Fourth quarter blog post

Here is my fourth quarter blog post

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Heros Treated as Criminals

Last Friday Kaci Hickox, when returning from working as a nurse for Doctors Without Borders in Ebola-infested Sierra Leone, was interrogated and quarentined and in the process treated like a criminal, when she should have been treated like a hero. She risked her life coming into contact and taking care of people in this area suffering with Ebola, and got the opposite of respect on her return.

Hickox states that when she was being interrogated in the quarentine room of the airport, "One man...barked questions at me as if I was a criminal". After this she sat in the room for hours, and according to her, "No one would tell me what was going on or what would happen to me".  She had her temperature checked a couple times, and the second time it was elevated, but she believed this to be because she was upset and flushed and insisted on using a more accurate type of thermometer. Everybody ignored her though, and left her alone for another three hours until she was police-escorted to the nearest hospital. There she had to stay in a tent outside the hospital, and when her temperature was checked and blood tested everything was completely normal.

The way she was treated was not right, whether she had the disease or not. It makes sense to quarentine people who could have possibly contracted Ebola, but they should be treated with the decency that any other human being would. For example, people should at least get to know what is going on and what will happen to them, and their wishes should not be ignored as long as these wishes would not possibly spread the disease. This is especially true for people like Hickox who have done this brave, heroic thing to help people suffering with Ebola in West Africa, but it is true for any other human being. Possibly having a disease is not a crime and shouldn't be treated thus. I am just appalled at the way this woman was treated, and like her, I am worried about all the other health workers that may return from West Africa and be subject to this sort of disrespect.

Hopefully all the attention Hickox's mistreatment has gotten in the press will make the airports that are implenting quarentine rules show some respect to the people they need to quarentine. It makes no sense to do otherwise.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Native Son

Seeing Native Son this week was a great experience! I thought that the play was perfect for our class to see because the themes of racial discrimination and hatred come up in our class very much. Clearly the main theme of the play are these; Bigger constantly calls himself a "black rat", knows that he will not be believed if he says the truth that the murder was an accident, and Mary constantly makes jokes about how his name rhymes with an extremely derogatory racial slur. In our class we have discussed many instances of racial discrimination and hatred that happened in the time of slavery, the time period of the photograph The Soiling of Old Glory, and today. The play fits into what we have been discussing very well. 

Not only was the play good specifically for our class, but I think it was overall very well done. The one thing that I didn't like that much was mentioned in class: towards the end of the play you don't feel pity for Bigger anymore because of all the crimes he commits in the play, specifically the intentional murder of his girlfriend. I believe that the message of the play is that because of racial discrimination Bigger freaked out when he accidentally killed the white woman Mary, knowing he will go straight to the electric chair and not be believed that the killing was accidental, and because of this he went crazy and therefore killed his girlfriend and went on a downward spiral until he was caught by the police. For this message of blaming racial discrimination for Bigger's downward spiral to be conveyed very well I believe that we as an audience should have felt bad for Bigger, not the opposite. 

Besides that one point, the play was very good. I thought that the themes of racial discrimination and hatred were portrayed well (besides what I mentioned above) and also that, as we talked about in class, having a second actor playing Bigger's thoughts/mind was very interesting and added a lot to the play. It showed how he has to act as two different people, and the one who he really is (as in, how his thoughts act) is the person he is when he is with his black friends. When he is with white people, he is very subdued, quiet, and polite, but his thoughts still act loud and playful like how he is with his friends. That helped further portray the themes of racial discrimination and hatred, since Bigger feels that he has to be subdued and polite to white people. Also, I thought the acting and presentation of the play were both well done. The simple set helped focus the audience's attention further onto the themes of the play.

I'm glad that we went to see this play! 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Technology: We All Know the Pros, but What About the Cons?

Today I saw a video while scrolling through my Facebook (ironically, as you'll see soon) that interested me; it was about how technology today is hurting society in multiple ways, e.g. hurting our relationships, shortening our attention spans, and creating standards to measure self-worth that are ridiculous. I found the video very powerful, and although some of the things that the maker of this video states seem a little bit over-exaggerated when talking about the negative effect of technology on us, I still agree with his overall point: technology may be doing good things for society, but that comes with the bad. Here is a short clip from his video:

And here is a link to the entire video.

This man talks about many things in this video, but the parts that stuck with me the most were the ways technology is affecting our relationships with other people, attention spans, and standards for measuring self-worth.

Technology affects our relationships with other people because technology tends to separate us from other people. All the time friends who are supposed to be spending time with each other are looking down at their phones for a big chunk of the time they committed to being together. I admit, I am very guilty of this, but now I am going to try to stop and be more social when I am with my friends. Also, people spend so much time alone on "social media" thinking they are being social--but sitting alone on Facebook is the opposite of being social, being with another person is. Social media in a way can be promoting people to isolate themselves and only communicate with people through technology, and this is a bad thing to me. I think face-to-face human interaction is a really important thing in our society today because, really, that is how to have a true interaction with someone. Online it is difficult to tell what tone someone is meaning to say something in, so things can get misconstrued, and for this same reason it is easy for people to lie online. Therefore it is impossible to have a real, meaningful conversation over technology.

Technology has also shortened our attention spans due to social media like Vine, which limits its videos to a length of six seconds, as well as Twitter, which only allows a certain amount of characters per post. People are getting used to these short posts and many people no longer have the attention span to watch a full-length video or read a whole article, even if it is online. We discussed this in class not too long ago when talking about posting videos on our blog posts; it would be silly to post a full-length video in our blogs because nobody wants to watch a full-length video while already reading a full-length article, we just don't have the attention spans for it. The video which I shared a clip of above states that, "Studies show the attention span of the average adult today is one second lower than that of a goldfish". Technology really is hurting our minds, and I think this part of it needs to be stopped. The least that could be done is that Vine and Twitter as well as other sites could allow longer posts, and hopefully this could help to fix our shortened attention spans, or just not shorten them any further.

Finally, technology is also changing people's standards for measuring self-worth, and not in a good way. Many people base at least a part of their worthiness on how many average likes they get, how many followers/friends they have, and how many nice comments they get on social media. This, to me, is not a correct way to measure your self-worth. Maybe your photos don't get a lot of likes and you don't have a lot of followers just because you haven't promoted your self in every way possible like some people do, even though you have great photos and posts. Or maybe you aren't a good photographer or writer, so you don't get a lot of likes on text posts or photos, but you are amazing at something else, just not something that can be posted and get likes. For these and many other reasons, measuring one's self-worth in followers and likes is inaccurate and in many cases will lead to low self-esteem that shouldn't be there. I wish that people who measure their self-worth like this could realize that they are wrong to judge themselves in that way and stop beating themselves up for not having enough followers on Instagram or friends on Facebook.

Clearly, technology comes with its negative effects, mainly because of social media. Social media can be a great way to share things and talk to people who you cannot meet up with face-to-face easily, but otherwise, it is something you should do when you are bored; it should not be a huge part of your life. .I think many or all of the negative effects of social media on our society can be reversed if we as a nation spend a little less time on the internet and a little more time in the real world.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Road Rage: A Deadly Form of Anger

I think almost anyone reading this who drives has experienced anger on the road, otherwise known as road rage, either in themselves or in another driver. Especially when I was learning to drive and making lots of mistakes, I have experienced road rage in other drivers that came out in the form of honking or yelling. Road rage really is a very common thing, and this has made me think about how far people will take it; which I have discovered is too far. Road rage is a very dangerous thing, causing injuries and death, and it is definitely not an uncommon thing in this country.

Upon further research, I discovered two cases of road rage that resulted in death or serious injury from just last monthOne incident was on September 2nd, in which a man in Michigan was cut off multiple times and almost hit by another car, and when he got out of the car angrily to confront the other car at a traffic light, he was shot dead by the other driver. Another incident of road rage that resulted in serious injury was on Septermber 17th in Volo, Illinois, in which a man stabbed another driver near his femoral artery in a fit of road rage. The man who was stabbed survived but was seriously injured.

I think that something needs to be done to decrease the amount of road rage that happens in our country, or at least to decrease the negative effects of it such as injury or death. Perhaps people could get educated about the dangers of road rage if advertisements showing the amount of deaths that result from road rage were shown, and if people realize when they were experiencing road rage in themselves they may calm themselves down because they know how bad it can get if it gets out of hand.

Another way to possibly decrease the fatalities of road rage is that road rage education could get further incorporated into driver's education classes. When I was in driver's ed, we briefly discussed road rage safety, which included things like "don't get out of your car and confront another driver" and "do not make eye contact with a driver who is challenging you". These are great things to learn and have probably done some good in decreasing the fatalities of road rage, but I think they can be further decreased if driver's education classes also discussed how to recognize road rage in yourself, how to calm yourself down, and what could happen if you do not calm yourself down.

I hope that people will realize how bad the problem of road rage is right now in our country and that something will be done to stop the deaths that are happening because of it as soon as possible.