Silence in Damaging

We’ve all seen the horrors happening all over the country lately – black kids being shot and killed by police, black rioters in Boston being labeled as thugs, a white cop throwing a black girl to the ground and shoving her face into the grass, and now a white kid shooting and killing 9 people in a church. Where does it end?

As a white person, I’ve stayed out of all of it, partly because it’s not something that I can really comprehend, but mostly because I was afraid of offending people and starting arguments and fights between people. But I can’t ignore it and I can’t stay silent. Being silent about it is part of the problem. Not acknowledging it is part of the problem. Silence is just as damaging.

White privilege exists. It’s that simple. That’s what allows us to turn the news when we get “tired of hearing about it” and going about our lives. It’s what allows us to say things like “he was troubled or mentally ill,” “we don’t have all the facts yet,” “gun reform could have prevented this,” or “why does everything have to be about race?” It’s what allows us to look at a situation and try to find a reason for a person’s actions other than race because we don’t want to believe that racism is still as huge of a problem as it is. We’re so afraid of admitting that it exists; we want to say that we’ve come a long way, but we ignore the fact that, while we have come a long way, we still have a long way to go before there is true equality.

I’ve had a privileged life. I’ve never directly experienced racism. I’ve never been racially profiled. I’ve never been followed in a store because the owner was afraid I would steal. I have the privilege of looking at police officers as people who are held to higher standards, who provide safety and security. I’ve never had to be afraid of them. Because of this, there is a part of racism that I will never understand and that allows me to look at each of these situations differently. But it also blinds me and gives me the ability to be desensitized to everything happening around me.

A kid who shoots and kills 9 black people in a church after saying that they’re invading our country and need to leave is troubled or mentally ill – he’s racist. A young girl should never be thrown to the ground, dragged by her hair, and sat on by a man twice her size even if she was mouthing off. There shouldn’t be an entire group of people who are afraid of the people who should be there to protect them and keep them safe. Things need to change. Our attitudes need to change. Being silent won’t fix anything. Saying nothing only adds to the problem.

I Wish I Could Write for a Living

I’ve always loved writing. I was the crazy girl in school who was excited about writing a 15 page research paper and who actually liked the weekly grammar tests. I love the power of words and I would love, more than anything, to be one of those people who can add something to the world through words. Alas, it is not meant to be (or something to that effect). I could write forever, but there’s one small problem: I have zero ideas. I have the ability to write. I have the desire to write. Ideas evade me though. The blank screen mocks me and begs me to write a word, a sentence, a paragraph – anything. But the words never come. And the screen remains blank. 

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief

The Book Thief (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“To most people, Hans Hubermann was barely visible. An un-special person. Certainly, his painting skills were excellent. His musical ability was better than average. Somehow, though, and I’m sure you’ve met people like this, he was able to appear as merely part of the background, even if he was standing at the front of a line. He was always just there. Not noticeable. Not important or particularly valuable.The frustration of that appearance, as you can imagine, was its complete misleadence, let’s say. There most definitely was value in him, and it did not go unnoticed by Liesel Meminger. (The human child – so much cannier at times than the stupefyingly ponderous adult.) She saw it immediately.

His manner.

The quiet air around him.

When he turned the light on in the small, callous washroom that night, Leisel observed the strangeness of her foster father’s eyes. They were made of kindness, and silver. Like soft silver, melting. Liesel, upon seeing those eyes, understood that Hans Hubermann was worth a lot.”

 This quote says it all – when I first read it, I immediately identified with it. I’ve always felt that I wasn’t noticeable or particularly memorable, that I was just there. But I’ve also always known who I was: I am a nice person, happy to stand in the background if that’s what needed, there to help anyone and do everything I can to make someone’s day or life better. I’m sure many of you identify with this quote as well. I like to think that everyone does – not because I want everyone to feel unimportant, but because I like to think that everyone IS important in his or her own way, even if it goes unnoticed. I think that the people described above are the best kind of people because they do things not for attention, gratification, or recognition, but because those things are the right things to do.

If you haven’t read The Book Theif by Markus Zusak, I highly recommend it. If you have, you know that this quote defines Hans Hubermann perfectly, as he is one of those who would do the right thing for no reason other than that it is the right thing to do.

“It’s kind of fun to do the Impossible”

This quote by Walt Disney has always inspired and intrigued me – as a child, my ambitions and dreams always seemed to be possible to me; in fact, I don’t think that I thought of anything as impossible. I guess that’s one thing that is unique and special about kids. I had the usual dreams – be an olympic gymnast (surprisingly my most realistic dream as I was already a competitive gymnast), be a veterinarian, be a writer, and (perhaps the best one) be a cartoon. Looking back, I regret not pursuing my olympic dreams and I like to imagine how my life would have been different if I had. Regardless, growing up, as we all know, changes how we think and even how we dream.

Having recently graduated college, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to do with my life and what would be my ideal job and I’ve realized something: why do we, as adults, stop trying to do the impossible? When do we stop dreaming and, more importantly, WHY do we stop dreaming? If I had to answer that question, I would say it’s because of money. My first priority getting out of college is not to find my dream job – it’s to just find a job so that I can get some income to pay my bills. I imagine that’s how it is for everyone. And, once we find that, we stop looking because the bills are getting paid. But is that really the most important thing?

If I had to be honest, I would say that my dream job is to work with Disney Animation Studios as a rotoscope artist. And, as of right now, that is an impossible dream because I don’t have the skills or the experience. But right here, right now, for all of you to see, I vow to not give up on that dream. Like Walt Disney said – it’s FUN to do the impossible.

So I challenge all of you – think about your dreams again. Set goals to accomplish them. Don’t let money be the most important thing and the driving factor behind all of your decisions.

Music, The universal Language

I couldn’t agree more. In my first ever college class, I remember hearing and writing the words “music is the language of the heart of man.” I don’t remember who said it, but it’s stuck with me all these years.

Rob's Surf Report

I enjoyed the following brief blog post and video by JamesRevelsTheComposer. It reminded me of myself, though I wanted to be a musician long before I considered being a linguist. It just goes to show that music and language have much in common.  –Rob

Music, The universal Language.  <—-(click here to read it)

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I had forgotten..

I had forgotten..

In recent years, I have forgotten how much I love music. Not only listening to it, but making it. I picked up my guitar and my violin for the first time yesterday in years and it was one of the best reunions. While my fingers officially hurt because I had lost my callouses, I am so glad that I was able to be reunited with my first love – music.

I’ve always believed that music has the power to change the world. It’s real and it portrays all of the emotion and thought that people don’t always know how to express. Music builds bonds between people and helps them know that they’re not alone in what they think and feel. Music can save lives. Lyrics are pure poetry – they extend right to a person’s soul and make it home, staying there forever. Go listen to a song you haven’t heard in years and you’ll still remember all the words.

I encourage everyone to look past the sound of a song – look past it to find the song’s true nature and what it means to you. Music has the power to heal if you let it.

‘Cyberbully’ The Film

While this might be a violation of copyright, I’m going to reblog this anyway, claiming fair use. The issues present in this movie are very real and support the research that I have done on the topic. I intend this to be used for education purposes – to bring awareness not only to the problem of cyberbullying, but the issues surrounding it that make it difficult to monitor and to regulate. I mean no copyright infringement; I simply want to make more people aware of the issue.

Stop Bullying!

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Cyberbully is a film made by the American channel, ABC Family.

This film is about a teen called Taylor Hillridge, who is played by Emily Osment. She gets a laptop for her birthday, and decides to make a profile on a social networking site with her friends. Soon, a couple of mean girls from school decide to turn on her, and start sending her hate messages.  Taylor suffers from cyberbullying in the movie. Watch the film here to find out what happens to Taylor and how she handles the situation.

This movie encourages teens to stand up against cyberbullying. It also shows people the effects that cyberbullying has on others.

Cyberbullying happens often because of how much access we have to the internet. We should try and stop it as quickly as possible.

Giving out details online can be very dangerous. Make sure you don’t  give anyone your address…

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Does Having a College Degree Matter?

Does Having a College Degree Matter?

As a recent college graduate, I have been looking for jobs, writing cover letters, and sending out resumes like it WAS my job. Unfortunately, I’ve learned something these couple of weeks – having a degree seems to be almost worthless. Every job I’ve come across has said the same thing: 2+ years of experience as a MINIMUM requirement. Even though I meet ALL of the other requirements, I am not considered for these jobs because there are other candidates applying who meet all of the requirements, including the experience. This has me thinking that going to college for four years, interning (for FREE), and working on campus does not equal experience. This is why I think that people with less experience (yes, LESS) are better candidates for these jobs than those with more experience:

1 – Being straight out of college, we have more hope. We look at the world in a more positive light and have yet to have our views of the world corrupted.

2 – We expect entry level (did you know that most entry level marketing jobs are sales jobs?). This means we work for less. We’re cheaper than the more experienced person.

3 – Experience tends to speak for a person. Those of us with less experience have to speak for ourselves and have to PROVE ourselves. This means that chances are pretty high that we will work twice as hard as someone who has experience to speak for him (or her). 

4 – Did I mention we work for less? That’s because (and studies have shown this to be true) most college grads, when offered their first jobs, will excitedly take the job without trying to negotiate the salary. People with experience know better.

5 – YOU CAN’T GET EXPERIENCE IF NO ONE GIVES YOU A JOB BECAUSE YOU DON’T HAVE EXPERIENCE. It’s a catch-22 here. And, as of right now, I don’t see a way out of it unless this whole “can’t be hired without experience” thing stops.

Jack in the Box – Social Media Intern

I have strongly disliked this commercial from the first moment I saw it. The reason? Social Media is a legitimate marketing tool that should be taken seriously. This commercial makes it look like a joke. I think that Social Media Marketing is something in which every company should partake to reach a larger audience and be able to target specific market segments on different platforms. With technology growing as rampantly as it is, it is necessary for companies to have a digital presence in order to be taken seriously. If a company doesn’t have a website or can’t be found on Facebook, it tends to be overlooked for one that can be found online.

That being said, this commercial takes a very important marketing tool and turns it into a joke. I, for one, find that slightly offensive since digital marketing is what I do. As far as advertising its new Chipotle Chicken Club Combo, I’m sure this commercial is effective, but I tend to get irritated and tune it out every time I see it.

Former Research Topic: Cyberbullying

English: A graph showing where electronic aggr...

English: A graph showing where electronic aggression occurs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Throughout my time in college, I had to research a number of topics: religion’s role in femininity, physician-assisted suicide, and cyberbullying (to name a few). The one that I learned the most about and became the most passionate about is that of cyberbullying. People hear the term and have this idea in their heads of kids bullying other kids over the Internet, but that is only part of the picture.

With the rapid increase of technology and digital media, kids are switching from traditional bullying (which usually occurs during school hours on school grounds) to what is now known as cyberbullying. To fully understand the problem, it is first necessary to understand what the term “cyberbullying” means. Attorney Frederick Lane defines cyberbullying as creating a web page assuming another identity, as well as knowingly impersonating another person and distributing information that can be seen by more than one other person.

Cyberbullying comes in many different forms, the most common being harassment, denigration, flaming, impersonation and cyber stalking. Harassment is defined as repeatedly sending offensive or insulting messages. Denigration is distributing false, derogatory information about another person as well as sending pictures that have been digitally altered. Flaming is fighting on the Internet by posting angry and vulgar messages, most often seen in comments posted on YouTube. Impersonation is logging into someone else’s online account and using that person’s identity to post or send information about others. Lastly, cyber stalking is defined as the repeated sending of harmful or threatening messages that makes the receiver fear for his or her safety (Violence Prevention Works).

The effects resulting from cyberbullying are often more serious than those of traditional bullying because of the anonymity of the Internet, which encourages people to say things that they would not ordinarily say in person because they can hide behind a fake name and never have to be held accountable for what they say. It is also easy to share what other people say with the simple click of a button, allowing hundreds of people to see something at a time and even join in the bullying themselves (King).