Wednesday, January 27, 2010

American Pie

I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually
-James A. Baldwin

Soooo Im sitting in my American Studies Seminar class and while listening to the discussions of the readings the issue of American Studies being anti-American comes up. As a 4th year American Studies major ( and sociology minor)I feel that the only thing that I have learned throughout the years that is of extreme importance is the alternate histories that people have yet to hear about American life.

Numerous times I have asked myself what does it mean for a person LIKE ME to be an American Studies major. Me, a first-generation-American and person of color growing up in one of the most richest, influential and also historically racist countries. I often question what it means to be American as well. The AMST major is supposed to encourage critical thinking and to provide a space for students to learn about the other side of America, the countless stories left untold.

Since my inception into The University of California I have taken classes about Race and Ethnicity, Native Americans and Cultural Production, Jazz Cultures, Immigration and Assimilation issues as well as Whiteness and Racism. I have learned to grasp these concepts and incorporate them into my everyday thinking.

In a couple of months I will graduate and leave behind all of my emotional baggage in regards to being a minority on a predominantly white campus, having to struggle with budget cuts to my education as well as hustling money every quarter to pay for my late fees. It is both a happy and frightening feeling at the same time. It is frightening in the sense that once I Graduate I will be confronted with these same issues that I have read in AMST text books.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ayeti! ( Haiti)

So I know a lot of you are familiar with the events that have unfolded regarding the deadly Earthquake that shook Haiti on January 12, 2010. The images that have been circulating throughout the various media stations are reminiscent of the way in which Hurricane Katrina media coverage portrayed the suffering of black people.

New Orleans has not been fully recovered since Katrina and it discourages me to think what the future holds for the restoration of Haitian society and culture.

Here is a country that is so unique and critical to African/Black Culture, being that it was the first black republic to gain its independence, as well as being the only country to lead a successful slave revolt. Due to the fact that that Haiti has been plagued by the outcomes of those decisions since then, it has given ignorant, privileged, downright evil people the initiative and the audacity to justify Haiti's downfall because of its voodoo practices and large percentage of AIDS victims residing in that country. It makes me clearly upset to think that Haiti is the way it is because of colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, and just plain political trickery in part by some of the leading world powers.

I am a person who tends to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders and I think the people of Haiti deserve better than to be treated like third world, helpless individuals and start looking at them as strong-willed people who have endured many struggles over the course of history.

Operation Restore Haiti*

"Theres no money, no diamonds, no fortune on this planet that could replace Haiti!"