Native Americans respond to “Christopher Columbus.”, popularly known for their humorous YouTube videos of “Grandmas Smoking Weed” and “Parents Explain[ing] the Birds and the Bees”, gets serious in a recent series of videos released around the time of Thanksgiving. Interviewers ask participants of Native American descent to play a word association game in which they are asked to respond to the words: “Thanksgiving”, “reservation”, “Christopher Columbus”, and “redskin”.  In particular, I found the video of the responses to Christopher Columbus most interesting. As many young Americans recall, in grade school we were taught that “in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” Aside from being accredited for the discovery of America, we were not taught much else about this American explorer. As per this video, and Patricia Limerick’s Something in the Soil, we discover that this is not the reality of how the discovery of our nation had occurred. As we are aware, the “founding” of America by Christopher Columbus involved pushing Native Americans out of their homeland which, in turn, lead to mass genocide. In her work, Limerick asks, “what good can knowledge of this miserable story do?” and “what exactly does knowledge of this event add to American self-understanding and well-being?” (Limerick 35). With Limerick’s questions and the responses given by the people in this video in mind, how do you think children should be taught about the discovery of our nation?


Act like a women think like a man: Steve Harvey

This video brings about a problem in todays society of women being intimidating to men because they are successful and can do it all. In class we have talked about how men put down women and make them seem as though they are just objects, now this video takes it into a different aspect. Now women are threatening mens power of being the provider, the protector, being the things they feared the most which was that women are now doping the things men do and now they have  no say or control over women. Because these women have power due to financial reasons, the men are now seen as weak as if the roles have switched. In Bayton’s text, it states that white men created disabilities for women if they attempted to better themselves to ensure that they will be a stay at home wife. They feared of a new tomorrow land that will consist of women being like men and having well paying jobs and making men seem as though they are not wanted, therefore they pursue a women who needs a man to provide for her. Do you agree with this ? What is your take on successful women who are powerful due to financial reasons?

Steve Harvey and American Dream

In this video Steve Harvey is asked about the american dream, who can attain it, and has he made it. For me i say that the american dream is achieving your goals to what you want in life be. It is not what society is based it to become, or what others have said what it is. America is diverse and nothing really captures the meaning of what this culture is about, so how can one dream capture what everyone wants to achieve in life. The american goal to me are life goals on sets for themselves. To achieve those goals one must fight, work, put in overtime, and believe even when no one sees it for you, you must see it for yourself. Just as what professor Sze stated in class, a self made american dream. Also Horatio Alger hits on the point that one must fight for what they want and improve upon self top achieve their desired goal. With so much going on today, what is the societies american dream, and if you want, what is the american dream to you ?

Not Much Has Changed Since Past Eras

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I came upon this image and thought it was interesting because it demonstrates the transition of gender role and the branches of neoliberalism. Even though women were a huge factor in the workforce during the second world war, women were still seen inferior than men. The image above shows how women are being hired as sexual objects in order to get consumers to buy. The picture emulates the era of the 1950’s to the present by illustrating how women cannot run a business or be in a position of power. As discussed by Professor Sze, women, till this day, receive less work pay than do men. Women have tremendously progressed and achieved many goals, but are still affected by gender stereotypes that act as a shadow on their figure.

This image can be tied to the article, Color Blind Racism, by, Bonilla-silva, where a new form of discrimination emerges against minorities. In Silva’s article, African Americans are discriminated by not being offered a good neighborhood to live in, getting taxed higher than whites, and other ways of maintaining blacks below on the status quo. In correlation with the article, the image above is discriminating against women by not offering them jobs that men would normally get(high position jobs).

Silva’s article and the picture above exemplify the urge of man to maintain minorities under them by indirectly being racist. The image above also portrays the role of women as a sex toy which has not changed in contemporary times. The role of women as sex toys demonstrates the fact that women should be used for personal benefit.

I believe that the image represents gender racialization because it correlates weakness and simplicity towards women. Sometimes I feel like this is how today’s society is and sometimes I feel like this needs to change. In my opinion, I think that women are as important and as capable as men are.

What other forms of racialization have been expressed in today’s society? Why do you think these forms need to be eliminated?

What Drives American Imperialism?

The general argument made in the Savage Acts video shown in lecture is that America looked to expand their empire overseas using the justification that it is their manifest destiny. More specifically, the Savage Acts video shows how the philippines had plans of forming an independent self government, while America had other plans. America planned on annexing the philippines in order to “educate and christianize” the filipinos.  In this Video, It is shown how America uses the idea of manifest destiny and imperialism to go out and try to civilize the “savage” and “primitive” people of the philippines and cuba . In conclusion, Savage Acts shows how America annexed the philippines and cuba in order to civilize them, but instead just took over their government and killed many filipinos.

The argument presented by the political cartoon,What the United States has Fought For, is that American imperialism has allowed the United States to civilize the savage poverty stricken citizens of the philippines, cuba, hawaii, etc. and helped them become prosperous. The author, John T. McCutcheon, makes that argument by drawing people from the annexed pieces of land that are carrying the challenges their people had to overcome with the caption “before the United States intervened in behalf of these oppressed people” followed by a drawing of the same people in suits with good health and prosperity with the caption “after the united states had rescued them from their oppression”.

Savage Acts and What the United States has Fought For both address the issue we have discussed of American Imperialism and Manifest Destiny. They are very dissimilar in the way that Savage Acts is an educational video, while What the United States has Fought For is a propaganda political cartoon. Savage Acts shows American Imperialism and manifest destiny just lead to the loss of many lives for the plots of lands that were annexed, while What the United States has Fought For says American imperialism lead to the civilization, education, and christianization of the annexed people.

In my view, Savage acts is right, because it tells the truth about what was really happening during the time that the United States were expanding their empire overseas while limiting the presences of any propaganda. More specifically, I believe that American Imperialism has other intentions besides educating, civilizing, and spreading christianity to the people, such as making money and competing to be the largest empire.

What are other reasons or factors that lead the United States to expand their empire overseas? What drives them to annex a piece of land, knowing that many lives will be lost?

Edward Scissorhands: Tim Burton’s Rhetoric on Suburban Ideologies

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Professor Sze’s brief mentioning about the idealized suburban lifestyle reflected in American pop culture in lecture today made me think of the neighborhoods in Tim Burton’s movie Edward Scissorhands and the work he put into making them appear so pristine and almost unreal. Burton wanted to reflect the suburbs he grew up in as a kid in Burbank, CA and the generic and unified feeling they had that was so familiar in shows like Leave it to Beaver or The Wonder Years. The setting of the movie was meant to remind us of the brainwashing media that portrays these idealized lifestyles and makes us believe that they are the key location to a wonderful and happy life. However, anyone that has seen Edward Scissorhands knows there was a lot of darkness hidden behind those pinks walls and perfectly manicured hedges. Burton likely wanted to exploit those ideals and reveal to the world that under that immaculate facade, the world is still imperfect and holds lies, hatred, and hegemonic ideals that are continued to be covered up by institutions like our suburbs.

How else do you feel suburban living has influenced (or brainwashed) us as a society, and has the image of a perfect suburban life influenced your family in any way?

*I could not find an original interview from Burton about the set; all of the facts I found were on the films’ Wikipedia page

Technology which answers cultural expectations and anxieties

In the de la Peña reading, The Body Electric, the author argues that the electric belt emerged and was successful in the early twentieth century because it provided an answer to cultural anxieties at the time. In further detail, the electric belt was a culturally constructed “cure” for Neurasthenia (tiredness).

In present day, with rapid advancements in wearable and portable technology such as the Apple watch and smart phones American culture has become accustomed to new technologies which facilitate easier lifestyles. It’s under this cultural expectation that the “hover board” handle-less Segway was created. In the above article, the author argues that the handle-less Segway has succeeded in our culture due to its widespread acceptance by pop culture icons. They support their argument with photo and quotation evidence from stars using the technology in their daily lives.

Both pieces address the topic of technological objects shaping American culture. They are similar in that each object was created in response to a cultural need or desire. Personally, I don’t think it’s wise to treat cultural expectations and anxieties with material things which support consumerism, but I can understand where these products fill a cultural niche. What cultural expectation or anxiety do you think the handle-less Segway answers in our culture today?