Archive for the ‘ ignorance ’ Category

Concern for Too Liberal Attitudes and Social Immorality

The city I live in is very open socially and politically. We’re an extremely liberal culture. While it’s great to live in a place where everyone is free to be who they are and want to be, there is a negative counterpart where the appreciation of all lifestyles starts to ignore the individual and community well-being as everything is tolerated and accepted. The liberal outlook has and will always have the potential to lose values altogether in that the postmodern dictum “it’s all good” starts to see everything on the same platform with no hierarchy of morals. I have heard too many times the opinion that people should be allow to sell their bodies for sex if they want to. Actually, one of my co-workers mentioned this saying that she thinks people should have the right to sell their bodies if they want. I often hear people defend others extreme lifestyles by saying “well, it’s their choice. It makes them happy,” or even “as long as their happy, I guess it works”. There comes a point when it’s not OK, and not everything is good. When you level everything out you end up with a one dimensional worldview that ignores the dark realities of life that are important to understand so that people and communities can live even better, even healthier, even happier lives.

I am not opposed to liberalism, as I do consider myself among the socially and politically liberal, people start advocating for prostitution, for example, I become concerned for the moral standards that we may be losing. Selling one’s body is wrong, just as purchasing someone for sex is also wrong. I understand the difference between sex trafficking and prostitution, but they are not totally unlike each other. Those who believe that sex trafficking is totally different than an adult choosing to sell their bodies, they don’t see that the end result is still the same: that the emotional, physical, sexual, abuse involved in this industry does destroy a person’s happiness and well-being. No matter if you chose this profession or you were trafficked into it, your body is still being bought and sold as a commodity, which has major and profound impacts on a person’s life. Saying that it should be legal and not looked down upon if a person chooses to involve themselves in this trade is ignoring the multi-faceted issue and is a judgement with no substantial basis. It’s even hypocritical. Disagreeing that prostitution or other controversial things should be legalized isn’t the opposite of liberalism and I would hope that those who think it is would take a second look at the issue and not blanket such things with catchphrases like “it’s all good”. Liberalism should not have to accept and justify everything.

Not accepting or justifying everything isn’t a sign of intolerance for other cultures or socially restricting. I am concerned for our culture that refuses to see good and bad as a moral issue but instead sees good as “all things go” and bad as someone who disagrees with them. To me, it’s like an over-eating gluttonous person versus the anorexic. We need to exercise our judgements a little more so we can be more balanced in our lifestyle and how we care for our communities. We don’t want to overdo it on either end. I think a little more thinking and contemplation of morals in our city could do us good because we have diluted our morals and reduced our standards so much that we no longer see the suffering who are right in front of us. Having opinions of indifference to what people do with their lives isn’t making a stronger, freer society. And truly, I don’t think they’re happier.

Finding Identity

I’m finding that as a substitute teacher, I am growing more interest in race issues.  I sub often at a local high school, where the campus is rich in diversity, but poor in social skills. Part of that has to do that they’re high-school students who have the usual adolescent self-centeredness that makes it difficult to be more sympathetic toward others. However, as the fall semester winds down, I’m beginning to have a pretty nice collection of observations, but I’m not sure how to categorize them yet. For example, today, as I was taking attendance, I called out the name “Miguel”. After a few times of calling his name with no response, I decided he was absent. Just as I was about to move on, a Hispanic ninth grader retorts, “it’s Miguel, not ‘Meeguel’.” Not to mention Miguel never accounted himself for attendance, I couldn’t understand this girl (rudely) correcting me on my “mispronunciation” of a Spanish name. Now what is this—assimilation? Ignorance? Or just stupid rude behavior?

I covered for an English 1 class today, who were reading through Breaking Through by Francisco Jimenez, a Mexican emigrant. The book was translated in English, but was peppered with Spanish words and names. Oddly, many students who read with Hispanic accents didn’t know how to read the Spanish words when they came across them, or could even understand the words. A lot of times they would read the word in an American accent, which completely confused me. One usually assumes that if another person has an accent, it is a result of having learned that language when they were older, and therefore still keep the first language. Yet these incidents defied that theory and I realized that these particular Latinos (whether full or part) actually only speak one language: English, and they have picked up the phonetics of their peers, who are apparently English language learners.

These English speaking Latino students are associating themselves with the Hispanic crowd, putting on the “minority” label, if you will. This is a typical habit of people of multiracial/multicultural backgrounds. What they are doing is called hypodescent, associating themselves with their “subordinate” race. The opposite, hyperdescent, is when one chooses to identify themselves with the more “superior” race.

Multiracial people living in a multiracial society are forced to find an identity. My Puerto Rican relatives in Puerto Rico know without a doubt they are Latinos, or specifically Boriqueños, but I (half white, half Hispanic) need to find out which racial group I associate myself with, if any. (See Race: None Selected.) An expression of that may be in the way I dress or the way I speak.

Of course we don’t have to even identify ourselves with our racial heritage, but so many of us do. Unfortunately for high school students, they feel the need to quickly find a racial group to identify with, building pride and allegiance in that, and the end result becomes favoritism, snobbishness, racism, and arrogance, and quite a bit of other things. Still, a lot of it is sheer ignorance as this is a typical conversation between  my high school students and me: “Are you Hispanic?” “Yes.” “Oh, so you’re not white, then?” “No, I’m white, too.” “But then you’re not Hispanic.” “No, I am half white and half Hispanic. Get it?” “No, not really. So you’re Mexican?”