Friday, December 4, 2009

Final Course Paper:

Culture is something that everyone is a part of. An individual’s identity is based around their culture. Nobody can escape it. Our whole lives are built upon the places we live and travel to and the people we meet on our journeys. I truly believe that everyone’s identity changes daily based on their choices and other people’s choices. An example can be read in the novel Enrique’s Journey. “Enrique glances into a store window and sees his reflection. It is the first time he has looked at his face since he was beaten. He recoils from what he sees. Scars and bruises. Black and blue. One eyelid dropped” (Nazario 100). Enrique chose to make the journey to find his mother. He wanted to be with her and he wanted a family due to all the chaos his life consisted of in Honduras. Enrique had to face the consequences of his choice. In other words, his choices became his identity. Because he traveled through areas like “The Beast” in Mexico to reach his mother he had to face the gang violence and migrant workers in the area. However, if Enrique would have chosen to stay his identity or culture would not have been the same. The same concept goes for every individual. An example relating to me, and probably everyone else, in today’s society is safety in different cultures. Homosexuals have to hide and be silent to fit into society. Because they are different than the majority they automatically have enemies. Safety depends on where they live. For example, Uganda is in the process of passing a bill to execute homosexuals and imprison all those who support them. People who choose to stay there embrace a whole new culture; one that would be significantly worse of a struggle. The people who leave will have to embrace a whole new culture while trying to preserve theirs which is another example of how the choices of a few are forcing people into all different cultures or identities. Examples of this are found throughout all the pages of history.

Historical occurrences such as Apartheid in South Africa show how the passion and perseverance of one man can save a nation of people from falling to pieces. Nelson Mandela united a divided country and affected the culture of the area by doing so. A lot of individuals in history greatly affect the culture of even our societies today in positive ways. Alexander the Great, George Washington, John F. Kennedy, and Harvey Milk all still have impact on the way we live our life or our identity. However, you do not have to achieve anything majorly influential to affect the individual’s identities around you. Everybody still has influence over everybody else’s culture. A driver that chooses to drive under the influence of alcohol could seriously alter a person’s physical identity while, if bad enough, could change a person’s emotional or mental identity as well. A person’s choices that they make about themselves as they meet different cultures will ultimately affect their life. Another example could be, an individual going to class or them deciding not to. Eventually choices add up and cause major changes in a person’s life and those around them thus shaping their identity. The more culture you experience the more multicultural you become.

Traveling to different places and experiencing the wide myriad of cultures in the world will shape the individual’s culture thus altering their identity. Visiting different places will allow an individual to meet many people with separate cultures who have whole different identities than that of your own. Your identity will change however so slightly with every single one. Change is the most important factor when it comes to identity.

In conclusion, a person’s identity is extremely affected by multicultural awareness and traveling. If an individual does not experience other cultures they will never truly have the ability to change their identity. They would not even understand the other cultures that exist. Being ignorant by not trying to understand the identities of those around will only lead to more problems in an increasing modernizing world.


Sonia Nazario, Enrique’s Journey: The Story of a Boy’s Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His

Mother. New York: Random House, 2006.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

World Aids Day- Testing and Educational Information(Dec.1)

Aids is a serious problem in our society. Over a million people of our population are infected with it. Over seventy five percent are teens. The EUC was showing free educational videos, pamphlets, and giving away free protection for sexually active students. There was also free HIV and Chlamydia testing for all UNC-G students. One of the big problems with the spread of Aids is having multiple partners. Sleeping around is obviously not a safe practice for anybody much less college kids. One of the movies was a story of a man who really did not want to use a condom, but his girlfriend wouldn’t allow it so he cheated on her. The result was Chlamydia. However a twist came around. She decided that she didn’t want to use a condom anymore because of how much she cared for him. She didn’t know he had cheated. At that point I was called back to discuss the results of my testing and of course everything was fine. HIV was negative which I was positive of before I went in. The doctor told me about all the different ways HIV can be spread. Sex is definitely just one of many. The use of needles between more than one person can spread the disease as well as a mother being a carrier and having a baby. The baby would automatically be born with it. It is safe to say that everybody should keep theirselves checked up and use caution in relationships. The main point she explain was to not trust people. People can say they have been tested, but your immediate response should be let me see the paperwork.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Education, My Plan:Getting from here to There.

For the majority of people, planning for their futures start in high school. The high school counselor starts discussing college, the military, or other possible career options after high school. Focusing on the college route was my goal. I am from a very poor family, so scholarships were a must for me. Looking through some major ones is where I began. I knew I wanted to be a teacher, so that choice helped me choose what scholarships were right for me. My counselor suggested I apply for Teaching Fellows which was one of my goals in the first place. I was in teacher cadet throughout high school, and the only purpose of the class besides training you to be a teacher was helping you prepare for this scholarship. I also looked for adversity scholarships since I came from a rough family. I also decided to apply for the Horatio Alger scholarship. The Horatio Alger scholarship was a greater undertaking then that of the Teaching Fellows because only one hundred and four students are accepted from the United States and its' providences each year. I also considered local ones but for the most part these two were my goal. My next step was finding a university that fit me. At first I dreamed of attending Dartmouth, but reality interfered real quick when I checked the price tag. So, I looked at in state schools and UNC-Greensboro was definitely the one that fit me most. I applied and was accepted. Then Spring came and time for results from my major scholarships came back. I had made it to finals in Teaching Fellows and then was denied. However, I was named one of the national scholars for the Horatio Alger association. Horatio Alger changed my life. With the scholarship I was asked to come to Washington D.C for a week long conference. I cannot express how much this one week of my life leads my every day choices. I was able to meet Supreme Court Justice Thomas and enter buildings that the public has no chance of seeing without connections. I discovered myself and where I wanted to go. When I arrived here at UNC-Greensboro I was sure I was going to do amazing. I could never have been more wrong. This first semester for me has been nothing but more discovery and difficult situations. I don't really have a supportive family at all which requires me to pay for everything myself which I knew was a must, but my family doesn't really are at all anymore. This week has been a very good one though. I have finally decided who I am and where I want to go in my educational career. I am going to graduate from UNC-Greensboro with a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology. The reason I choose Anthropology is very apparent when you meet me. I love people and I love culture. I want to help anybody and everybody which usually leads to me not helping myself. I am so intrigued by the lifestyles of others. I don't understand why people are so ignorant to others. People are all different and come from different places. Afterward, I plan on teaching at a high school near where I am going to Graduate school to pay for my education. I want to earn a masters degree in Cultural Anthropology and contribute to research in that field. My overall dream is one day working for the United Nations helping to find solutions for society's largest problems. During all this I plan on donating the majority of my money to the Horatio Alger foundation to help kids like me who wouldn't be here without them. I know that the only person that can achieve my dreams are me. There is no one out there that can do anything for me except me.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Nazario Event:

Sonia Nazario discussed a synopsis of her work and allowed people to ask questions. She showed pictures while she talked and she explained their purpose. For example, there was a picture of her on the train top. She explained that she had to duck below limbs and was even hit in the face. She was almost killed. Also, she was chased by a gang member until she yelled for the conductor to save her. She explained her journey and her personal favorite parts of the adventure. The people in Veracruz were her absolute favorite because they were all dirt poor and still ran to throw food to the immigrants on the train tops multiple times a day. Some of these people had one arm or no legs. She also discussed what happens to children who make it to America and are captured. There is a program called ICE which works with police departments around the states to find and deport illegal immigrants. They are first sent to detention centers then sent back across the border. There are even problems in this though. Immigrants are scared to voice their opinion with ICE on the prowl. So, when crimes occur and officials ask for witnesses to find the perpetrator not many illegals would come out and defend the victim knowing they would be deported instantly. She seemed like she really cared about everything involved in the immigration issue. She even spoke of President Obama and the start of the immigration debate next year.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Italian Opera (Greensboro Colliseum)

The Italian Opera occurred Friday night. It was absolutely incredible. I have never been to an Opera before, so it was definitely a cultures shock. The names of the two people the play was centered around are Violetta and Alfredo. The main character could not decide to let herself fall in love or live her life just having fun. She sacrifices her love for him so he can be with his sister who is dying. Through the play she acts like she falls in love with the Baron to allow Alfredo to move on. However, he doesn't move on. He gets mad and denounces her in a fit of rage. It hurts them both so much they can't stand it. He doesn't know that sacrifice she made for him and his family. During the end scene she is dying of TB. The father realizes what he did to the couple by telling her to leave his son. He explains to the son what Violetta had done for him. The son rushes back to Violetta and apologizes. She confesses she always loved him, hands him a picture, and falls back into his arms; dead. It was quite a tear jerker. It was very confusing seeing how it was all in Italian, but I am taking Italian now so it helped knowing some basic words and phrases. They did however have a back screen with the translation on it. I don't think I would enjoy watching Operas all the time, but this experience was definitely a Friday night I don't regret.

Out on the Job Market.(November 11th, 2009)

It is a well known fact that the GLBT community has many struggles to overcome. Finding a job in the state of North Carolina is definitely near the top of the list for me. Because I am a homosexual in this state, it is legal for me to be fired for my orientation. This presentation was from the UNC-G career services. We spoke about companies that were accepting and some that weren't. I learned that federal companies cannot fire me due to my orientation, but since North Carolina is a right to work state they can. Basically, an individual going through this problem has to ask themselves a few questions. How out do you want to be at work? If you are okay with not mentioning it at all and keeping it out of the work place then you may not have as many problems as others. However, if you believe that you need to be vocal with it then it may be harder for you to find an employer who isn't going to be biased towards you. Also, it depends on the type of clothing you will wear to work. If you are a cross dresser and believe that it is your right to wear the opposite sexes clothing to work then you may have even more difficulty. In my opinion, none of this should be an issue, but the facts are that it is. America needs to become more accepting of diversity. Personally, I do not want to have to go through ignorance like this all my life.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Angels in America:

The play was absolutely one of the best performances I have ever seen. In my home town we don't have a theatre program. All we have is a community reader's theatre. So, Angels in America was quite a treat for me. My favorite character would have to be prior because he had to endure losing his boyfriend just because he had Aids. I am sorry but if you truly love someone you will stick with them to whatever end. The acting was so good I could feel the emotions swelling up inside of me with every scene. Also, I loved the gay,black nurse. He was unbelievably comical, especially in the scene where him and Lou are having coffee. I really want to see the second part. It is killing me! There were two people who were in the closet in the play. Both amusingly enough were aware of their sexuality. They just choose to suppress it which in my opinion is the complete opposite thing that an individual should do. With all of his power and money Roy Cohn could have revolutionized the world in favor of gay rights. The same goes for Joe Pitt if he took the job at the justice department. However, Mr. Pitt would need to drop his crazy wife and let her stay addicted to Valium. She seemed perfectly content hallucinating that she was in Antarctica. The very end of the play was breathtaking. The Angel was absolutely beautiful. The people working on the production did an amazing job with costumes, lighting, and acting.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Raft Debate:

The debate was extremely amusing. Being a student in your course and Professor Paluzzi's course made me a little biased on who I wanted to win. However, Paluzzi's comments definately placed her at the top of my list without the bias. She was hilarious. Her comments about all the different cultures that allowed the anthropologist to survive always had a comedic twist to them. I think she was honest in her statements. In that situation, being an anthropologist would have been very useful in figuring out how to survive. Even if surviving means cannabalism. The professor from the History department was just not impressive at all. His comment were bland and his mannerisms were boring. He didn't even have an entertaining story like the other two. I actually think that I may which my major to Anthropology. Who wouldn't want to know how to surivive using the techniques of cultures from all over the world? I am in Professor Paluzzi's class and absolutely love it! Though, I also have to give two hands up for the devil's advocate. He definately made the whole debate way more histarical. No professor I know could have done a better job. Even though he had a whole crew of students holding signs and cheering for him. Overall, I was very impressed with the program and look foward to attending next years raft debate with hopes that it will be just as grand and entertaining as this years. I don't know if that is possible though without amazing Professors like Professor Paluzzi and of course the devil's advocate.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Oppressed Voice:

“We should have learnt by now that laws and court decisions can only point the way. They can establish criteria of right and wrong. And they can provide a basis for rooting out the evils of bigotry and racism. But they cannot wipe away centuries of oppression and injustice / however much we might desire it,” (Hubert H. Humphrey). Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a black, battered Corolla. The cracked windows so dark the lightning outside is invisible to the individuals within. The ragged upholstery falling upon your tear stained face with every jerk of the vehicle. Driving behind you is a man you have never met in a vehicle of the same quality carrying your baby brothers. The vehicles are both headed in the same direction; freedom. A few miles down the road there is a man. This man holds the key to your future and your siblings’ future. The haze, lights, and memories of Mexico lie in the rearview mirror. The traditions left behind with your grandmother lay shattered in your memory like flies to a carcass. Will you ever be able to celebrate Cinco De Mayo (Day of the Dead) with your family again? The last smile you will ever see on your grandmother’s face is imprinted in your mind. The only word you know in the English language is American. This is the last memory one of my closest friends has of her country.
Her story, like many others, is one that seems to fade to the back of peoples’ minds when the issue of immigration is brought up. Instead of caring about the sufferings of others’ ignorance and intolerance remain at the forefront of this caliginous battle. Her reality throughout high school consisted of a plethora of issues. To begin, she did not even know how to speak our language. She learned English in one summer before she was enrolled in public high school. As for a stable home life, she has moved four times in a year before just to have a roof over her head. Job supply is scarce especially for Hispanics with no education. Therefore, her step-father has to travel back to Mexico every year for a few months just to earn enough money to pay his bills back in America.
Her days through high school were comprised of a very strict schedule that I cannot even imagine. She woke up every morning around four to help her mother cook in the kitchens to feed the workers in her neighborhood. She helped dress her brothers and send them off to school on the school bus. One of her dreams is to see her brothers lead a life that many of us take for granted. She wants nothing more than for them to have the chance, like me and many people around me, to achieve their dreams without fear of persecution. During the day she was a student. Her course schedule was scattered with AP and Honors classes. After school she went home to work with her mother. She helped her baby brothers with homework and cooked dinner for all the workers in her community. Her homework came last after all of her family was looked after. I asked her one day how she did it all. The response was simple; “I do it because it’s the right thing to do.” It is the right thing for her to spend her time cooking for her neighbors and tending to the needs of her family before her own.
Currently, she is an international student at a major university here in the United States. The last question I asked her about her journey here and her conformity to her new life style was whether she was scared or not. “I do not feel safe from the time I open my eyes to the time I close them. Every time I travel out of my house the haunting visions of my people being deported flash into my mind.”