriarchal practice that requires mothers to work “double shifts” and requires them to mother in private even as they participate in justice work.

Intergenerational

They are committed to foster an inter-generational and communal network free from ageism. As they believe that all people, regardless of age, have an adequate amount of capacity to lead and learn.

4-Achievements

 As of now BLM has hosted numerous national conferences focussing on the issues that are of critical importance to Black people and claim that they are working hard for the liberation of their people.  They further claim that they have connected people across the country and are working to end the various forms of injustice impacting them. In turn creating space for the celebration and humanization of Black lives.

Former Armed Serviceman Shares Two Tales of Homeless Veterans

Mohammed Salarbux of the Huffingtonpost shared his experiences as a National Guard and the time he spends on a food pantry. One of his earlier realizations about being in the armed services came from a suicide attempt by a fellow National Guard recruit in a bathroom next to his stall. He said the incident taught him, “Our armed services are just like most of us: haunted by emotions from our past that sometimes morph into actions that can leave our loved ones puzzled.”

Unexpectedly while serving in the food pantry years later, he’d have a few more interesting life stories from other veterans who unluckily ended up homeless and needy. He said that one of the most noteworthy visitors that their soup kitchen had was a veteran they only know of as Steve. It was just last summer when Steve started visiting their pantry, he recalled. During the man’s first visit, he was limping and barely able to walk. The first thing the man did was to find the nearest chair available and rest his battered feet which was unlike other visitors who would come and feed their empty stomachs first. Upon close inspection, Salarbux noticed that the man appears to have walked for miles with nothing but worn-out plastic slippers. When they attended to the man, the man begged for any used pair of shoes.

Fortunately, the pantry has a pair of old shoes which was donated to them. Steve’s eyes welled up in tears upon receiving the shoes followed by relentless thanks and praises. Since then, Steve has been occasionally appearing at the food pantry.

One cold morning around Christmas, Steve arrived at the food pantry wearing several layers of shirts. Salarbux came up to him that day and asked Steve, “How do you keep warm? Do you have a jacket? Do you have at least a blanket?”

In response, Steve pulled up his shirts and said, “All I have is this plastic under my clothes.” That day, Steve got an early Christmas gift of a new winter coat and a new blanket.

Apart from Steve, the food pantry located at second floor of a building in the Pine Hill’s area of Orlando has another veteran guest. The man’s name is Tony, a 15-year veteran, who fell through the cracks due to domestic problems.

Presently, Tony is receiving livelihood training assistance from the Veterans Association. The organization is funding his studies to become an electrician. However in his current state, he finds it difficult to come up with the fare to get to his classes. Momentarily, he has been continually searching for a job in local restaurants or businesses but not one has even given him the chance to face an interview.

“A sad reality of our system today is that, when someone falls through the cracks, there are no safety nets for them, so that his/her life just continues to spiral downward out of control,” Salarbux discussed what Tony’s story tell us about.

He explained that the story he wrote about the lives of this two men do not intend to put into bad light the military or any agencies. He wishes that the story of the two veterans will “touch others and move them to be more conscious about donating to their local food pantry. Most of us could easily go through our closet and realize there are many things we no longer need. Old shoes or clothing sitting around maybe donated to others who will be more than happy to have our discarded clothing.”

He said if no one has donated that old pair of shoes the day that Steve came to the food pantry; the man wouldn’t have walked out of there happy and hopeful.

Clinton Fears Black Vote Will be Doomed

Hillary Rodham Clinton was at the 100th Anniversary of the Delta Sigma Theta, a historically black women’s organization. In her speech, she told the members of the future of the Voting Rights Act. She called the Supreme Court’s decision to kill part of the law a “real jeopardy.” She said the Congress must act to preserve “fairness and equality” in the electoral system.

At the conclusion of her 30-minute speech, 14,000 members gave her celebratory chants of “Run, Hillary, Run.”

Clinton, who may well be the next presidential candidate in 2016, said that the SC decision “struck at the heart” of the landmark law and it threatens the right of any Americans to cast their vote.

“Unless Congress acts, you know and I know, more obstacles are on their way,” Clinton said, walking freely on stage instead of confining herself at the podium. “They’re going to make it difficult for poor people, elderly people, working people, minority people to be able to do what we should take for granted.”

In June, the Supreme Court trashed a key component of the Voting Rights Act. It killed the federal government’s ability to secure a fair election in all or parts of the 15 states with a history of discrimination. The stipulations that were removed required those states to seek approval before electoral changes are implemented.

Civil rights groups have been displeased with the decision claiming that it could disenfranchise groups of voters in the next election.

“Now the law’s future is in real jeopardy and so are the rights of millions of Americans,” Clinton said.

She didn’t express or hinted any plans to run for any political post. She said she will dedicate her time on campaigns that focus on early childhood development, women’s rights and economic development in her new role in her family’s presidential foundation.

In her speech, she highlighted the importance of the black vote. Such has made it possible for her husband to win the election and Barack Obama twice. The same could be true if she would also run for the presidency in 2016.

“I want to make sure that in the next election and the next election and the next and every one after that, people line up to vote and they vote regardless of those who may not want to count their vote or acknowledge their right to vote,” she said.

Punitive Attitudes & Racial Typification – The Setting In Trend Of Racially Typifying Individuals In US

America is facing a lot of social issues these days, whether it’s the field of education or employment, the most critical issue is the racial typification and the punitive attitude of the American people towards these racially typified individuals.

 According to Letty Cottin Pogrebin,

 “America is a nation fundamentally ambivalent about its children, often afraid of its children and frequently punitive towards its children.”

 

The word “punitive” refers to inflicting punishment in a very severe or unfair way. Thus, the term “punitive attitude” means to have a punishing, severe or unfair attitude towards someone or something or some matter.

Racial typification, as a term, can be defined as the act of representing or typifying something; some act, attitude or characteristic on the basis of one’s race. It is one of the most critical issues of the American society.

Racial typification is generally used in terms of criminal justice system and the crime typification in the USA. According to a dissertation written by Kelly Welch in 2002, it is believed that the American criminal justice system is the most punitive justice system in the world.

According to her survey and research, the punishing policy adopted by the American criminal justice system is quite brutal. But the sad part is that the public seems to support these policies without any remorse.

In her research, she says that the general public seems to blame the black people for most of the criminal activities; the blacks are being typified as criminals. This typification is caused by a number of factors; media representation of the blacks as criminals on certain crime dramas or serials, punitive attitudes of the general public and their racial prejudice.

She says in her report,

“Findings support the initial hypothesis of this research. Those who typify blacks as criminals are significantly more punitive in their criminal justice policy preferences than those who do not share similar racial perceptions. The relationship appears to be especially relevant for whites, and particularly for whites who are non-Southerners, less racially prejudiced, less concerned about crime, perceive crime to be less violent, and conservative. “

She further explains,

“Results indicate that watching more local television news increases the black typification of crime for minorities, while whites typify crime as a black phenomenon more when they pay closer attention to television crime news. In addition, the present analyses show that media consumption is not indirectly associated with punitive attitudes through the racial typification of crime.”

The fragments of the report, give us an idea about the racial typification of crime and the possible causes behind this phenomenon, but they don’t fully elaborate the theory behind this punitive and biased attitude of the general public.

Racial typification not only affects the lives and future prospects of the community being typified but it also creates opportunities for the extremists to disrupt the peace and harmony of a state.

According to me, one of the most basic reasons behind this punitive attitude and racial typification of crime is racism or racial prejudice.

In order to understand the reason behind the punitive attitude of the people towards criminals or crime suspects and the racial typification of crime, we shall go through another research paper.

The Research was based on the results of an earlier research conducted in the nineties (Roberts and Doob, 1990; Surette, 1998).It focuses on the relationship between media consumption and the attitude of the general public.

Kelly Welch, in her dissertation paper, mentioned that “media consumption is not indirectly associated with punitive attitudes through the racial typification of crime.” This simply means that the relationship between media consumption and the attitude of the general public is direct; the more media consumption of criminological dramas and stories, the more will be the severity of the people towards crime issues.

The report starts with the statement that people get most of the awareness of crime and justice issues from the media. There are specified crime channels where only crime based dramas and series are run. People who watch news on the television or radio or are fond of watching crime and justice dramas are more aware of the dangers of the world. These people are more likely to develop a fear of crime and lead extra careful and cautious lives. The main focus of the paper is the impact of media consumption on one’s:

  • Fear of Crime
  • Punitive Attitude
  • Perception of police effectiveness.

According to the report,

“Employing OLS regression, the results indicate that respondents who are regular viewers of crime drama are more likely to fear crime. However, the relationship is weak. Furthermore, the results indicate that gender, education, income, age, perceived neighborhood problems and police effectiveness are statistically related to fear of crime. In addition, fear of crime, income, marital status, race, and education are statistically related to punitive attitudes. Finally, age, fear of crime, race, and perceived neighborhood problems are statistically related to perceived police effectiveness.”

We all have our unique fears. Some fears are as harmless as a fly while others are the fears about the gravest realities of life.

The research has proved that people who watch news or crime based dramas on a regular basis are more prone to developing a fear of crime.

Crime talks are also quite common in the western world. Crime dramas get more viewer ratings than any other genre. That is why it is believed that most of the awareness about crime issues comes from the media.

“Ignorance is bliss.” So goes the saying. People who don’t watch crime dramas are less likely to develop a cautious attitude towards their surroundings.

Media consumption also affects the public perception of police effectiveness. Generally there are two perceptions about the police. Crime dramas represent the police as honest and sincere officers who spend their entire lives trying to protect their fellow men. While the daily newspapers and broadcasts represent policemen as dishonest and incompetent officials. Although the general attitude of the people is quite positive and they seem satisfied with the police. Yet there are people who are not satisfied with the criminal justice policies.

Similarly, when it comes to racial typification, research shows that crime dramas have typified the black as the criminals. So the general attitude towards the minority has changed. And so the society adopts a punitive attitude towards the typified race.

Another issue with the media consumption is that the crime dramas seem so real and violent, that a person develops a fear of being victimized. Especially, if there is news about a crime in a particular area, the people living that area will take more safety precautions than those living in some other place. These days, people are more afraid of being sexually assaulted, beaten up or murdered especially if they live in an area where such crimes occur on a daily basis. The fear gets so high that people feel dissatisfied with the performance of the police.

If a particular racial or gender group is being victimized by the opposite gender or racial group, the former group will be typified as a victim while the later as a criminal. Thus, the conflicts between the two groups will rise and public will develop a more punitive attitude towards the suspected criminal.

According to this research,

“Police effectiveness, fear of crime and punitive attitudes are important aspects of public attitudes toward crime and justice in the United States. First, police strategies reflect departmental values, which reflect community values. Negative or positive attitudes towards the police may influence police policy making and strategy. Second, citizen attitudes toward the police may influence decisions to report crime. Third, both fear of crime and punitive attitudes may influence policy making and law making by government agencies, as public support or opposition may determine policy.”

The results of the report state a number of factors that determine the punitive attitudes of the people towards crime and justice policy of the United States of America and the public opinion of the effectiveness of the American police. For example, race, income level, gender, education level, location and media consumption etc.

“The results indicate that white, married, and low-income (15k to 30k) respondents are more likely to have punitive attitudes, whereas black, college educated, and respondents with low appraisals of police effectiveness are less likely to have punitive attitudes. The results also indicate that older respondents, males and respondents with low perception of neighborhood problems are more likely to have low fear of crime, whereas, younger respondents, female, Hispanic, college-educated and respondents with low appraisals of police effectiveness are more likely to fear crime. Finally, bivariate results suggest that Hispanic, African-American, urban, and younger respondents are more likely to have negative or low appraisals of police effectiveness. Conversely, respondents with punitive attitudes, with a medium income (30k to 60k), older, white, with low perceptions of neighborhood problems are more likely to have positive or high appraisals of police effectiveness. However, there may be a number of factors that mitigate or enhance the relationships. Thus, it is necessary to conduct multivariate techniques to further address these relationships.”

The report closes with the following conclusion:

“Regular viewers of crime shows are more likely to fear crime. Although statistically significant, the strength of this finding is minimal. In addition, there are a few limitations with regard to the measures of media consumption. First, the type of crime show that the respondent is viewing is unknown. There are numerous types of crime shows that may focus on different aspects of the criminal justice system. For example, crime shows may focus on police, courts, private investigators, defense lawyers and sometimes even the criminals. In addition, some shows are more realistic, while others routinely portray violence, and consistently misinform viewers about the nature of the criminal justice system and criminality. It would be prudent to know which dramas the respondents are viewing. Second, employing television hours watched is problematic, since there is no way of determining what type of programs the respondent is viewing. There are a number of different programs that may or may not address criminal justice issues and address them in substantially different ways. Finally, examining newspapers as the primary source of crime news suggests that only newspapers influence respondents. It would be naive to suggest that respondents are not affected by a number of sources; for example, respondents who receive their primary crime news from newspapers may also be affected by presentations of crime from other sources such as films, television and/or personal experiences.”

Conclusion:

What I understand from the above-mentioned reports is that punitive attitudes and racial typification rise from our fears of crime and victimization and our dissatisfaction with the justice policy. We need to understand that the acts of a person cannot be used to define his entire nation. Just as there are good white people, so are there bad ones too. Same is the case with other racial groups. Virtue cannot be attributed to a single class of people. The crime dramas represent the criminals as insensitive and monstrous people who get pleasure in hurting and killing others. That’s why people develop a feeling of fear and hostility towards the criminals or crime suspects. This fear and hostility is the main reason behind the punitive attitudes of the general public. We should remember that crime needs to be eradicated, not the criminals.

The most basic cause of these attitudes is racism. If there is no racism, there will be no fears of being victimized by the opposite racial groups. We should erase the concept of racism from our minds. The need of the hour is to define each other not on the basis of race or gender but on the basis of humanity.

In the words of Martin Luther King Jr,

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality…I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”

Gender Crimes In USA – The Duplicate Face of Hate and Wickedness

God created the Universe and then sent Humans to populate it, decorate it and enjoy the blessings bestowed on them by their creationist. He created relations, families, friends, all for humans to endure and adore. However, humans divided themselves into boundaries, religions, casts and cultures; destroyed and misused his environment and even destroyed the beautiful gender distinction. Male and female who were made to complement each other, grew apart, started disliking one another, and even became sworn enemies in some cases. This gave birth to multiple issues, one of the most prominent of them being Gender Crimes or Hate Crimes.

Crimes committed against a specific gender are termed as Gender Crimes; these include rape, forced prostitution, and many more. Gender crimes, in today’s world are not just because of hatred but are a source of putting a particular gender down, seeking revenge, generating profits and even seeking pleasure. Lately, many countries including USA are including gender crimes as categories in federal and state hate laws. However, in many parts of the world, gender crimes are usually not listed under hate crimes, they’re most commonly considered to be war crimes – the gender crimes committed during conflicts and wars like the Rwandan Genocide and Yugoslavian Civil War etc.

RAPES

The Department of Justice of the USA defines Rape as “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim”. To be more specific, rape is forced act of sexual penetration without the consensus of the target. Rape can be of various types including marital rapes, prison rapes, gang rapes etc. Though, despite of being one of the most common crime, is underreported as the victim is usually threatened and pressurized by the rapist or even his/ her own family and surroundings, in US, only 34.8% of the total number of sexual assaults were reported in 2013. The total number of rapes reported in USA in the year 2013, were 173,600+.

Despite popular beliefs, women aren’t the only victims of this hideous crime, it has been reported that 38% of rapes and sexual assaults are against men. However, rapes in men are even more underreported than those in women, because in addition to the external of respect, male ego is used as a tool to prevent the male victims from reporting this crime.

FEMICIDE

Femicide is defined as the killing of women by men due to various reasons, including cultural, religious and personal reasons. Author Diana Russell describes femicide as “the killing of females by males because they are females”. These killings are powered by various reasons including misogyny, domestic violence, sexual pleasure, sense of superiority and many more. There are various types of femicide including serial femicide, intimate partner femicide, corrective rape, lesbicide, racist Femicide etc.

Femicide in the USA kills over 1300 women every year. Usually, the reported cases of femicide have long and torturous histories of domestic violence, rapes and forced prostitutions. Although, the entire nation of the United States is affected by the virus of femicide, the Southeast and Southwest parts of the country are the biggest contributors to the statistics. Sadly, over 73% of the reported Femicide cases in the USA take place inside the women’s house or includes some blood relative, husband, in laws or lover of the victim.

HONOUR KILLING

The murder of a person by the members of his/ her family as a punishment of deviation from the family’s traditions or expectations is called honour killing. The victims of these killings are accused with non-conformity to the family’s anticipations or bringing shame and disgrace to the family’s name and prestige. The reason behind these killings can be as big as infidelity, eloping, homosexuality or as small as refusing to an arranged marriage, inappropriate dressing, addictions, seeking divorce. Often rape victims are murdered by their own families as they are believed to be a source of humiliation and indignity for them, as their dignities and piousness has been compromised.

In the USA, honour killings are viewed under the umbrella of domestic killings, and hence, making it very difficult to discourage or prevent it properly. However, it is reported that almost 90% of the honour killings in the USA involve Muslim families, and the usual causes of the crime include unacceptable western lifestyle of kids, marriage or liking outside of religion, conversion to other religions, refusing arranged marriage, live in or intimate relationships and many more.

FORCED PROSTITUTION

Forced or involuntary prostitution is referred to as the act of forcing or luring a person into prostitution by a third party against their will. It’s not uncommon for people to capture and force women into prostitution, in fact every year over 70,000 women are brought into the US against their will and are baited into prostitution. Different mediums including false promises and fake job opportunities are used to entice poor, innocent women. In the modern day US, media is the most commonly used tool for these kinds of shameful acts.

In USA, the girls that are forced into prostitution are as young as 12 to 14 years as reported by EPCAT USA – an organization working against human-trafficking and child prostitution. Sometimes, the reported age of girls forced into this demining act is as young as 7 to 9 years.

Gender crimes are a shame to our society, they are a big contributor to the reason why people aren’t safe even inside the boundaries of their own house, why people have a hard time trusting their own shadow, why people are on a watch out even for their family members, why people are afraid to live their lives the way they want. And even if a person survives these hideous crimes, the incident is imprinted on their minds and souls for the rest of their lives, and our society, instead of supporting these people and helping them live a normal life, look down upon them. If we really want our society to emerge, we need to hold hands and walk towards the day where there’ll be no crimes, no discrimination and no negativity.