We Can’t Breathe

There is so much that can be said about Ferguson and the blatant racial injustices in this country. Before college, I was fortunate enough to never experience blatant racism before and was blissfully ignorant to its sustained existence. I’ve had friends tell me about racist experiences, and now I have witnessed them for myself. I am completely appalled by the fact that the murderers of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Deion Fludd, Kimani Gray, Malissa Williams, Timothy Russell, Reynaldo Cuevas, Andy Lopez, Jordan Baker, Tamir Rice, Dante Parker, Tyree Woodson, Victor White III, Yvette Smith, McKenzie Cochran, Miriam Carey, Jonathan Ferrell, Carlos Alcis, Larry Eugene Jackson and the thousands of other murderers of black lives are getting away…WELL WITH MURDER! And that’s just a part of the list of people who have died THIS YEAR ALONE! From the racist comments I’ve seen on yik yak, to the complete insensitivity from Wagner and several Emory Professors, I can’t believe Emory calls itself a “liberal community”.

But I digress because I could go on forever. One hashtag that has been spurring as a result of these incidents is #wecantbreathe or #Icantbreathe.

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Myself and several other students on campus are actively protesting and showing support for these victims and their families and overall just trying to educate and put an end to the racial prejudice that has gone on for far too long.

Below is a pick me and several undergrads, law students, students from Rollins and and several other Emory schools took.

10635755_10152395099616783_6163381379865728187_nEven celebrities like Lebron are taking a stand. I especially love all the posts from around the world and how the world is uniting to fight for justice. Yes I agree that some protesters took it too far with looting and blocking highways.

la_a_kobe01jr_C_300x200However, while some are in their beds resting and chilling peacefully with their families, others are simultaneously fighting for their right to LIVE! on a DAILY basis!

Lebron says:

“I think the beauty of our country lies in its democracy. I think if we ever lose the courage to be able to speak up for the things that we believe in, I think we really lose the value that our country stands for.

“It’s important that we have our opinions. It’s important that we stand up for what we believe in and we all don’t have to agree with it and it’s completely fine. That’s what makes this a beautiful country.”

http://espn.go.com/losangeles/nba/story/_/id/12007630/kobe-bryant-los-angeles-lakers-wear-breathe-shirts-warmup

I respect celebrities like Lebron and even these Rams players who had to APOLOGIZE for exercising their first amendment rights? The teams business manager stated,”I’d remind the NFL and their players that it is not the violent thugs burning down buildings that buy their advertiser’s products.”  Because apparently, capitalism and consumerism is more important than justice. -______-

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/30/st-louis-police-rams-hands-up_n_6245792.html

This Friday there are Emory buses providing students with rides to join the National March Against Police Violence in Washington D.C. Marypat Hector the National Youth Director for the National Action Network has agreed to provide transportation free of charge for Emory students who wish to attend the march.

The buses will depart from Woodruff Circle at 6:30 PM SHARP with plans to arrive in Washington, DC at 8:00AM. At the conclusion of the march, students will be transported back to Emory University. You should arrive back to Emory University on Sunday morning no later than 5AM.

Food will not be provided, but the vans will make periodic stops for participants to purchase food and use the restroom.

Please do not sign up to ride unless you are absolutely sure you can attend. The deadline to sign up is Thursday, Dec 11th at 8AM.

Unfortunately, history has repeated itself…or has BEEN on repeat it seems. Hopefully the tape will stop playing before my children and yours are brought into this world.

Here’s a link to National March event on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/493654010777403/494578664018271/?notif_t=plan_mall_activity

 

 

The Museum of Gabby

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In the museum of Gabby, the first thing you can see before you can even enter my room is the Jamaican flag. The flag is positioned so that if you walk by my room, my flag will immediately catch your attention.The flag is pretty large and it covers about 50% of this small wall between my window and my closet. The flag lets people know that I am clearly Jamaican and also lets them know how proud I am to be Jamaican. I think it’s interesting that I don’t have flags of China, Ireland, Scotland, or India because those countries are just as important to my heritage. Instead I just have one big flag of Jamaica and that’s probably because that’s where both of my parents were born so I feel closer to the Jamaican part of my heritage.

Waiting to be Heard

amanda-knox-300I had heard about Amanda’s story prior to the lecture by Dr. Duncan, but I never knew it was this ridiculous. Amanda’s cell being raided by the Italian police and having her sexual history and health information released to the public seemed like it should be illegal. Whether she’s guilty or not, such information should have never been released without her consent. I think it has to be even more difficult being featured in the news of three different countries, probably even more. Since there was no DNA evidence linking Amanda to her roommate’s murder, I think that Amanda being in jail for four years was probably the most ridiculous part of all. I can’t remember who, but I recall someone saying in class that Amanda would’ve been much better off if she was ugly. Yes Amanda could have looked more presentable in court, but how someone looks should never be used as a basis for his or her character. Amanda’s story is a very good example of connotation and how meanings and symbols can be misconstrued in one country and deemed acceptable somewhere else simply because of historical and social context.

 

Loathe and Hip Hop

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Last week we were asked to talk about a TV series that we love and what it is about that TV show that keeps us watching. But one TV show that I don’t find entertaining at all (I don’t know why it’s still being aired) is Love and Hip Hop. I detest the way black people are portrayed on the show. If you go on Youtube and type in “Love and Hip Hop”, and click on any episode, you will see violence, anger and loudness, which are all negative stereotypes of the black community. I think I just detest bad reality television in general. Other shows like Bad Girls Club and Real Housewives put the same bad taste in my mouth. “Reality” television still doesn’t even live up to its name because people rarely act like this in the real world. Or at least in the real world, the kind of behavior portrayed on these shows would be seen as ill-mannered or uncouth. While I strongly detest this show, I think it’s so popular because the behavior depicted is so taboo.

Love and Hip Hop Hollywood

Grey’s Anatomy

I LOOOOOOOOOVE Grey’s Anatomy! I didn’t start watching it until last year I think, but I am definitely addicted. I do not mind procrastinating if it means I get to watch Grey’s Anatomy, and sometimes me and my friends joke that it’s a way of studying for the MCATs, so we’re not really procrastinating. The main appeal from the show stems from the fact that I desire to pursue a career in medicine one day, possibly emergency medicine, trauma, or some type of surgery. So seeing all the different cases on the show (the gory ones are my favorite..basically every episode) definitely requires some self-reflection every time I watch. I often ask myself, “Could I handle doing that? Would I do what so-and-so just did?” I especially love the bioethics sometimes thrown into a few episodes here and there.

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That being said, I think regardless of whether you want to be a doctor or not, the story line is also interesting. Following the characters and their love lives and the drama that goes down in the Seattle West…or Mercy West…whatever the hospital’s name is now (changes so many times) always keeps me thirsting for more. (I just finished watching 3 episodes). Sadly, I know that Grey’s Anatomy is not at all an accurate depiction of what a hospital is really like, but that will never keep me from watching.

Mummy in the Museum

Below is the image of a mummy within the Carlos Museum. The mummy is from the Old Kingdom, Dynasty 6, 2345-2181 BC of the Egyptian empire. When I first saw the mummy, I found myself staring at it for quite a long period, and my mind  began to play tricks on me because it seemed as though the mummy was breathing. Not only was I creeped out to be staring at a body, but it was even creepier to be staring at a 4000 year old body. I noticed that the lighting in the Ancient Egypt section of Carlos was slightly dimmer than the Ancient Rome section that had preceded it. The ambient and orange glow from the lights in the Ancient Egypt section enhanced the antiquity of the objects on display. Because of the darker lights, the wood seemed darker, the paint appeared to be more worn, and the objects just looked even more ancient overall than if the light was as bright as in the Roman section.The dimming of the lights also added to the haunting effect of the mummy.

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Studium is how one culturally participates in the figures, the faces, the gestures, the settings and the actions of an image (Barthes, 26). Studium is an unconcerned desire that can be characterized as “I like/I don’t like” (Barthes 27). While, punctum rises from the scene and shoots out of an image and pierces its viewer. (Barthes, 26). Punctum is a detail that sticks out for the viewer. Therefore, punctum disturbs studium.

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This image from CNN shows a Spanish civil guard pulling a sub-Saharan migrant from a border fence that divides Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla. The detail that rose from this scene “like an arrow,” was the spanish guard trying to pull down the migrant. I can’t tell if the guard is somehow tied to the fence for safety, but it seems like he has to be if he’s putting in that much effort to pull someone down. Otherwise, he’s risking his own life. In terms of stadium, I don’t like this image because of the violence behind it. Another detail that sticks out to me is that some of the men are barefoot, which makes me reflect on how impoverished and how desperate they must be to seek a better life.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/17/world/gallery/week-in-photos-1017/index.html?hpt=hp_c3

The Purple Wizard

Memes are a relatively recent phenomenon that have stemmed from the ever-increasing popularity of social media. Some memes compare celebrities to objects or characters and thus make fun of celebrities to show that they’re not any better than the average person and that they’re not as perfect as society makes them out to be. This past week, I stumbled across this meme on twitter of Wiz Khalifa, who recently dyed his hair neon purple (probably his way of acting out over his recent divorce to Amber Rose *sheds tear*) being compared to Weezy from an old PBS kids show, Dragon Tales. This meme is a perfect example of the creation of a third meaning being produced from two images that would have different meanings if they stood alone. I busted out laughing and I hope it brings a smile to your faces as well.

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The Story of Soldier Wolf

When I ventured onto the Al Jazeera site for the first time, I found myself unaffected and unresponsive to any news related article about ISIS or Ebola, etc. Call me heartless, but after a while of hearing the same sad stories, I get kind of desensitized to it all. However, one picture caught my eye and I thought “Ooh! How pretty!” and then I read the title and thought “screeeeech! Nevermind, it’s another sad story.” But somehow the seemingly happy and serene photo caught my attention anyways, and I decided to read the article.

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It was about a Native American veteran of the Korean war who had returned home only to have his land and home taken from him. To prove that they were “competent” in owning land, many native americans had to enroll in the army to prove their competency. “When many returned from war, they found that they had lost their land because of nonpayment of taxes.” Mark Soldier Wolf is just one of many “Native veteran[s] [to be] treated in a less-than-honorable manner after service.”

The process by which the land was taken did not at all seem “legal”. Soldier Wolf has no recollection of signing any documents to have his land sold (for $580). “Nearly every landowner involved lacked the education or legal representation to make an informed decision on the sale. Soldier Wolf, for instance, despite his years in the Army, couldn’t read well enough to understand the papers.”

Today the land is occupied by a former uranium mill that has polluted the area so badly that the water is rendered useless and the federal government has to monitor it.

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I think this article caught my attention because it showed the happiness that once existed, rather than the sorrow and turmoil that has taken over.  The ideology this article is trying to refute here is that Native Americans are living happily on their reservations. When in reality, Native Americans are actually the most undereducated and have the lowest income on average in comparison to other racial groups.

 

*Brainwash Failed*

In the beginning of Exit Through the Gift Shop, I was super jealous of all the street artists and wished I shared their talent and bravery. Street artists are risking their lives (well mainly their criminal records) to beautify our cities, and the film made me think about how much we take street art for granted. However, Thierry’s work made me appreciate street art even less, and I thought to myself, “Well if he can do it, why can’t I?” I did not hold Thierry’s art to a higher standard because his “art” looked so easy to replicate, and on top of that HE DIDN’T EVEN MAKE IT HIMSELF!  Leonardo or Michelangelo didn’t have a factory of people making their art!

Nonetheless, when Fairey said, “Street art has a short life span and needs documentation,” I thought about how much rarer street art is than the art that’s so revered in museums. However, in England, Banksy is revered and it seemed as though every time he released a new piece of art, it warranted a lot of attention. Yet I had never heard of Banksy before this film. Of course those in England who see Banksy’s street art every day will hold it to a higher standard and may even considerate high art. So I think that if street art were more attainable and more people could see it, it would be just as appreciated if not more than “high art”.

I think street artist are trying to say that their art is even more valuable than what is in museums because it’s not always attainable for everyone to see, which makes it even more rare than “high art”. You have to be in the right place at the right time to see it. But Banksy made graffiti and street art more attainable and revered with his showcase. Therefore I do think the film might have been staged by Banksy to showcase more of his own art and the art of other popular street artists like Fairey. I think at the end of the film where the bulldozer knocked down Thierry’s brick wall, Banksy was definitely trying to delivera message that Mr. Brainwash’s art is utter trash.Screen Shot 2014-09-21 at 8.59.37 PM