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Discussion Guide

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Discussion Guide

Part A

Analytical questions:

  1. In what ways is neoliberalism antidemocratic and authoritarian?
  2. Is neoliberalism as progressive as it is depicted to be?

Comment/reaction: Even though neoliberalism is founded on the premise of free trade and free movement of goods from one region to another, the fact that it is promoted by specific organizations and governments results in its endorsing overbearing regulations that might the level of capitalism that it seeks to endorse.

Current news article: Monbiot, George. Neoliberalism- The Ideology at the Root of All Our Problems. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot. Accessed 14 Mar., 2017.

Which 3 countries and 4 leaders are associated with its global beginnings and when?

Deng Xiaoping is attributed with the role of introducing liberalization to the world in 1978. As a leader of an economy that was ruled by communists and which accounted for a significant portion of the world’s population, Deng used liberalization as a means of converting China from a closed communist economy into a capitalist nation with unmatched economic growth. Paul Volcker and President Ronald Regan are two American leaders that are associated with the propulsion of liberalization in the globe. As the head of the US Federal Reserve, Volker introduced liberalization in 1979 as a way of altering and modifying the existing monetary policy by adopting methods and ways aimed at fighting against inflation in the country irrespective of its consequences. In 1980, President Reagan supported the moves introduced by Volker as a way of revitalizing the American economy. The fourth leader associated with this concept is Margaret Thatcher who in 1979, as the British Prime Minister, was tasked with the role of fending off power accorded to the trade unions and which had resulted in an extensive inflationary inactivity that had affected the United Kingdom throughout the 1970s.

When and where was the “first experiment with neoliberal state formation”?

The first experiment with neoliberal state formation took place in Chile in 1973. On 11 September of that year, Pinochet led a coup against Salvador Allende, the country’s legitimate leader, due to his attempt to drive Chile towards socialism by using violence to curb any political organizations and social movements that supported the inception of socialist economy into the country. The coup was received huge support from international companies in the United States as well as the American Secretary of State.

What 3 international financial institutions are among the main groups spreading neoliberalism?

The three main international financial institutions that are promoting neoliberalism in the world include the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organization (WTO). The three organizations are tasked with the role of regulating trade and finance in the world, which has provided them with enough room to promote the adoption of neoliberalism concepts in various parts of the world.

Define neoliberalism

Neoliberalism is a term used to refer to a political-economic theory which stipulates that the most effective method of advancing the wellbeing of the citizens is by providing them with entrepreneurial skills and freedom through a well-defined institutional framework that is comprised of free trade, free markets, and resilient private property rights. For such a framework to exist, it is the duty of the state to establish and maintain appropriate institutional frameworks that would facilitate such an economy.

What are characteristic policies associated with neoliberalism?

The characteristic policies associated with neoliberalism include free trade, free markets, and protection of individual property rights. It is also characterized by a stable currency, military as well as legal defense structures, established markets, and minimum state intervention in its markets.

What are the goals of neoliberalism, explicit and implicit?

Neoliberalism seeks to prevent a catastrophic turn of events that would negatively affect the world’s economy through the collapse of its capitalist order. It is also a means through which inter-state rivalries that could lead to war can be avoided and prevented. Additionally, neoliberalism is fundamental in maintaining a state of peace and serenity within any given state by establishing a state of concession between its capital and labor.

Chicano

Chinano Studies
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The Bronze Screen: Chicana and Chicano Film Culture by Rosa Fregoso
The book The Bronze Screen: Chicana and Chicano Film Culture by Rosa Fregoso is about contemporary cinematic stereotyping and typecasting of Latinos in Hollywood. This book explores the range, evolution and impact of these representations of Latinos in cinema and commercials.
According to the book, Latino women are presented in different ways in cinemas. On one hand she can be presented as as the temptress, vamp, morally loose, lustful, unfaithful, sexually manipulative or promiscuous. For example the Mexican Lupe Velez was presented as a sexual icon in most of the commercials and films she features in. on the other hand, Latino women are presented as submissive women who are virgins. This presentation is usually in relation to a white man who is wealthy. The woman in this case is presented as a male fantasy, a low class servant working for the whites. These stereotypes have been expanded and maintained by actresses who in desperation for a job have had to mould themselves to fit the stereotype. Such actresses and actors are given names such as Mexican Spit fire, Latin Lover and Brazilian Bombshell so as to propagate the image. In most cases, those who are not labeled have to change their names so they are not so ethnic. For example Elizabeth Pena had to change her name to Elizabeth Sterling. The male actors on the other hand are presented as drug dealers, human traffickers, killers or illegal immigrants in Hollywood films. The actors and actresses are then encouraged to talk with an accent. The impact is that most of these actors and actresses end up depressed as they are forced to be people they are not. In addition, they can only get limited roles that fit the stereotype.
The popular presentations of Latinos in Hollywood cinemas are not only hindering but also demeaning. The representations reinforce historical inequalities and make people have a low opinion of Latinos. The presentations are also distorted as they do not accurately represent the full spectrum of what it is to be a Latino.
Racism on Trial: The Chicano Fight for Justice by Haney-López
Chapter 4 of the book Racism on Trial: The Chicano Fight for Justice by Haney-López is titled ‘Judges and Intentional Racism’. This chapter is about how judges came to be intentionally racial and how this racism was maintained by the court system.
Judges came up with rulings that were against the Latinos not because there lacked evidence in support of the cases filed by Latinos but because it was intentional. One of the ways through which judges maintained their racism without appearing too obvious is through the use of grand juries. Whereas grand juries were created with a good intention, they have been misused over time. First off, members of grand juries in most cases were inclined towards the prosecutor who was mostly a white man presenting his case against a Latino. They were not inclined towards prosecutor because of his color but because he was the prosecutor. In addition, at the very least, some of the members in these juries were friends and neighbors of the judges. This happened either by chance or by design. This ultimately meant that they were biased and not in the very least objective in their rulings. To make matters worse, judges knew few Mexicans and since judges were most of the time tasked with picking the grand jury, it ultimately meant that Mexicans were excluded from participating in grand juries.
In such an arrangement whether it happens purely by chance or by design, the decisions made are bound to be discriminatory. Latinos did not stand a chance when the grand jury was so obviously ‘White’.
Works Cited
Fregoso, Rosa L. The Bronze Screen: Chicana and Chicano Film Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993. Print.
Haney-López, Ian. Racism on Trial: The Chicano Fight for Justice. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2003. Print.

History

The Death of American Idealism
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Robert Francis Kennedy (RFK) was born on the 20th of November, 1925 and died on the 6th of June, 1968. He was the brother to John F. Kennedy, the American president who was assassinated in 1963. Robert Kennedy like his brother was also assassinated. RFK served as the senator for New York from 1965 till his death. Before this, he was the U.S. Attorney General during the tenures of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson from 1961 to 1964. RFK was a democrat and he was running for president in 1968 under the Democratic Party when he was shot to death. Robert Francis Kennedy is seen by many as an icon of American idealism and a true representation of American idealism. However with his death, the values that constitute American liberalism and idealism were discarded one by one until they died all together.
Idealism can be defined as the holding in high regard or pursuit of noble or high purposes, principles, values and goals. Idealism has the connotation of conceiving reality as it ought to be. In the context of the United States idealism as a political concept meant the pursuit of internal political philosophy that is aligned with foreign policy. Liberalism on the other hand is a political philosophy that is founded on the concepts of equality and liberty. In the United States, liberalism is anchored on the unalienable rights of the person. Liberalism is centered on ideals such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of press, right to due process of the law, separation of the church and state and equality before the law. Under liberalism are also principles such as civil rights, free trade, free and fair elections and private property. Robert F. Kennedy was at the forefront of the political crises and social movements that America went through in the 1960s. In the different capacities that he served the nation, he advised and steered America through some of its most pivotal moments.
RFK’s ideology was a reflection of idealism and liberalism. He was a strong oppose of corruption and organized crime and believed in the ideal of integrity. This is shown when in 1960 he published a book titled the Enemy Within which brought to light the corruption of the Teamsters as well as other unions. He was a strong proponent of civil rights. In 1961 at the University of Georgia Law School, he gave a speech that clearly showed that he was for equal rights between blacks and whites. He spoke in support of the 1954 Supreme Court ruling that racial separation of schools was unconstitutional. He was also known to answer late night calls from Coretta Scott King about her husband who was imprisoned for taking part in civil rights demonstrations. As Attorney General, he ensured that realistic numbers of blacks and other marginalized ethnicities were incorporated in the administration. He even criticized the then Vice President Lyndon Johnson for not desegregating his staff. In 1962 in an interview RFK was asked what his biggest challenge as Attorney General was and he said civil rights. In the September of 1962, RFK sent U.S. Marshalls to enforce a court order that allowed the first African American to be admitted to the University of Mississippi. Robert Kennedy collaborated with the presidents under which he served to come up with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which brought an end to Jim Crow Laws. He was a vocal supporter of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Robert Kennedy believed in the right to life. As Attorney General of John F. Kennedy’s administration, he saw to it that the federal government undertook its last pre Furman execution. RFK in 1968 expressed his enthusiasm to support a bill that was on the abolition of the death penalty. This showed his support for idealism as well as liberalism. Robert Kennedy was strongly against any kind of war. During the Cuba Missile Crisis, Robert helped develop the strategy that ensured that a nuclear war situation was not reached. In this case, he advocated for not initiating a military strike. RFK even called for a stop in further intensification of the Vietnam War and in 1967, he advocated for withdrawal from Vietnam. To Robert Kennedy, foreign policy ought to be guided by human rights. In 1968 when he announced his presidential bid, he emphasized racial and economic justice, decentralization of power and non aggressive foreign policy. In his last speech, Kennedy said: “I do not believe I can be successful without your help and support. I ask this, not for myself, but for the cause and the ideas, which moved you to begin this great popular movement. . . . With you I know we can keep faith with the American need and the American desire for peace and for justice, and for a government dedicated to giving the people mastery over their own affairs and future.” (Palermo, 2008)
The idealism and liberalism values that Robert Kennedy advocated for were shattered by his death. Decades after his death, those values that made America the land to emulate have died. First off, America’s foreign policy is a complete walk over the principles of democracy and sovereignty. In most cases, the nation’s foreign policy is not fueled by human rights as RFK envisioned, it is fueled by greed for power and control. America is all too happy playing the bully as long as its interests are protected. The war in the Middle East in an example of how America exerts her power unnecessarily. For once, more than half of American citizens support the pulling out of American troops from the Middle East. It is also a fact that America’s presence in the Middle East does nothing to improve the condition of the people there. The use of drones on other world leaders has also been contested by many. This is because a lot of collateral damage has been experienced in the event of a drone launched bomb. America preaches that other nations should not have nuclear power yet it has nuclear power. In so doing, America infringes on the sovereignty of other nations something that goes against American idealism. Internal philosophy is no longer aligned with foreign policy. America reacts very harshly to her citizen’s security being threatened yet she specializes in covert missions that target citizens in other nations in the name of terror. All this is done without regard to the right to life or right to due process as enshrined in the doctrine of liberalism. In the name of democracy, the democrats and conservatives are bleeding the nation dry and withholding services that would have made everyone achieve the American dream just for political expediency.
Robert Francis Kennedy’s life is a living testament of what it truly meant to be an American. He lamented the loss of a higher purpose for America: “The gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play,” he said. “It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile” (Palermo, 2008). Robert Kennedy called for social justice and a true purpose. This spirit that has since died but we should strive to revive.

Works Cited
Palermo, Joseph A. Robert F. Kennedy and the Death of American Idealism. New York: Pearson Longman, 2008. Print.

Women’s & gender studies

Betrayed by the Angel
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In ‘Betrayed by the Angel’ by Debra Anne Davis, she was betrayed by the angel. The angel in this case is the part of herself that is sympathetic, kind and polite. The angel is that part of the author that was completely unselfish, the part that could sacrifice itself for others. The angel is the part of the author that did what was expected of her never once having a mind of her own. The angel was that part of the author that was pure, tender and lived to flatter. This is the part that was polite even in the face of violence. Although being an angel had so far worked for the author, the angel at last did betray her. At one point, this angle opened her apartment door to a stranger in politeness. This stranger ended up raping her. Even during the sad ordeal of being raped, the angel kept being polite to the rapist, even complimenting him. the angel said that “And I want to flatter him, so he won’t hurt me anymore than he already plans to.” (536). Even in the face of danger, the angle instead of fighting was preoccupied with being nice.
After the rape, the author says that she found that she was rude to strangers, not out of anger but out of fear. She says that she caught the angel by the throat and did her best to kill her. This is because she realized that the angel may not always be good for her. But she did not succeed in killing the angel although she tried. The angel kept showing up. This is seen when the rapist is sentenced to 35 years in jail. The author writes “The police, the lawyers, the judge-the state, the legal system- even he, the criminal, the rapist, thought he deserved decades in jail for what he’d done to me. Why didn’t I?” (537). The angel is still feeling sorry for the rapist.
Works Cited
Shaw, Susan M, and Janet Lee. Women’s Voices, Feminist Visions: Classic and Contemporary Readings. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012. Print.

Political science

The U.S. Global Ratings

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The article reports the results of a poll done by the BBC World Service on views of different nations. According to this poll which was done in all the continents, positive views of the Unites States continue to go down. 34% of all interviewed had negative views of the U.S. 57% of Chinese respondents view America negatively while 64% of Pakistan respondents view the U.S negatively. The article is useful in giving the views of other nationalities on the United States but does not state why there is an increase in the negative attitudes or what should be done about the crisis.

However, the article is useful in showing an emerging trend with Asian countries recording the most negative opinions and attitudes towards the U.S, this is especially so in the Muslim nations. One of the reasons why there may be an increase in negative attitudes on the U.S. maybe the United States foreign policy. The war in Afghanistan and Iran in particular has made negative opinions to increase in many Muslim nations. Many people today believe that the presence of America in the Middle East does very little to offer stability in the region, in fact the presence is deemed by many to be a threat to stability. Many nations including China perceive America as a bully. According to other studies done, many people subscribe to the view that America exerts a great deal of influence on other nations’ economies. This influence was mostly seen as negative. The U.S. drone campaign against extremist organizations and leaders has also received a lot of opposition worldwide. The U.S. has also been blamed for the financial crisis that the world experienced in 2008. If the United States is to improve its ratings, there is need to change its foreign policy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bbc World Service Poll. Views of China and India Slide While UK’s Ratings Climb: Global Poll. Toronto, Ont.: GlobeScan Inc, 2013.

Pharaonic Civilization

Pharaonic Civilization
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Egyptian civilization or Pharaonic civilization is the name given to the ancient civilization in the Northeastern of Africa in what is now called Egypt. Ancient Egypt was divided into Upper Egypt which was in the Nile Valley and the Lower Egypt which was in the Nile Delta. According to conventional Egyptian chronology, this civilization took root around 3150 BC during the time of the coming together of the lower and upper Egypt under the first pharaoh. A series of stable kingdoms were then established during which this civilization thrived. This is why the Egyptian civilization is called Pharaonic civilization. The seeds of this civilization were sown on the banks of the Nile River. The Nile attracted people to its banks due to its good climate, water and good soils. Before the dynasties were established, hunters who were nomadic settled along the banks of the Nile and practiced a measure of growing crops in order to supplement their food supply. The river flooded annually depositing rich silt soil that was good for growing flax, wheat and other crops. As a result, people built irrigation canals for cultivation purposes. The history of the Pharaonic civilization has been divided into 31 dynasties distributed among seven periods: the archaic period, old kingdom, intermediate period, middle kingdom, intermediate kingdom, new kingdom and Post Empire.
From time to time the two kingdoms broke up and came together again with the pharaohs immortalizing their achievements and lives with huge stone monuments some of which are surviving to date. The pharaonic civilization was one of the most successful ancient civilizations partly because people were able to adapt themselves to the Nile River. The flooding of the Nile and irrigation led to surplus food which in turn fueled the development of culture. The surplus resources were also used in the mining of the Nile Valley as well as surrounding desert areas. It is during this time that the Egyptians started developing a writing system, established collective agricultural projects, undertook trade with neighboring areas, raised a powerful army and asserted Egyptian dominance. The pharaohs with the help of religious leaders, administrators and scribes ensured unity in the context of Egyptian world view and religious beliefs. The Pharaonic civilization had many achievements some of which include surveying, quarrying and elaborate construction techniques that are unparalleled to date. This period saw the construction of massive pyramids and temples. During the pharaonic civilization the Egyptians were able to come up with an effective mathematical system and medicine system. It is during this time that Egyptian art and architecture thrived most. Ancient Egypt also had foreign influences from the Assyrians, Persians, Greek and the Romans. It is this and other internal factors that molded Egypt into the civilization it came to be. The importance of the pharaohs in the pharaonic civilization cannot be ignored. They were the divine representatives of God on earth, they were in fact gods. It is this notion that unified the people into a common cause. Perhaps the most important legacy of the Pharaonic civilization is architecture. Ancient Egyptians built tombs, temples, palaces and pyramids out of stone. Stone being the most durable building material enabled these structures to survive for thousands of years as a tribute that this civilization was great. These buildings were decorated with carved images, paintings and statues. All these combined tell the story of the great pharaonic civilization, its beauty and grandeur.
Works Cited
Grimal, Nicolas-Christophe. A History of Ancient Egypt. Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1992. Print.

chicano

Ahistorical Study of Chinanos
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When Martha Menchaca states that Chinanos were studied ahistorically, she means that Latinos and Mexican Americans were previously studied without regard for actual historical tradition or development (Menchaca, p15). She means that those who studies Chinanos before were often historically ignorant or inaccurate. The arguments given in Latino studies often lacked historical context and disregarded historical implication or fact. Menchaca by saying that Mexican Americans were studied ahistorically means that they were studied in a way that was not historically relevant, a way that had no consequence in the decision making of modern life. Chinano studies were often independent of what really happened in the past.
Charles Mann in his 1491 argues that inquiry into Indian culture and history has always been contentious (Mann, p4). This is because the older generation researchers do not agree with recent discoveries and dismiss it as willful misinterpretation with the intent to be politically correct. The older generation scholars assert that the scale of native loss has been exaggerated as they do not believe that there were that many natives before the whites took over. Older generation researchers seek to hold this view as it does not affect the already established white peoples structures and systems. This view has no direct consequences for ecological decisions in today’s world, it is ahistorical. It is also ahistorical because it ignores clear evidence that there was a huge settlement of natives before whites took over, it is historically inaccurate. There is also a historically wrong belief that the Americas in 1941 was untouched and this has been the driving force behind the call by ecologists to restore it to its original natural state. Older generation researchers therefore want this ahistorical view maintained because If new evidence showing that the Americas was not untouched, efforts to restore ‘nature’ will have no motivation. Historically however, native Indians in the Americas built roads, canals, causeways, dikes, mounds, reservoirs, made agricultural fields and even caught fish in the flooded grasslands (Mann, p5). The Indians even set fire to the grasslands to maintain and expand them. There are ahistorical studies however that claim that the Americas was untouched. This ahistorical perspective of Chinano studies is developed through schemes such as the use of researchers who are outsiders, who do not emphasize and instead just judge the people being studied wrongly. Indeed according to Manns, one ethnographer by the name Allan Holmberg lived with the natives and recorded his findings on them. However, his reports were mostly negative and marred with ethnocentrism he calls the natives ‘ among the most culturally backward people of the world….man in the raw state of nature’ (Mann, p8) . It is not like the ones that argue against historical facts are not aware of the facts, they choose to ignore them so they can propagate their political or personal interests. For example those who argue that the Americas was unsettled and untouched propagate that the Indian populated areas should be kept as a wilderness. This is a politically popular view but it disadvantages those Indians who have lived in these lands for generations as they need to put these lands to economic use for their own sustenance.
According to Gloria Anzaldua’s Borderlands, Mexicans have been secluded through borderlines from a land that was originally theirs. In 1846, the United States incited Mexico into war and took what is now Texas, New Mexico, California, Colorado and Arizona from the Mexicans (Anzaldúa, p7). However, today many Chinano studies are historically inaccurate presenting these areas as part of the United States without regard to the rightful owners who were forced to abandon their homes and ranches. Many Chinano studies especially those not done by Chinanos themselves are ahistorical as they seek to maintain the injustices done to Chinanos. For example today most of Mexico almost completely depends on the United States. What such ahistorical studies do not mention is that Mexicans were dispossessed of their land by the whites and that is why they cannot sustain themselves. These ahistorical perspectives were developed and maintained by such structures such as borders that purpose to keep Mexicans within the small and less developed area that the whites did not take from them. Borders give an illusion that Mexicans only belong to the lands within their own borders. Borders also serve the purpose of making Mexicans feel that they have to cross over to the United States if they are to succeed in life. Anzaldua writes that the U.S. Mexican border is “where the third world grates against the first and bleeds” (Anzaldúa, p3). It is these borders that give people the wrong impression, that distort history. The U.S. Mexican border for example makes Mexicans feel like aliens and makes Americans see Mexicans across the border as tragressors. Borders therefore reinforce the historically inaccurate information that has been fed to people. They disguise the fact that in deed the land that the Mexicans are being barred from was theirs in the beginning and should be theirs now. Borders hide the fact that Mexicans were “jerked out by the roots, trunscated, disemboweled, dispossessed and separated from their identity and history” (Anzaldúa, p8). Structures like borders give possession where it does not belong and continue to maintain a historical injustice.
Works Cited

Anzaldúa, Gloria. Borderlands: The New Mestiza = La Frontera. San Francisco: Spinsters/Aunt Lute, 1987. Print.

Menchaca, Martha. Recovering History, Constructing Race: The Indian, Black, and White Roots of Mexican Americans. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001. Print.

Mann, Charles C. 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. New York: Knopf, 2005. Print.

Chicano

Naturalizing Mexican Immigrants

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Naturalizing Mexican Immigrants: A Texas History by Martha Menchaca

Chapter one of the book Naturalizing Mexican Immigrants: A Texas History by Martha Menchaca is titled ‘From the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Border to the U.S. Civil War’. This chapter is about the citizenship laws of the United States that had an impact on the Mexican people after the Mexican-American war.

The chapter in particular talks about how the naturalization laws of the time included only white immigrants and restricted other immigrants. For example the Naturalization Act of 1790. After the break of the civil war in the United States, there was liberalization of naturalization laws. President Abraham Lincon and his Mexican counterpart President Benito Juarez were very pivotal in establishing friendly relations between the two races. It is these relations that benefited the Mexican immigrants in the United States. The bad blood that had been developed during the Mexican-American war was diluted by embracing diplomacy between the two nations. In deed for the first time in a long time, trade and immigration between the two nations was a diplomatic endeavor. As a result of the new friendly relations between Mexico and America, the first naturalization law made specifically for Mexicans immigrants was passed in 1868. The Naturalization Treaty of 1868 provided that Mexicans should be given citizenship not on the basis of race but on the basis of nation. This in effect meant that the whites only naturalization requirement seized to apply on Mexicans.

The naturalization laws of the United States have been amended many times over the years. Although there are still some issues in this law, naturalization as it applies to Mexicans in the United States has also become much easier than it was before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

Menchaca, Martha. Naturalizing Mexican Immigrants: A Texas History. Austin. Tex: Univ. of Texas Press, 2011. Print.

Plato and Descartes

Plato and Descartes

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Part 1

Although the utility of such extensive doubt is not readily apparent, nevertheless its greatest utility lies in freeing us from all our prejudices….

According to Descartes, beliefs about ourselves and others as well as general worldview are pervasively influenced by routine and certain inclinations imposed on us especially during our early years of development (Descartes, p2). This gives people false certainty in their senses. Because of this false certainty, we tend to assume that things are the way we perceive them to be. In order to unlearn things as we are used to, we should doubt. If an element of doubt was injected, one may be able to experience things differently; one may see things differently only because they dared to open their minds to the possibilities. Socrates on the other hand believes in the method of doubt in order to find truth. His method is called hypothesis elimination where the better argument is found by identifying contradictions in other arguments. I do believe that doubt is essential if one is to grow or develop. Doubting as Descartes doubts is useful. It is only through casting everything in doubt that one can unlearn all biased knowledge and learn objective knowledge. Through doubting, one can actually accrue a body of knowledge that is the truth or at the very least closer to the truth. As a child and through most of my teenage years, I strongly believed that taking alcoholic drinks according to the Christian faith was a sin. This is because I heard this notion being reinforced over and over again. I believed that this was a Biblical teaching. It is only later when I began to doubt this belief that I learnt that taking alcohol according to the Bible was not a sin, rather the excessive drinking or misbehavior caused by drinking is a sin. Had I not put my belief in doubt, I would still hold it to be the Gospel truth.

Part 2

….in preparing the easiest way for us to withdraw the mind from the senses…

Doubting according to Descartes helps the mind to withdraw from the senses by loosening the grip that these senses have on our minds. Doubting frees the mind from all distortions and prejudices and prepares it and for any new knowledge. This allows one to recognize and embrace new information that can replace existing assumptions. In Socrates’ Phaedo, he says that the only way one can achieve true wisdom and knowledge or absolute health, strength and greatness is if he is withdrawn from the senses (Plato and Benjamin, p3). Withdrawing from the senses in this case means dying. According to Socrates, the truth can only be achieved in death as one is no longer confused by the senses or the body. Through Socrates, we come to understand Descartes’ apology which teaches about caring for the soul while at the same time doubting everything. We come to understand that what Descartes meant is that we should put everything that is physical under doubt. This is because it can be influenced by the senses of the body. However, since the soul is not physical, it can gain unbiased truth and it should therefore be taken care of. Almost every individual has at one point or another wondered what happens after death. Although we may speculate and different religions have come up with different assertions, no one who is living can be sure really. The only way we can truly know is if one died, if one was free from physical senses.

 

Part 3

…and finally, in making it impossible for us to doubt any further those things we later discover to be true.

The Apology and Meditation 1 teach that we should doubt everything while the Phaedo and Meditation 2-4 teach that certain truths can be discovered beyond doubt. If we are to doubt everything, the new quest for truth after doubting can never be successful. First off, I do not believe that one can doubt without basis. If one doubts it is because he has reason to believe that what he thought to be true is not, infact, such a person may even have other assumptions he believes to be the truth. Doubting in this case only serves to find a basis for that ‘new’ knowledge he already believes to be the ‘new’ truth. According to Descartes argument, true knowledge requires one to be certain. If this is true, one can never achieve truth successfully because he would need to put all knowledge under doubt. Even new discovery, information or knowledge can never be treated as the truth. Instead it is becomes old knowledge which should be in turn doubted in order to generate new knowledge. If this were to happen, then the search for truth would end up being cyclical. At no one point would one assert that they have gained absolute truth as what may be taken as truth should also be doubted. Even when the mind cannot find new evidence in support of what one doubts, it does not mean that this is the truth, it only means that the mind has reached its end. Following this philosophy, there is no truth, no perfect and no end as every ‘truth’ is prejudiced.

 

 

 

Works Cited

Descartes, René. Meditations on First Philosophy. Raleigh, N.C: Alex Catalogue, 1990. Internet resource. Retrieved from

http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/descartes/1639/meditations.htm

 

Plato, , and Benjamin Jowett. Phaedo. New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1990. Internet resource. Retrieved from

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1658

 

chicano

Racism on Trail
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Racism on Trial: The Chicano Fight for Justice by Haney-López: Chapter 7
Chapter 7 of the book Racism on Trial: The Chicano Fight for Justice by Haney-López is titled ‘The Chinano Movement and the East L.A Thirteen’. The chapter is about how the Chinano movement started and took root in America.
The chapter discusses how Oscar Acosta (Chinano Lawyer) and thirteen defendants of the East L.A. Thirteen proved their case of racial discrimination. After three decades of trying to achieve success in a white dominated society, Chinanos came to realize that that was not happening because they were disadvantaged. This was the start of the militization of the Chinano movement. Three groups led by Cesar Chavez, Reies Lopez Tijerina and Gonzales took the Chinano movement to the next level. It is these groups that initially provided the avenue for Chinanos to aggressively fight for their rights. The Black movement also had a major influence on the Chinano movement. Through the Black movement, pride in the non white racial identity was promoted. Chinano activists adopted strategies similar to those of black activists since they felt that they shared the same plight with blacks. This was especially so in East Los Angeles where Chinano racial awareness was raised. It is during one of the Chinano protests that thirteen Chinano movement leaders were arrested. The resulting fight for their release and the following court charges brought against the thirteen only served to fuel the Chinano identity.
In any society that has a multiplicity of races, there is always the race that tries to dominate the others. Almost always, these race does not accept that it should be equal to the others and what follows are attempts by the underdog to prove otherwise. The first step is usually to be conscious that in deed there is an anormally; that people are being disadvantaged and only then can such a people successfully demonstrate. It was the case with the Chinanos in America.
Racism on Trial: The Chicano Fight for Justice by Haney-López: Chapter 9
Chapter 7 of the book Racism on Trial: The Chicano Fight for Justice by Haney-López is titled ‘Inventing Chinanos’. This chapter discusses how the Chinano identity was formed and reinforced.
By March 1968, people began to be aware of the term Chinano. However, the full meaning of this word took decades to be fully understood. Previously, Mexicans were viewed as lazy, dirty, cowardly, criminal and dark. Hence the term Chinano had a negative connotation to it. Mexicans at first tried to change this view of Mexicans by asserting that they were white people with Spanish surnames. In so doing, Mexicans thought that they would adopt the positive traits associated with being white. However, white people still treated Mexicans as lower than them and this pushed Mexicans to want to adopt a more independent identity. Inspired by the Black Movement, Mexicans started thinking of themselves as not white. With time, this view was so widely accepted by Mexicans that they deliberately tried not to ‘be white’. In fact, the need to develop an individual identity by Mexicans led to anti white feelings among Mexicans. Whites started being viewed in negative light and were seen as a threat to the very survival of Mexicans. Hate towards whites unified and motivated Mexicans. Police repression together with the Chinano movement helped shape the Chinano racial identity.
As is common in many marginalized races of the world, there is usually a need to establish a racial identity in order to be liberated. Just as the case with the Mexicans, in most of these cases, it is important for the marginalized group to accept that they are an individual identity, unique from that of the dominant group. The formation of a clear racial identity is usually a process that can take years to fully mature.
Works Cited
Haney-López, Ian. Racism on Trial: The Chicano Fight for Justice. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2003. Print.