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Young Women Are More Likely to Drop Out of High School

Teens boy and girls are placed in a position where they have to take responsibilities for a lot of their own actions. This could be caused by the lack of a parental figure in the person’s life. When there isn’t any attention given towards them, there’s no other way than to have another person fill in the spot. On top of working or dealing with pregnancy, teens are also given another huge level of stress everyday due to the amount of work given to them in school. Usually, when a person is stressed, the best thing for their mind is some type of comfort or support. Who wouldn’t want to hear some kind words? In America, a proper education is the main ingredient to succeeding. However, because of the lack of moral support provided for teenagers, or high school students, many follow each other’s footsteps by dropping out of school.

Consider the story of Kenny Buchanan, who dropped out of high school in Schuylkill County, PA. After twenty six years, Kenny realized that maybe his decision of dropping out was a bad idea due to the fall of the economy. This basically meaning that people that most jobs require a high school diploma, etc. Now, Kenny is struggling to find a job, because he does not have a high school diploma. According to an interview from npr.org, Kenny talks about his decision to drop out by stating, “[In] ninth grade, I dropped out of school. I was 18. I flunked twice, I had no interest, and I told my mom 'cause I was living at home at the time, I said, 'I'm done, I'm not going back to school,'" he says.” This shows a perfect example of lack of support. Kenny failed twice and finally spoke out about dropping out of school. Instead of his mother convincing him to stay in school, she apparently agreed to it, showing the lack of support from his parents. What Kenny really needed was some motivation or support from his mother to keep him going despite the amount of times he failed. Although there isn’t a stated reason as to why he failed twice, one thing that could be said is that he wasn’t getting the help and attention that he needed.

Teen pregnancy is a huge crisis in the United States. It is the top country in the world with the highest teen pregnancy rate. According to teenpregnancystatistics.org, “The drop out rates among pregnant teens is 90 percent across the United States.” This shows that more than fifty percent of the students that drop out are female. This is a huge percentage that could possibly show how females are the ones that lack the most support and attention needed.

Consider the story about a teen mom who made the difficult decision to drop out of school. Katie Vance is a teen mom from Charleston, West Virginia and she said, "Once my baby was born, I didn't really have much help with her. My parents were divorced, and my dad was always working. I tried a day care center, but there were issues with them. The father of the baby was still here, but he also worked. I just felt hopeless. I decided I was going to drop out and get my GED, which I did.” This shows that Katie’s decision was influenced by the lack of help and support from a trusted person. Katie was too busy worrying about too many things at once alone that she was not emotionally stabled. She did not talk about her mother, meaning that her mother was not there physically and mentally. Katie may not have been close with her mother and that is the parental presence that she may have needed in order to feel more hopeful since her father and the baby’s dad were both working.

When asked, high school teens might say that they are able to be successful without finishing school. But on closer inspection, it is hard for them to even find jobs because most jobs require a high school diploma. Teens need to be able to feel supported and motivated and if they’re not getting that type of attention, then they don’t feel the need to stay in school and finish because most teens will feel that they don’t have the potential to finish.




Works Cited:

"Drop Out Rates Among Pregnant Teens." Teen Pregnancy Statistics. Teen Pregnancy Statistics, 13 Oct. 2015. Web. 13 Oct. 2015. <http://www.teenpregnancystatistics.org/content/drop-out-rates-among-pregnant-teens.html>.

"Making a Difficult Choice: High School Drop Out Tells Her Story."Charleston Gazette-Mail. Charleston Gazette-Mail, 10 Jan. 2014. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.

<http://www.wvgazettemail.com/News/201401100105>


Sanchez, Claudio. "A High School Dropout's Midlife Hardships." School's Out: America's Dropout Crisis. Npr, 28 July 2011. Web. 13 Oct. 2015. <http://www.npr.org/2011/07/28/138741367/a-high-school-dropouts-mid-life-hardships>.



3 Comments

The American Dream

The American Dream


On July 4th, 1776, The Founding Fathers of the United States of America had written the Declaration of Independence. This document told of a particular promise of “certain unalienable Rights, that amongst these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” This statement is the crux of the idea known as the American Dream. It promises citizens the ability to live and be whoever they want to be. However, today Americans live in a world where achieving that vision is very difficult to achieve for a great many people in our country. The middle class of this country is dwindling and many do not have access to luxuries such as health care, education and insurance. As a result, People nowadays are beginning to lose faith in the feasibility of the American Dream.


One of the reasons that people are losing faith in the American Dream is because of how hard it is to even start on that path towards wealth and happiness. Middle and lower class citizens often do not have the resources to get this ball, of high social mobility rolling. As Ben Casselman had observed in a study from the analysis blog fivethirtyeight.com, the middle class has not had its wage increase in the past 16 years. Additionally, the number  of middle class households in America is dropping, because The median household income is decreasing for middle class of Americans, while upper class incomes increased. This is causing a slow death of the middle class of America. This causes many people to lose even more opportunities than they had to begin with, which disallows people to progress with their dream.


Another one of these reasons is because of how difficult it is for one to acquire sufficient health care in this country and as wealth slowly drifts away from the middle-class, the cost of medical care is increasingly being born by those families. An annual study by the Milliman actuarial firm shows that the employer-funded portion of healthcare has risen 52 percent since 2007, the first year of the recession. In addition, household costs has increased by an astonishing 73 percent, or 8 percent per year, now averaging out to be $9,144. This means that average household health care costs are increasing as income decreases. This amount of payment can become very strenuous to the average middle-class family.


Another huge obstacle that many middle to lower class citizens is the search for affordable college education. This is not to mention the immense amount of debt many people have borne on their shoulders. Since the year 1985, college costs have risen by 500 percent and the overall consumer price index has risen by 115 percent. Also as of 2013, the estimated cost for tuition at a private university was $130,000 for over four years, excluding the cost for food, lodging, books, and any other expenses. The fact that colleges can be this costly makes it very difficult for the average American citizen to deal with.


The American Dream is beginning to feel like what it exactly is, a dream. Many people may fantasize about having immense amounts of wealth but, very few will actually end up achieving it. Some people have even given themselves a new dream, an “American Dream 2.0” if you will. This new vision consists of the ideas that anyone can go to college if they have the necessary resources, are okay with going into debt, can somehow get the coveted scholarship, are willing to go to community college, or come from a family of means. Their updated “dream” shows that people are beginning to lose faith that they can achieve this vision of wealth and are starting to willingly settle for less. The rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of Happiness may be unalienable but, in the present day, they are also unattainable.


Works cited:

www.cbsnews.com. CBS, 06 09 2015, website, 16 09 2015


Richard Eskow. www.alternet.org. AlterNet. 22 10 2014. website. 16 09 2015


Joe Pinsker. www.theatlantic.com. The Atlantic. 06 15 2015. website. 16 09 2015


Amy Traub, Heather C. McGhee. www.demos.org Demos. 06 06 2013. website. 16 09 2015


1 Comment

Student Athletes are Still Students


  Student Athletes are Still Students



The sports industry brings in one of the largest revenues in the country. College level sports are growing in revenue, now that it consists of the rounds playoff games. This means more ticket sales, merchandise sales, more opportunities for making money. Yet, fans forget these athletes are also students. They advertise their athletic statistics, but what about their grades? College student athletes, particularly those who play football, are given unfair advantages over those who do not play sports because of the revenue the institutions receive from their programs.

Student athletes receiving special treatment from educational institutions has been an issue for well over 30 years. The non-athlete students are not the only people being affected by the disadvantages.  In the mid-1980s, a female professor, at the University of Georgia was fired because she noticed a student’s grade was changed in one of her classes. He was a football player. The professor later filed a lawsuit; the institution claimed to have changed the player’s grade so he was able to compete in a game. An attorney representing the University of Georgia had agreed with Mrs.Kemp’s focus of the suit, that athletes get special treatment. According to a quote taken from his opening statement, he said, ''We may not make a university student out of him, but if we can teach him to read and write, maybe he can work at the post office rather than as a garbage man when he gets through with his athletic career.” There is evidence that the academic institution is more concerned with how the student athletes will make more money after their college career, than how well his education is furthered. Thus, if their athletes go on to be professional players, that may entail that they will possibly donate back to the school that helped reach that career goal. College football programs make up to tens of millions of dollars in donations each year. The number one, top ranked football program, the University of Alabama, made $123,769, 841. The lowest ranked team, the University of Arkansas, made $8,392,852. (ESPN)

Most high school students in their academic career think at least once about college and whether all that money and debt is worth it in the end. With scholarship and financial aid opportunities dwindling, they also wonder could they actually pay for their education. While athletes already have zero debt, and no money coming out of their own pockets for their education and athletic expenses, they are also getting paid for being there. According to reports done by both CBS Sports and Forbes, the universities actually want to pay their football players even more; some universities already pay their players up to $125,000 a year. This includes the cost of their tuition, their room and board fees, their meals, and their coaching/training expenses. This is all considered “payment,” and with major universities with successful football programs considering to play their player even more, this could mean further disadvantages for their other athletic and educational programs. By contrast, most research done in university programs by students are funded by grants. These grants are usually from non-profit organizations wrestling the same cause, alumni from their specific field, etc. While students are struggling to find money to fund their research, education, and tuition, football players are receiving up to six figure salaries. For instance, the University of Michigan receives over 1,000,000 dollars from outside resources for students research; only about $100,000 comes from businesses, non-profits, etc. While, the university can afford to pay the new coach’s $40 million dollar salary, the player’s equipment fees, etc.

Friday Night Lights, the infamous movie and television series, was based on a nonfiction book that  follow a high school football coach in Texas, and his team as they all struggle with their performance in the games and in their lives. Buzz Bissinger, the author of the book, continues to put forth his opinion about the sport of football. Most recently, he wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal commenting on how banning football would allow academic institutions to thrive more. He highlighted an example from the University of Maryland. “The president [of the university], Wallace D. Loh, late last year announced that eight varsity programs would be cut in order to produce a leaner athletic budget, a kindly way of saying that the school would rather save struggling football and basketball programs than keep varsity sports such as track and swimming, in which the vast majority of participants graduate.” This is just further proof of the treatment college level football players receive. So much that, the university is willing to cancel other varsity sports. This could potentially mean that these athletes will lose their athletic full or partial scholarships, if they received one. Therefore, other student athletes from other sports are being affected and cut off, just to fund football players.

College institutions have always posed physical, emotional, and academic challenges to their students. Yet, student athletes who play football only overcome their physical performance obstacles. With their grades being changed by coaches, up to six figure salaries, varsity sports getting cut to fund their program even more, it is clear that there is no limit to the special treatment these student athletes receive. Yet, throughout all of this we can look up their on the field statistics, but what about their off the field statistics from their classes? Student athletes are still students, but to major universities they are only money bags.


Works Cited:


ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. Web. 20 Sept. 2015.

<http://espn.go.com/ncaa/revenue>.


"Players about to Get Paid as Money Changes Game in College Athletics." CBSSports.com. Web. 20 Sept. 2015. <http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/writer/dennis-dodd/25083726/players-about-to-get-paid-as-money-changes-game-in-college-athletics>.


Forbes. Forbes Magazine. Web. 20 Sept. 2015. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/leighsteinberg/2013/09/06/time-to-treat-college-athletes-fairly/>.


Forbes. Forbes Magazine. Web. 20 Sept. 2015. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffreydorfman/2013/08/29/pay-college-athletes-theyre-already-paid-up-to-125000year/>.


Forbes. Forbes Magazine. Web. 21 Sept. 2015. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/chrissmith/2012/05/07/would-banning-college-football-actually-help-academics/>.


"8 Things You Should Know about Sports Scholarships." CBSNews. CBS Interactive. Web. 21 Sept. 2015. <http://www.cbsnews.com/news/8-things-you-should-know-about-sports-scholarships/>.


"Why College Football Should Be Banned." WSJ. Web. 21 Sept. 2015. <http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304743704577382292376194220>.


 "The 50 Colleges Spending the Most on Research & Development in 2015." Best Colleges. Web. 7 Nov. 2015.  <http://www.bestcolleges.com/features/colleges-with-highest-research-and-development-expenditures/  >


Schmidt, William. "BENDING THE RULES FOR STUDENT ATHLETES." The New York Times. The New York Times, 13 Jan. 1986. Web. 7 Nov. 2015. <http://www.nytimes.com/1986/01/14/science/education-bending-the-rules-for-student-athletes.html>



2 Comments

Septa's Problems

 In Philadelphia there are many ways of transportation. Some citizens have their own cars, some citizens have bicycles, which is a great way of exercise and some citizens ride Septa. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. Septa has helped many citizens get to where they need to be at a certain time. But, Why is Septa's transportation systems so dirty? Passengers leave trash, passengers graffiti, and passengers even “Soils” themselves while riding on Septa. This has been a problem for a while, and Septa has tried to fix it, but these problems still occur. The reason it’s so hard for SEPTA to keep their system clean is because there’s always problems with the passengers of Septa. The reason why people feel that these things are acceptable is because, they know that Septa is a public place. So, if they leave a mess the  person behind them would have to clean up their mess. But, the truth is leaving a public place uncleanly is unacceptable.

 On, Septa passengers have seen many things, like arguments, comedy, even the homeless. One thing that is coming out to the public is that, Septa is infested with bed bugs. Yes, bed bugs. Bed bugs are a parasitic insect that feeds exclusively on blood. While searching through the web, an Article popped up, composed on Philadelphia.cbslocal.com. That shares details of one of Septa's passenger´s horrific experience. ¨I looked between the cracks of the seat and I was like ¨Oh my gosh that´s a Bed bug, says passenger Robert Roberts Jr.¨ This supports my thesis statement because it shows how nasty, disgusting, uncleanly, Septa is. With as many passengers and tourists Septa comes across daily, it would seem that they would keep their transportation systems clean.  This paragraph supports my thesis because it shows how Septa needs to improve their cleaning system on their transit lines. They have bed bugs, which can attach onto passenger, which would put a burden on their life. All Septa has to do is make a cleaning system to keep their transit lines clean.


  On a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis thousands of citizens use Septa in the Pennsylvania areas. As, this may be, Septa lets anyone on, who is eligible to pay the fare price. As long as you have $2.25 you can ride Septa´s transportation system. The thing is since, Septa lets anyone on, they should have rules. Now, they do have rules, but not the one´s that passengers would want to be put in place, like clothing, stench, & etc. And, the workers who have to enforce the rules, are the managers, ceo’s, and operators of Septa.  A recent post on PhillyMag.com shows different passengers, and their state of mind while they are riding Septa´s transportation system. There is 3 images of citizens on this post, One is a woman leaned over probably due to drugs, another is a man with his butt crack showing, and the other image shows another man sleep on the train. Some passengers do not have common decency to respect themselves and others on Septa. This maybe because they feel that the passenger that rides after them, will likely pick up the trash behind them. This shows that Septa has to clean up their policies a little, so passengers can enjoy their ride, and not have to be worried about an accident on a seat or with other passengers on the transportation vehicle.


Obviously, Septa was aware of the problems that they have been having on their transportation system. Details to show that this is true, is that they have launched a campaign in 2014. The campaign is called ¨Dude it's Rude¨. This campaign focuses on the difficulties passengers have on with following rules and being generous to other passengers. On, Septa's website (Septa.org), Septa´s representatives describe  the campaign. Included on the website is images of the posters, that Septa has made for their campaign. On the posters, the text always starts with Dude it's rude, then it shows a message to passengers. Some of the text includes, Dude it's rude: Take your Trash, Watch your language, Don't block the front aisle, etc. Septa knows it has many problems on their transportation system, and they are trying to fix it, but Septa isn´t doing everything they can to make sure that their transportation systems stays clean, and that their passengers stay happy.


   If the passengers of septa stopped to think about it, they would realize that the dirtiness of Septa is not just about the dirtiness of the transit system , but the passengers who ride the transit system as well. Septa has a very corrupt uncleanly system, that has to be kept up to date. They have to fix their bed bug problems, they have to check to see if their passengers are aware and stable enough to ride their transit lines, also they have to enforce rules, not just say it, but enforce it. And, the only people that can do that are the workers of Septa.

























Work Cited:


Annotations:

1.

Link (Links to an external site.)

Laughlin, Jason. "Bedbugs on Bus? SEPTA Takes Steps vs. Pesky Pest." Philly.com. The Inquirer, 11 Sept. 2015. Web. 17 Sept. 2015. <http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20150911_Bedbugs_on_bus__SEPTA_takes_steps_vs__pesky_pest.html>.

-Yes my Source is credible, because it is an issue right now, It might be a major issue in the future.

- Yes my Source is relevant, because it speaks on my thesis of why septa buses are really dirty.

- Yes my source is timely, Because it is still occurring.

This inspired me because I always use septa and its disgusting because it has bed bugs on the transportation systems.

2.

Link (Links to an external site.)

"SEPTA | Passenger Etiquette." SEPTA | Passenger Etiquette. Septa. Web. 17 Sept. 2015. <http://www.septa.org/cs/etiquette/>.

-My source is credible because it gives information to support my thesis statement.

-My source is relevant because, this is still a problem today.

- My source is timely, because people still continue to do things addressed in my source.

This inspired me because I have done some of the things stated in my source, and because people have ate near me and left their trash on the train or bus.

3.

Link (Links to an external site.)

Mathis, Joel. "The Sad Grotesquerie of “People of SEPTA” | News | Philadelphia Magazine." Philadelphia Magazine. PhillyMag.com, 12 Mar. 2014. Web. 17 Sept. 2015. <http://www.phillymag.com/news/2014/03/12/sad-grotesquerie-people-septa/>.

-This is credible because it shows the nastiness of the septa bus or train.

- This is relevant because I just saw something like this last week while I was on septa.

- This is timely because this continues to happen.

- This influenced me to pll up my pants and wear a belt, also it inspired me to watch if people take pictures of me on septa.

4.

Link (Links to an external site.)

Hoff, Alexandria. "Photo Of Possible Bed Bugs On SEPTA Bus Goes Viral, Prompts Action." CBS Philly. CBS Philly, 6 Sept. 2015. Web. 17 Sept. 2015.

-Yes my Source is credible, because it is an issue right now, It might be a major issue in the future.

- Yes my Source is relevant, because it speaks on my thesis of why septa buses are really dirty.

- Yes my source is timely, Because it is still occurring.

This inspired me because I always use septa and its disgusting because it has bed bugs on the transportation systems.

(Links to an external site.)


1 Comment

Obesity in the United States

What makes America's obesity rate so much higher than the rest of the world's? Maybe it is because we are lazy. Or maybe it's because people do not eat the right things on a regular basis. Whatever the answer maybe “The United States” has a 30% higher obesity rate than the rest of the country. The Obesity rate is this much higher because of cheap unhealthy foods and fast food chains and propaganda they use in multiple places in our everyday lives.

There is an extensive amount of fast food ads being shown daily on national television. So with so much exposure to these ads, speaking specifically ones directed towards young children, it's only obvious that there would be a high child obesity rate in the U.S.  On average preschoolers and young children saw approximately 2.8 fast food ads a day. Also 75% of the average ads shown are on kids websites such as: Nick, Roblox, and Cartoon Network, according to fastfoodmarketing.org.. This data shows how day after day, very young children ages 4-11, are being pumped with ads from fast food companies. These fast food companies spend 4.6 billion dollars a year on advertising for their food. This is important because without advertisements people may not be thinking about fast food as often so they need to keep our brains thinking about it constantly.

Eating healthier foods over the unhealthier fast foods will cost more over time. This obviously makes the choice for unhealthier foods more tempting and reasonable, especially because some people like the taste of fast food better. Also, people that are struggling to get by and need the cheapest food they can get to save money. Carey Polis, a writer for the Huffington Post wrote about how much an average American would be spending on healthier foods in comparison to eating fast and unhealthy foods daily. “The most comprehensive study of its kind indicates that yes, unhealthy food is about $1.50 cheaper per day, or about $550 per year, than healthy food.” This quote helps to show how much more people, on average, would be spending to eat  healthier and that is just a conservative number. There are so many people out in the U.S eating instant ramen everyday and they are sold at a dollar per pack at the most.

Fast food is an extremely unhealthy food choice, and can lead to many health problems to those who consume it regularly. Which sadly is the way it is for many Americans in the United States.  “-young adults who consumed fast food more than twice a week gained 10 more pounds than those who had fast food less than once a week.” -Ivy Morris a writer for SF gate. This quote shows how much of a big difference it makes when you eat fast food one time less per week. So imagine if the only way citizens in The United States could afford food all week long was to eat these unhealthy foods, and what this would be doing to the health conditions of everyone in the long run. This can also lead to later health problems down the road that can greatly decrease one's life span or how well it goes with minimal issues surrounding health.

Everyday people in “The United States” are being pumped with ads fast food restaurants trying hard to keep all of the countries minds occupied with the thought of eating bad foods. While spending billions of dollars a year to continuously keep the ads rolling in every part of media. People taking the cheaper route food in order to save as much money as possible in order to stay on budget due to low income. Also, people paying the consequences of eating unhealthy foods weekly with serious health problems looming down the road of weight gain and lack of proper nutrients. All of these things pile on together to make “The United States” such an obese country.

Works Cited:

-"Just Give Me the FACTS!" Fast Food FACTS — Home. Fast Food F.a.c.t.s, n.d. Web. 06 Oct. 2015. <http://fastfoodmarketing.org/>.

-Polis, Carey. "Eating Healthy vs. Unhealthy Will Cost You $550 More Per Year, Study Reveals." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 06 Oct. 2015. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/05/eating-healthy-vs-unhealthy_n_4383633.html>.

-Morris, Ivy. "How Fast Food Affects You Negatively." Healthy Eating. SF Gate, n.d. Web. 06 Oct. 2015. <http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/fast-food-affects-negatively-1728.html>.




2 Comments

Raising The Salary of Prisoners

Many people believe that prisoners should be paid a higher salary as an incentive to stay out of prison when their sentence is up. This is because people assume that the more money someone has, the better off they areHowever, it is inappropriate for a prisoner to be paid more than their current salary because  their expenses, food, and education are covered, while an average U.S. citizen being paid minimum wage is required to support themselves. A prisoner is also guilty of a crime, unlike self sufficient people, and  they need to be punished for this. This being said, living under the expense of the government in mediocre conditions is not enough to punish them. Prisoners should not receive minimum wage or a higher salary while behind bars because the cost of keeping them incarcerated already means the government spends a lot of money on them.

Prisoners all over America are required to work each day for a small salary. This small salary is necessary rather than minimum wage because prisoners eat, sleep, and live for free in prison. Someone without a criminal record, working a job, and paying living expenses should not earn the same amount of money as a convicted felon who does not have to support themselves in this way  The average hourly minimum wage in the U.S. is $7.25 per hour while the average hourly wage of a prisoner is $0.69 (Vera Institute of Justice). This shows that prisoners are receiving roughly ⅔ of the federal minimum hourly wage, per day. This ratio is appropriate because while prisoners are working and should be getting some kind of payment, it should not be as much as a hardworking citizen with no criminal record.

The fact that many people believe prisoners should earn a higher wage is a bit outlandish because this salary increase can lead the majority of prisoners at the end of their sentences, to recidivism. Unemployed ex-offenders are 3 times more likely to go back to prison (NBC News). This is because if a criminal gets out of jail and cannot find a job, there is nothing stopping them from going straight back in order to live for free and be paid a normal salary. Even with the current salary, about ¾ of convicted felons are rearrested within 5 years of freedom. Although there are no studies on this, the number of convicted felons is sure to rise if the government raises their salary. The low earnings that prisoners collect currently is motivation for them to stay out of jail. If the government raises this number, it increases the chance that more unemployed felons will be rearrested to reap the benefits of prison.

While the government is benevolent, it can sometimes be a little too generous with the amount of money it has. When this happens, debt is built up. At the moment, prisons have spent $5 billion over their national budget of $33.6 billion. This budget basically goes to the needs of the prisoners as it costs roughly $30,000 to house one prisoner a year, and statistics show that the number of people imprisoned in the U.S. is rising (Prison Policy Initiative). In 1972, prison population was at 300,000 inmates. In 1990 this number grew to 1 million, and in 2002 it quickly grew to 2 million. The national incarceration budget will not magically evolve in order to pay prisoners a higher salary. Raising every prisoner’s salary to $5 an hour would increase this budget roughly $240 million. With this money coming out of the taxes of American citizens, it is inconceivable that this number could be reached without outraging many people. If the salary of prisoners were to be raised to $5 an hour, less than the federal minimum wage, there would be no way to support this newfound budget.

Overall there are many negative outcomes from increasing the wages of prisoners. These include unjust salary correspondence, recidivism, and national debt increase. Prisoners should be paid their current salary because although they have few luxuries in life anymore, they are able to live off of the government’s money without having to support themselves. Above all, It is unjustified to raise a prisoner’s salary because of its unfavorable effects on themselves and the world around them.


Works Cited

"Policy Basics: Where Do Our State Tax Dollars Go?" Policy Basics: Where Do Our State Tax Dollars Go? Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 14 Apr. 2015. Web. 07 Oct. 2015. <http://www.cbpp.org/research/policy-basics-where-do-our-state-tax-dollars-go>.


Christian Henrichson, Christian, and Ruth Delaney. "Vera Institute of Justice: Making Justice Systems Fairer and More Effective through Research and Innovation." The Price of Prisons: What Incarceration Costs Taxpayers. VERA Institute of Justice, 29 Feb. 2012. Web. 07 Oct. 2015. <http://www.vera.org/pubs/special/price-prisons-what-incarceration-costs-taxpayers>.


Wagner, Peter. "The Prison Economy." Prisonpolicy.org. Prison Policy Initiative, Apr. 2003. Web. 08 Oct. 2015. <http://www.prisonpolicy.org/prisonindex/prisonlabor.html>.


Pelaez, Vicky. "The Prison Industry in the United States: Big Business or a New Form of Slavery?" Global Research. Center for Research on Globalization, 31 Mar. 2014. Web. 07 Oct. 2015. <http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-prison-industry-in-the-united-states-big-business-or-a-new-form-of-slavery/8289>.








2 Comments

De-extinction

                                                                       De-extinction?

Science is fully capable of bringing animals back from extinction, but should they? Many people believe that scientists should not bring back extinct creatures, that they are playing with unnatural things. Many people are also afraid of the idea of bringing animals back to life because of disaster stories like "Jurassic Park" and also religious beliefs that humans should not mess with life and death. However, was it not humans who made these creatures extinct? Using genetic engineering to bring back extinct animals is worthwhile because the great possibilities outweigh the dangers.

 Every animal has a role to play in the ecosystem. When humans kill off certain animals, there are always bad side effects that take place. Animals such as otters balance the ecosystem by keeping sea urchins in check. If otters were to become extinct then the sea urchins would ravage all kelp forest. Thus causing a ripple effect, ending up with many fish, invertebrate, and marine mammals losing a major food source, and possible shelter. If certain extinct animals could be reintroduced into the wild again, then it could help balance the ecosystem. Think of what would happen today if one of the keystone species, such as honey bees, were go to extinct in the next five years. Unfortunately, this situation is entirely possible. According to an article published in GlobalResearch.ca, “Since 2006 beekeepers have been noticing their honeybee populations have been dying off at increasingly rapid rates. Subsequently researchers have been scrambling to come up with an accurate explanation and an effective strategy to save the bees and in turn save us homo sapiens from extinction.” The honey bee does 80% of the pollination around the world. Imagine if all the honey bees were to go extinct today, the side effects would be catastrophic. With this new knowledge of species revival, if there was ever a need to quickly resurrect this species it would be possible. This research could not only save mankind, but all the species that reside on the planet earth. Mankind needs to stop confusing religion with science. This information is not so that scientist can brag about becoming a deity, it is so that one day scientist have a chance at saving life on earth.  

Furthermore, de-extinction is just the start of all the discoveries that could come from bringing back extinct animals. With this type of new knowledge, this could further the understanding of evolution and how humans came to be. In a statement made by Jack Horner the professor of paleontology at Montana State University  he said, “‘Any of us that have any curiosity about how we all got here and where everything came from has to be interested in evolutionary biology," Horner said. "It's basically the blueprint of life on this Earth.’" For centuries man has tried to figure out how this the modern day homo-sapien came to be. Whether it was by some sort of deity or through evolution, in the end much is still a giant mystery. Each time an species is brought back using genetic engineering humans come closer to understanding DNA, and how to unlock its secrets. If bringing back extinct animals helps humans understand how humans have evolved into what they are today, humans should feel some sort of longing to understanding the creation of mankind.

With de-extinction, humans could right the wrongs done by them to the earth. Humans have killed off the Dodo birds, Tasmanian tiger, Gastric brooding frog, etc. It was not by natural causes that these creatures died off but, the actions of people today are to blame. For example on the website livescience.com it said, “Passenger pigeons (Ectopistes migratorius) once blanketed the skies of eastern North America, but hunting and deforestation brought them to extinction 100 years ago. Martha, the last one, died at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914.”  If given the chance to bring these once abundant creatures back to life, then should there not be anyone against it. These animals have not even been extinct for more than a century so would it not be okay. Also based upon how large the population of this species used to be most likely many carnivores and plants in North America may have relied on the passenger pigeon as a food source and pollinator. With the reintroduction of the passenger pigeon it could help feed animals throughout North America. While also becoming another major pollinator due to the sheer size of each flock, and how far the pigeons travel.   

In conclusion, people should not base their opinion off of a fictional movie there are more practical uses for the de-extinction of certain species. There are real advantages of bringing back extinct animals. De-extinction could be used on many recently extinct animals. Dinosaurs may not get a second chance at life, but would it not be right for humans to bring back the recently extinct animals that are just victims of pollution, deforestation, and global warming. Plus the more scientist understand about how DNA evolves over time to adapts to new environments the better humans will know about the past, and what's the future may hold for Earth's species.


Work Cited:


Sumner, Thomas, and Bjourn Carey. "Stanford's Hank Greely Presents the Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species." Stanford University. Standford University, 5 Apr. 2013. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.

Copy & paste citation


Geggel, By Laura. "Dino-Chicken One Step Closer." LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 19 May 2015. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.
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First to Worst

The performance of an NFL team can change drastically from one season to the next , even without major roster changes. Schedules are always flipping, giving teams a harder or easier year. Player performance  is also very unpredictable. A player can go from having a great game to a terrible game in the span of one week. How do some teams go from first to worse or worse to first in a short matter of time? the psychological pressure teams go through over the course of the season play a larger role than any physical strength or weakness a player might have.

One of the reasons that the records change so drastically is the schedules that teams have every year. The schedule is determined by the conference and division that the team is located. In the first half of the regular season, the Falcons went against team such as the Ravens, Bears, Bengals, Giants, and the Lions. These were all very good teams last year. Each team has an all-star caliber player such as Calvin Johnson, Odell Beckham jr, and A.J. Green. In 2015, the Falcons are now 4-0. They have played an injured Cowboys team, a confused Eagles team, the no offence Texans, and the Giants. Scheduling has the ability to determine how well a football season will go. Teams like the Green Bay Packers don’t have to deal with the scheduling issue because they are such a dominant force in the NFL. All of these teams that the falcons have played are low tier teams in the NFL. The Giants did not get as much use out of their all-star WR (Wide Receiver) Odell Beckham Jr. The Cowboys are without their 2 best players, Dez Bryant and Tony Romo. Those are tough spots to fill. In the first game of the season, they played the Eagles. The eagles were still figuring themselves out and how to use Pro Bowl RB (Running Back) Demarco Murray. Also, Texans have always been bad. One of the reasons that some teams records change so drastically through one season is because of the scheduling.

Football is a very unpredictable sport. Things can suddenly change out of nowhere because either a player quickly emerged on the team and a Pro Bowl player has a bad season. Joe Flacco is one of the better quarterbacks in the League. He is also known for being very good in clutch situations because he shows no emotion and he is always calm. He has been playing very well in his career since 2008 and won a Superbowl in 2012. So far for Joe Flacco this season, it has been very disappointing for Ravens fans to watch. He has thrown 5 TD (touchdowns) and 5 INT (interceptions) in the past 4 games of this season (an interception is when a pass is caught by the defense. This leads to a turnover which gives the other team the ball on offence). The Ravens are 1-3. at this rate, he will have 20 TD (touchdowns) and 20 INT (interceptions) by the end of the regular season. At the rate that Joe Flacco is going, he is going to have a bad season and it will be shown by the record that they have. Now, this would not be his worst year but, compared to last year (Throwing 27 TD’s and 12 INT’s), It looks very bad. The Ravens didn't lose anyone that he was already throwing the ball too. Players in the NFL can go from beast to bust. Something could have changed during the off-season. But the truth is, people don’t know why they are having a slump. But everything happens for a reason.

NFL teams are put into different types of pressure depending on the production of last year.  In 2014, The Colts made it all the way to the AFC (American Football Conference) Playoff game where they lost 45-7. They have gotten 1 step closer to a Superbowl every year. So this year, they are projected to make it all the way to the Superbowl and win. But, based off their 1-3 start, it does not look that way. The quarterback Andrew Luck has now had the high expectations he has ever had and now he is feeling the pressure. He has the lowest passer rating in the NFL.  He has thrown 5 touchdowns and 7 interceptions . At this rate, He will have 20 TD’s and 28 INT by the end of the regular season. That is nowhere near as good as his 40 TD’s and 16 INT last season. This is one of the reasons why NFL teams can go from first to worst or worst to first. In the statistics, Andrew Luck was one of the best Quarterbacks in the league. Now, he is not looking so good this year. This is because of the pressure he is facing and he has consistently improved every year he has been in the NFL. But as soon as he hears predictions from Hall of Fame NFL players saying that he can take his team to a Superbowl, he quickly sank down. This is also true for other teams such as the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders have nothing to lose and nobody thought they were going to do anything this year. They have no pressure on them. And that is why they are 2-2. At this pace, they will end the season 8-8, much better than their 3-13 record last year. The addition of pressure can make or break a team. If a team is put under no pressure, they can have a better season than they thought they were going to have. But, a team with a lot of pressure to win might feel like they have to always win which sometimes turns those teams into bad teams because of the pressure they are facing.

Although people who don’t watch football might not think that NFL records matter much. But in reality, its influence goes beyond football to the real world and sports in general. This can happen in all sports. This also creates a huge impact to the sport for the teams and also the players. Everything happens for a reason.


Works Cited:


"Season Schedule." News RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.

http://www.atlantafalcons.com/schedules/schedule.html



ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.

http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/stats/_/id/11252/joe-flacco



ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.

http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/stats/_/id/14874/andrew-luck


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The Effect of Racial Stereotyping

Many believe that biases form after multiple experiences with others, and are based in some kind of reality. However, it really only takes one experience to form a concrete belief -- and it's hard to get rid of that belief once formed. Although people know that many racial stereotypes are untrue, it is difficult for individuals to disregard those stereotypes, because people tend to attribute the negative actions of an individual to their entire identity.

Racial stereotyping is defined as the beliefs about distinctive characteristics common to members of a culture, according to a site found on Wikipedia’s reference page. As stated in the quote, these are “common” beliefs formulated by people in society. The fact that the site uses the word “common” implies that those with prejudices educate their children to have a certain prejudice towards others. In addition, because these prejudices are being passed down from generation to generations, a never ending cycle of negative bias is created. Psychology Today expands on this concept, with the idea that human beings have an unconscious prejudice towards those foreign to their own ethnic group, because of their exposure to such ideas during early development. In conclusion, stereotypes that have become almost second nature, outweighing any and all notions that oppose the assumptions of an individual.

Islamophobia is one example of religious stereotyping, which is defined as the fear and hatred of muslims. This kind of resentment escalated after the coordinated 9/11 attacks on America by the terrorist group known as Al Qaeda. The attack resulted in the deaths of over 3,000 Americans as well as the nineteen members of Al Qaeda, who executed the strikes. However, the tragic deaths of U.S citizens were not the only aspects of this violent act that society suffered. According to the Daily Beast, a poll from October of 2001 showed that 47% of Americans had a favorable view of muslim citizens. This percentage of favorable views dropped to about 27% by 2014. This drastic decrease in the polls was a direct result of prejudices formed after only a handful of Muslim citizens, like Al Qaeda, committed violent acts against society. These negative actions effectively branded all muslim citizens as violent terrorist, based on the survey portrayed by the polls.

This kind of negative stereotyping does not only apply to people overseas. On Monday, September 14th, 2015 Texas youth, Ahmed Mohammed, was arrested by police for bringing a homemade clock to school, which his teacher believed to be a bomb. The officers, who arrested him, proceeded to interrogate the frightened teenager about the alleged bomb as well as his intentions. Ahmed stated, on an interview with CNN, that "I built a clock to impress my teacher but when I showed it to her, she thought it was a threat to her." The fact that the teacher believed the clock was a threat, namely a bomb, supports the idea that she had racial bias towards an innocent muslim American, who had the sole intention of impressing his class. In addition, the idea that the clock was believed to be a bomb, which is commonly associated with the notion of terrorism, is a representation of stereotypical views of muslim citizens being a threat to society because of the past actions of a few.

Although this topic may seem to only revolve around minority groups such as Muslim citizens, this is an issue that embodies a barrier between social relations in society. It is the underlying cause that has led to the injustice against countless innocents over the past couple of years. However, this issue has not been fully resolved because of the public's perception, of racial stereotyping, being clouded by their own opinions about other individuals.  


Works Cited


  1. Paul, Annie. "Where Bias Begins: The Truth About Stereotypes."Psychology Today. 1 May 1998. Web. 6 Oct. 2015.

  2. "Teen Ahmed Mohamed Brings Clock to School, Gets Arrested - CNN.com." CNN. Cable News Network, 16 Sept. 2015. Web. 6 Oct. 2015.

  3. Obeidallah, Dean. "13 Years After 9/11, Anti-Muslim Bigotry Is Worse Than Ever." The Daily Beast. Newsweek/Daily Beast, 14 Sept. 2014. Web. 6 Oct. 2015.

  4. "Ethnic Stereotype." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 9 Sept. 2015. Web. 6 Oct. 2015.

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Teens abusing drinking and alcohol

Do teens just do drugs to fit in? well the answer to that question is no. Adults often assume that teens start using drugs due to the social pressure from their peers. However, teens tend to do drugs to achieve happiness. Without knowing the consequences behind doing drugs and the effect it can take on your body and mental state. Drugs might help people achieve happiness, when it’s just a short term happiness not a long term happiness.

The behavior of a parent can highly influence their child choices and lead to drug use and addiction. Exposing their child to drugs is detrimental to the child's health and mental state.  According to this article on teens.drugabuse.gov teens tend to consume drugs or abuse them when thier are feeling down. This is a quote describing the effect drugs have on the human body “Drugs take control of the system, causing large amounts of dopamine to flood the system. This flood of dopamine is what causes the “high” or intense excitement and happiness (sometimes called euphoria) linked with drug use.” When some teens use drugs or drink alcohol they try to get a buzz or a high from it. This high is usually produced by a natural hormone called dopamine. So when people take drugs is that they get this rush of dopamine into their system causing an imbalance of dopamine. This imbalance causes this short term “high”, but once this high goes away their system can never reach that happiness again. This causes people to become depressed and rely on drugs to be happy because of the imbalance in their system.           

Teens around the world are highly influenced mostly by their environment when they are feeling down, also by their parents and friends. Either influence to succeed in life or abuse drugs/alcohol it all starts when they are having a rough time in life. According to this article published by  Drugfree.org, a study shows that teens are most influenced by their surroundings when they are depress. “They see their parents and other adults drinking alcohol, smoking, and, sometimes, abusing other substances.” Since the teens are being exposed to drugs and their parents drinking alcohol there are more likely to do it. Which can lead teens into thinking that drinking alcohol or doing drugs is the key to achieving happiness. When in reality it's only going to have them happiness for a short amount of time.

There are many drugs that can make people happy, but the question is does it really make them happy? Drugs like Prozac and other antidepressants helps control levels of chemicals in your brain called serotonin,which are usually used to treat patients with depression , and other disorders. These drugs are mostly used for psychological condition like anxiety and shyness.  In this article published by nytimes.com. The President council of Bioethics states “ that while antidepressants might make some people happier, they can also substitute for what can truly bring happiness: a sense of satisfaction with one's identity, accomplishments and relationships.” While antidepressants and other drugs might help people achieve happiness, it's not a long term happiness. This happiness is only temporary, because the purpose of this drug is to overflow your system with hormones that's already produced naturally. So once that dopamine gets out of the system the body will get back where it started from or maybe even worse. Although teens abusing drugs may only seem important to parents it should in fact concern anyone who cares about the well being of teens. Doing drugs does achieve happiness for people , but it does not achieve long term happiness. People who want short term happiness are most likely to do drugs. The only different is when taking drugs it causes people to have an imbalance that's unnatural that causes people to become happy for a short period. Also people can never reach that level of happiness on their own, only when on medication or on drugs. There are many drugs that might help people achieve happiness, but that happiness doesn't last forever and that's what most teens don’t consider when abusing such substance.

Work cited -

"Brain and Addiction." NIDA for Teens. National Institute on Drug Abuse, 08 Oct. 2015. Web. 12 Oct. 2015. <https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/brain-and-addiction>


Pollack, Andrew. "Can Drugs Make Us Happier? Smarter?" The New York Times. The New York Times, 10 Nov. 2003. Web. 9 Nov. 2015. <http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/11/science/can-drugs-make-us-happier-smarter.html


"High School and Youth Trends." DrugFacts:. University of Michigan, Dec. 2014. Web. 12 Oct. 2015. <http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/high-school-youth-trends>.
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Reflection of Israt jahan

We watched a video in class about bullying and it made me realize that this sign should be every where and it should be in every school. this is a really bright colored image and everyone will see it if we put it up on the walls. and the short video really didn't do anything but made me realize that it could happen to me or anyone else and we should all be careful of  cyber bullying. We also worked on this assignment called who am i online. If you know that you are this person online and you are hurting somebody i think you should stop. If you are a regular person who just stays online but don't hurt anyone you are good to go. If you wanted to see this video her is the link.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V32xhSMhCXE 
The final screenshoot
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The Collapse of the US Dollar

Today, people live lives on their own terms, and don’t really care much for others. The same goes for governments/nations. Governments try to do what’s right for their own, and try to block everything else. However, that is impossible to do, especially in today’s economy, where a nation can not run without a trade market that connects them to the fate of other nations. In today’s trade nations created a currency which helps them trade easily, and that currency is the US dollar (USD). In today's economy, the value of the dollar is affected more by the situation in other regions than it is by the United States. As a result, the fate of the United States lies upon other countries/nations.

As one of the most developed countries in the world, the United States has one of the highest GDP per capita of any country. But the United States also is one of the highest debtors in the world. According to the World Bank, in 2013 the government debt of the United States had a 96.1% of GDP, while China had no debt, and Switzerland had less than 24% of GDP. This means that in the United States, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which is $16.77 trillion, 96.1% of that, is equal to the debt the US has to other countries. Because of the debt that the US has to other countries, the dollar is losing its value. The currency is not as valuable because the government/currency is “working” for the debt. If other countries were high debtors, like the United States, then the value of the dollar, would not be at risk. According to the World Bank, in 2006 Switzerland had a debt of 33.7% of GDP, while the United States had a debt of 55.3% of GDP, the debts are not the same, but as years passed, Switzerland decreased its debt while the United States debt went through the roof. The situation becoming better for other countries, meant the situation becoming worse for the United States.

The US Dollar (USD)  is held in significant quantities by governments and institutions as part of their foreign exchange reserves. This makes the dollar the most important currency in the world. Many situations are happening across the world, which is causing doubts about the USD being the reserve currency, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to think about the options they have, if they have to remove the USD as the reserve currency. According to Forbes, "If every nation sold their supply of dollars at the same time, the market would be flooded with dollars, which could cause its value to plummet. This would cause inflation to spike.” The USD can keep being the strongest currency, as long as other nations don’t think about themselves, but think about the USD, and that is very unlikely because every nations wants to survive and thrive. The USD will fall when, other nations get involved, and sell their supply of the USD, causing the value of the USD to crash.

Until 1971, the USD was a currency that was backed up by gold. That meant that every penny that the US owned, there was an amount of gold equal to that penny. Which made it a strong currency, and one of the reasons it was chosen as a reserve currency. According to International Monetary Fund (IMF), the USD is the top currency circulating in the trade market, and the Euro coming close second. As other nations are realizing the debt and value of the dollar, and how it is not backed up by gold, they will soon try to sell their supply of USD and the USD will crash. Realizing that the Euro and the Yen are rising above the USD, will cause the USD to plummet. An article written by The Voice of Reason about the USD says, “The whole world knows that we are much worse off than Greece as the planet’s largest debtor.” Greece is in a lot of debt, that accumulated over years, and the way money was spent for the Greek government led to Greece coming to default. Economists say that it will never be able to get out of debt. If the situation is really bad in Greece, then the United States will fall even harder, if other nations like China, Switzerland, Great Britain, and many others grow and improve their economy.

Most downfalls come from own mistakes, but some downfalls come from the rise of power in others. That is the case, that the USD might face. Although the United States has one of the greatest and most powerful economies and currencies that has ever existed, the downfall of it’s economy will come from other nations and other economies.

Work Cited


Forbes. Forbes Magazine. Web. 29 Sept. 2015. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikepatton/2015/07/24/is-the-dollar-about-to-collapse/>.

"Central Government Debt, Total (% of GDP)." Central Government Debt, Total (% of GDP). Web. 29 Sept. 2015. <http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/GC.DOD.TOTL.GD.ZS/countries/CN-US-CH-RU-GB?display=graph>.

"IMF Data." IMF Data. Web. 29 Sept. 2015. <http://www.imf.org/data>.






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Trouble Brewing

In 1984 the drinking age in the United States was raised from 18 to 21, in an attempt to decrease traffic accidents caused by drunk driving. This law is responsible for creating a dangerous culture of irresponsible and reckless behavior. Lowering the drinking age shouldn’t have been all that was done to decrease traffic accidents. Under the constant surveillance of the law the multiple people that are underage are drinking. They drink behind closed doors, and don’t necessarily drink healthy amounts of it. In a lot of cases they drink as much as they can, and as fast as they can.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a study they did in 2010 on drug use and health showed that “Drunk driving is the highest among 21 to 25 year olds.” According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “In the United States, the number of drunk driving has been cut in half since the 1980s.” Which is great , however, this law has not been successful in protecting minors from drinking alcohol and has instead presented a greater issue. Under age drinking happens regularly in places like college campuses and it can not be controlled. Increasing the legal drinking age has caused minors to drink to behind closed doors, where in many cases unsupervised and excessive binge drinking occurs.  

Other countries have lower drinking ages. Health Research Funding compares the United States to and drunk driving incidents to other countries. “In many countries around the world, the legal drinking age is already 18. These countries have seen a greater reduction of drunken driving accidents than the United States, where the legal age is 21.” The United States could have gone about the issue the wrong way, America could educate youth on the dangers of alcohol and repercussions of it. An education of how alcohol affects the body and the mind.

Morris E. Chafetz, MD, Founder of the National Institute for Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA) stated in a Huffington post article “We see a serious problem of reckless, goal-oriented, drinking to get drunk. Those at whom the law is directed disobey it routinely. Enforcement usually forces the behavior deeper underground, ….But so long as the age remains a one-size-fits-all, federally-mandated 21...hopes of reversing the dismal trend of binge-drinking that has become more serious in the years since the drinking age was raised... nothing is likely to change for the better." Many people like Morris Chafetz agree that if this issue isn't handled, it will begin to affect more people. The age being raised didn’t solve a problem, it just created another one. Other states and Universities have seen the effects of alcohol and how behavior has changed. Isn’t it time America do something about it?

The legal drinking age doesn’t completely address the root of the problem. Yes, the law does prevent people 18 and younger (to some extent) from getting behind the wheel in intoxication, but this law didn’t exactly stop the problem of drunk driving. It is not a coincidence that when the drinking age was 18 in the 1980 drunk driving incidents were with drivers 18 through 20. And now that the drinking age is at 21 the problem is with people around the ages 21 through 25. The problem isn’t only the age people start drinking, but it is the way people are taught to handle themselves before and afterwards.

People are limited in the education of alcoholic beverages and how it affects them. The focus should be on how people drink alcohol. not just what happens after they get behind the wheel.  Having a formal and mandatory education of alcohol in a school/college/university setting will help to learn exactly what can come with drinking alcohol and the risks that come with it so that people can learn how alcohol affects the body and the mind. Hopefully with the education and  knowing how it affects the body, people will take a more cautious manner to approaching alcohol.    

Works Cited:

"Impaired Driving: Get the Facts." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 May 2015. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.


"Pros and Cons of Lowering the Drinking Age - RFnd." HRFnd. 6 Dec. 2013. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.


"Should the Drinking Age Be Lowered from 21 to a Younger Age? - Minimum Legal Drinking Age - ProCon.org." ProConorg Headlines. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.


Chafetz, Morris. "The 21-Year-Old Drinking Age: I Voted for It; It Doesn't Work." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.
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Cultural Appropriation in the Media

Cultural appropriation is when people borrow practices and appearances that belong to a separate culture and use them as their own for the sake of fashion and trend. To many people this seems an innocent or superficial practice, like white women wearing Bindis at Coachella or cornrows at the beach. But, more specifically, it is when a dominant culture borrows from a systematically oppressed culture. America has turned a blind eye to the problem, going so far as to poke fun at certain outlets that describe the real, pressing issues behind it. Even those who do not support the practice are often confused by why it is shown in such a negative light by these outlets. Ultimately, the practice of cultural appropriation damages said appropriated culture in ways unseen by the larger American population.

For clarification, cultural appropriation is not the same as assimilation or cultural exchange, because the power imbalance is very different between these three examples. Assimilation is when people from the systematically oppressed culture adopt parts of the dominant culture in order to fit in within that dominant culture. Cultural exchange is when cultures on the same level mutually share their practices and appearances. Neither of these are the same as cultural appropriation because in assimilation, it is a survival tactic, and in cultural exchange, the cultural power balance is equal.

Cultural appropriation spreads misinformation about the culture that it is appropriating in the first place. Many people who support or defend cultural appropriation believe that it is supposed to help the dominant culture learn, but that is not the case. One example that expands on this from modern culture is the story of Pocahontas. In the American Disney movie, this woman is a strong, yet kind girl in a Native American tribe that is approached by an Englishman and eventually falls in love with him. Pocahontas’ real name was Motoaka, and her story is much more grim than many Americans would suspect. She was abducted as a teen on a ship to Jamestown, given to an Englishman, Christened Rebecca, and used as a racist propaganda tool before she died at 21. The culture that Moataka belonged to represented years of diverse culture and important history, but in a sense it seems apparent that the racist propaganda she was subjected to never quite ended. This is because most of the stories that we hear of Pocahontas depict the land as savages, passive, or nonexistent, not to mention an entirely sugarcoated depiction of the real event. Because the dominant culture never represents the real stories of subjugated cultures in popular media, the American population never recognizes that the stories are trivializing and rampant with appropriation to make the dominant culture more comfortable with the gruesome story.  

In the United States, The dominant culture when speaking about cultural appropriation is white people, and one of the largest problems with their appropriation is the fact that when these white people wear or do something that belongs to another culture, it is seen as trendy, hip, or even progressive and inclusive. But when people of color, especially those that belong to the particular culture, do the same thing, they are seen as ‘too ethnic’ and ‘stuck in the past’. This double standard pressures black women to conform especially. When Zendaya wore faux locs at the 2015 Oscars, Fashion Police host and E! red carpet host Giuliana Rancic commented that she “feels like she smells like patchouli oil or weed”. But when Kylie Jenner wore the same faux locs in an a cover story photo shoot in Teen Vogue, attempting a “desert rebel” look, she is praised and described as raw, groundbreaking, fresh, and edgy. Zendaya responded, saying: “There is already harsh criticism of African American hair in society without the help of others who choose to judge others based on the curl of their hair. [I wanted to] showcase [locs] in a positive light, to remind people of color that our hair is good enough.” Not to mention its repercussions outside of praise or insult. In March 2014, AR 670-1 was released by the U.S. Army, a list of policies for the appearance of the soldiers. This list banned braids, locks, and twists with a diameter of a quarter of an inch. It also slandered unauthorized hairstyles by calling them unkempt and matted. The message this sends to the appropriated black community is that black women who wear their hair naturally in styles such as locs are not deserving of praise, acceptance, or even respect in the eyes of white people. It enforces the harmful lie that black natural beauty is not appealing to the general white, American population, and is only attractive when worn by white women. This message is not only being sent to adults struggling to find jobs, but children struggling to find confidence.

Not only does this practice of accepting cultural appropriation miseducate the majority population, it trivializes violence and oppression. The NFL team, the Washington Redsk*ns, have been criticized for the name, but the terms have been largely defended by its fans and owners. The argument is made that the name “keeps to tradition”, and “honors Indians”. It has been taken even further by telling the Indigenous activist groups that have called them out on the name’s racial connotations that they are “being too sensitive”. But for Native people, redsk*n means a barbaric colonialist practice in which governments would brutally scalp and murder Native Americans and use their “redsk*ns”, or scalps as proof of their kill. When violence targets one specific section of people through genocide, the trauma will last throughout subsequent generations. Therefore, it makes said trauma seem ridiculous, funny, and even playful when using it carelessly in everyday life. Media reinforces this by upholding and encouraging these false stereotypes and misinforming the general public.

Cultural appropriation is one of the most widespread issues within white, American fashion today, and deserves ample recognition and rectification. Yet we, as a nation still dismiss it as trivial. Education is the first step to showing exactly how many problems this phenomenon causes for minorities in America. This is especially true for those whose ethnic features and traditions are thought beautiful, but their actual well-being not as much. Not only this, but people of color as constantly seen through the lense of these stereotypes that cultural appropriation perpetuates and popularizes. As a result, it creates barriers of disrespect and dismission within the real world.


Works Cited:


  1. United States. National Park Service. "Pocahontas: Her Life and Legend."National Parks Service. U.S. Department of the Interior, 04 Oct. 2015. Web. 08 Oct. 2015.


  1. "Despite The Natural Hair Movement, Black Women Still Face Pressure To Conform." Despite The Natural Hair Movement, Black Women Still Face Pressure To Conform. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Oct. 2015.


  1. "Zendaya Rips E! Red Carpet Host Giuliana Rancic for 'Ignorant' Dreadlocks Comment." TheWrap. N.p., 23 Feb. 2015. Web. 08 Oct. 2015.


  1. "Kylie Jenner Rocks Dreadlocks On Instagram." StyleBlazer. N.p., 10 Feb. 2015. Web. 08 Oct. 2015.


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Different Tones of The Loner

“Can you just stop acting white. You’re AFRICAN,”, said most of my fourth grade classmates, in some kind of variation.

I was born in December of 1999, in Sierra Leone. Before I learned any english at all  I was taught how to say things like “ah wan go to me mama”( I want to go to my mom) in Krio. At home, different languages swirled like the oily twists my mom used to whip my hair into.  My dad, could speak his native tribal language Madinka, and my mom could speak her native tribal language, Foola, The uniting source for us, and the language spoken by 94% of Sierra Leoneans, was Krio, broken English with added spice and cultural flavors any native speakers could recognize.  

I could be found bouncing off the walls at home and embracing Krio like my own sister in the tiny house we first lived in in Freetown. Communicating with my parents filled me with so much joy and love for the language because I could tell them that I loved them and share every simple thought as though it was some new, wild discovery. I could understand the lessons they taught me and shared the happiest moments. Even at a young age, I knew Krio was not just a string of words I would express to speak to my family members, but instead a hereditary stamp that showcased the blood running through my veins were that of my parents and no one else's.

In 2002, my parents and I first visited Philadelphia, to visit my mother’s family members who has recently migrated to the Promised Land. The words that freely ran out of my mouth were cemented at the back off my throat, as my vision became blurred with countless unrecognizable faces and places. They not only spoke words that were foreign melodies to me but their words left their mouths in strange ways. I searched for the loving melodies that were always hidden under my mother’s tongue, but instead was met with Ts that sounded too much like Ds and idiosyncratic underlying tunes to the words pronounced by the Americans I encountered. Although, the difference in speech between I and non-Sierra Leoneans seemed frustrating at most, it actually became a safety hazard.

 I can vividly remember the day I was lost in the mall, away from my mother, who I could connect with the most.  It was a warm summer morning and my aunt decided to take out the family for some shopping at the Franklin Mills Mall. It took about a half an hour to drive to the mall, and when we got to the mall I was dumbfounded. It was my the very first American mall we visited and it was larger than any building I saw back in Sierra Leone. Within twenty minutes time, I was disconnected from my mom, and my empty palm missed the warmth of her grip. As I peered around the huge mall frightened, I began to cry. The salty tears made paths down my puffy cheeks and I could see no way out of my situation. I began to look for  West African kente prints, but then remembered that my mom was dressed like everyone else that day, clothed in a t-shirt and  pair of jeans, immersed so quickly in American culture.  Thankfully, It was not too long before a kind, old white woman took a hold of my hand and started rubbing my back.

“Oh dear, are you lost? ,” she most likely asked.In the present moment, however,  her voice was tin foil rubbing against my ears and I could  not begin to understand what she was saying to me.  She also scared me at first. She was not even a black American, but a white American, as far removed as I was, I remember thinking. Nevertheless, I tried to communicate with her, but my thickly coated accent and tongue peppered with Krio jargon strengthened the obvious language barrier between us. Before I knew it, she was leading me to a counter, where a woman in a uniform spoke into a microphone that echoed loudly throughout the mall. I began to cry more. All I  could think of were the moments before I was disjointed from the woman I trusted the most. Fortunately, I was reunited with my mom shortly after, who explained to me, in familiar Krio, that the women helped her find me.

After spending a couple of months vacationing in Philadelphia, my brain’s youthful plasticity allowed me to adopt some english vocabulary. Despite the fact that I only picked up on a handful of phrases and words, it made the world of a difference when I returned to Freetown, after the visit culminated. My favorite aunt Nata acted as if I was a new person, often teasing me about how she could not even understand my words anymore. However, I knew she really could not. For instance, when I would ask for soda, she would tell me that I could not possibly drink soap detergent. I forgot that in Sierra Leone, we called soda “sove drink”. She would then dismiss me and it became a daily pattern of misunderstanding between the two of us. I was startled when I realized my own family could not understand me one hundred percent, like they used to.

In 2005, I finally moved to Seattle Washington, where I felt thrown in a majority white elementary school, Panther Lake Elementary. I had retained my accent again in Sierra Leone and forgot most of the english I had learned during my visit to Philadelphia. English as a Second Language program became a safe haven to me, where my kind teachers, who truly cared about my success in the kindergarten class, taught me English. They would show me bright pictures and enunciate the words that corresponded with them. I always felt a rush of excitement when I headed home and told my parents the new things I learned. The teachers and my friends at school taught me English, and in turn, I taught my parents. After a couple of years, I spoke flawlessly and like any of my native born friend in Seattle. Just when I believed that I sort of belonged, I was again uprooted and placed in a society that I would have to again addapt to.

The move from Seattle to Philadelphia, a city with far more African-Americans, seemed like a promising change.  I concluded that it would be impossible to be racially targeted since the school I would be transferring to was full of black students. Boy, was I wrong! I was called a white-girl, an Oreo, and was impersonated by my fellow black classmates who strung a line of “like’s at the end of every sentence to imitate my speech. “Why do you sound like a white person?” almost everyone in my 4th grade classroom asked me. I was made fun of for “not being black enough”, as if my skin color did not ensure my ethnicity alone, but the way I spoke and the music I listened to were the deciding factors.  It was frustrating as I began to resent the very same people of my own race, for not accepting me with arms wide open.  I still had melanin lacing my genetic framework, yet I still needed to listen to rap music, have a Philly slang, and qualify for all the other “I am balck” credentials in place. Because I acted differently from my friends, who haved lived in Philadelphia since they were born, I was strung down to the bottom of the social ladder, ignored and ostracized because of something I could not help. Those who held power and influence in 4th grade, are the ones who had ideal “‘black” accents, and were also the ones who were light-skin. Every time I tried to explain to my peers that I lived and went to school somewhere very different, but it never changed their opinions of me.
          

Most kids grow up with children just like them. For me, it was a completely different case. When I moved from West Africa to Seattle, Washington, I felt as if I got uprooted from everything I loved: The freedom of being completely unaware of differences (everyone I knew looked the same in Freetown) and the loyal friends I had shared many adventures with. I was then thrown into an environment where I felt like a single black drop of paint in a bucket full with rich, white paint, filled to the brim, and nearly overflowing.  Before I knew it, I was attending a school that was majority white, and finding a way to adapt. Naturally,  as my native krio tongue made room for English, I began sounding like my peers. In fact, my aunts and uncles calling from back home, Sierra Leone, would tease about not being able to even understand my krio at all now. That was loving teasing, not malignant teasing. The verbal abuse came when I moved to Philadelphia in 2009. I was a sort of riddle to my classmates; I looked “African” (darker than my other peers) but talked in a “white way”(high pitched, california-girl, type of accent). I tried to understand why something as superficial as accent made any difference in the way I connected to my peers, however it was beyond my 4th grade self.  

I then became very frustrated. I was discriminated against in Seattle for being black, which was
biologically borne, and my move to Philadelphia, inspired me to be discriminated for being African,. but sounding white, in a school full of black students! 


           "I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right." Liesel states in the novel The Book thief. Enduring the pains of growing up during Hitler's dictatorship, Liesel becomes hopeless of the written word, seeing Hitler's propaganda and words as the root of her suffering. She turns to books to comfort her as she lived through the painful times, and realizes languages can be both a source both of misery and solace. I relate to Liesel in this sense because I realize that although I have struggled with adapting to different types of languages in different settings, I knew I could always turn to the beautiful language in books to comfort me during hard times.  Language is the most powerful tool the human species contains, however, most tools can be manipulated to inflict harm on others.  I used to be very self conscious of how I sounded, and what was escaping through my teeth, but now I realize that I can use my experiences with language for positivity, instead of using my bottled-up anger from being ostracized for negativity. Language has too much power to be fueled with hatred and malice.
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​Medical Madness: Why is healthcare so expensive?

    Many are aware of how expensive healthcare is although,  most don't know the reason why it is expensive. According to National Nurses United, Since 1996, health care costs have been on the slow, but steady rise. Hospitals charge patients more than is necessary, for absolutely no reason other than the promised extra profit. This causes patients to pay a price, that takes a big chunk of money out of their pockets. Price gouging in the healthcare industry should be illegal, because of the constraints placed upon different social classes on what quality of health care they can purchase.

    Price gouging is not new. This is the act of raising the price of some product, making it far more expensive than is necessary to pay back the price of manufacturing. In the healthcare industry, that is happening because there are no laws to restrict the industry from charging above the national healthcare average. The top 100 most expensive hospitals charge more than the national “cost ratio” which is 331%.  “14 U.S. hospitals charge more than $1,000 for every $100 of their total costs (a charge to cost ratio of 1,000 percent) topped by Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center in Secaucus, NJ which has a charge to cost ratio of 1,192 percent.The 100 most expensive U.S. hospitals have a charge to cost ratio of 765 percent and higher – more than double the national average of 331 percent.” What that means is that the hospital sees the flat cost of the service they provided, then inflate it so they can up their profit. This hurts consumers because they are paying more than what they should hospital services. Hospitals are not the only ones in the healthcare industry to do this though.

   

    Alongside the healthcare industry is the pharmaceutical industry. The pharmaceutical industry is worth a whopping $300 billion a year. Most of that money comes from price gouging prescription medications. One drug that has been scrutinized time and time again, is the Hepatitis C drug Sovaldi. The pharmaceutical company Gilead priced one pill of Sovaldi at $1,000, making it $84,000 for a 12 week treatment course. The reason for this price hike was that the company wanted to make it as expensive as other competing Hepatitis C drugs. This version of price gouging is slightly different from the one that is happening to the drug Daraprim. Daraprim is a drug that is used to treat toxoplasmosis in HIV/AIDS patients. Toxoplasmosis is a disease that spirals from an infection from the Toxoplasma gondii parasite. This disease has flu-like symptoms, which may not harm a healthy person, but someone with a weakened immune system may develop severe symptoms.  Before this year, Daraprim used to cost $13.50 per pill, making it extremely affordable. Martin Shkreli, the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, has recently raised the price from $13.50 per pill to $750.  That being said, Daraprim consumers now have to pay $750 dollars for a pill that should cost no more that $14.  

    With Obamacare enacted, it would seem as if people would have easier access to affordable healthcare. That is not the case. According to CNN Money, many insurance companies want to raise their rates of plans. “In Florida, for instance, United Healthcare (UNH (Links to an external site.)) wants to raise the rates of plans sold on the Obamacare exchange by an average of 18%. Individual policies available outside the exchange through United Healthcare or through a broker would go up by 31%, on average, with hikes as high as 60% for certain plans in certain locations.” If this plan actually goes through, consumers may have to pay more just to be insured. The reason for this is because when Obamacare went through, insurers had no idea how many people would actually use their services. They now have a clear idea on who is using their services, and now want to hike up their prices due to the high demand of basic health care.

     In the Affordable Care Act, it shows restrictions on “excessive pricing” in hospitals. It is only applicable in hospitals that are non-profit and only available for those who have poverty level incomes. Even with this in place, hospitals tend to ignore it because there is no one enforcing rules against price gouging. "For the most part, there is no regulation of hospital rates and there are no market forces that force hospitals to lower their rates. They charge these prices simply because they can” says Gerard F. Anderson of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Without anyone enforcing laws against price gouging, hospitals and pharmaceutical industries can continue charging people however much they want. This will endlessly cause a financial strain on the lower and middle class, but hospitals simply do not care. They only seem to care about the profit they make from struggling payers.

    To conclude, price gouging is a serious issue that affects everyone around the nation, especially those in the lower and middle classes. In light of many years of being stuck with high prices, the media is starting to call more attention to medical price gouging. News outlets like the New York Times and CNN have written about the excessive prices that medical industries are charging. Many wealthy people may not pay attention to price gouging because it probably does not affect them as much as those of lower classes; they should pay attention though because they are being robbed of their money just like the lower classes. Once prices get too high, there will be many who won’t be able to afford healthcare services anymore, thus causing them to suffer if they needed medical assistance. If more people were to stop and think about it, they would realize that inflation in medical bills is just not about paying off hospital services, but about industry greed as well.



Works Cited:


http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/04/opinion/atlas-obamacare-poor-middle-class/ (Links to an external site.)

 

Crusade, The Health Care. STOP MEDICAL PRICE-GOUGING NOW! (n.d.): n. pag. Web. 13 Oct. 2015. <http://healthcarecrusade.com/Center/Stop%20Medical%20Price%20Gouging%20Now%20.pdf>.

 

"Health Care Price-Gouging in the U.S." Health Care Price-Gouging in the U.S. Daily Kos, n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2015. <http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/06/11/1392533/-Health-Care-Price-Gouging-in-the-U-S>.

 

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Some hospitals in United States marking up prices more than 1,000 percent." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 June 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150608212620.htm>.

 

Luhby, Tamy. "Obamacare Sticker Shock: Big Rate Hikes Proposed for 2016." CNN Money. CNN, 2 June 2015. Web. 13 Oct. 2015. <http://money.cnn.com/2015/06/02/news/economy/obamacare-rates/>.

 

McDermid, Riley. "Gilead (GILD) Agrees to a Discounted Price of $46,000 for Sovaldi in Europe." Gilead Agrees to a Discounted Price of 46000 for Sovaldi in Europe. N.p., 13 Feb. 2015. Web. 13 Oct. 2015. <http://www.biospace.com/News/gilead-agrees-to-a-discounted-price-of-46000-for/364653>.

 

Nader, Ralph. "Medical Price Gouging and Waste Are Skyrocketing." The Huffington Post. Huffington Post, 13 Jan. 2014. Web. 09 Oct. 2015. <http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/4589748>.

 

"Press Releases." New Data – Some Hospitals Set Charges at 10 Times Their Costs. NNU, 6 Jan. 2015. Web. 09 Oct. 2015. <http://www.nationalnursesunited.org/press/entry/new-data-some-hospitals-set-charges-at-10-times-their-costs/>.

 

Rosenbaum, Sarah. "Tax-Exempt Status For Nonprofit Hospitals Under The ACA: Where Are The Final Treasury/IRS Rules?" Health Affairs Blog. Project Hope, 23 Oct. 2014. Web. 13 Oct. 2015. <http://healthaffairs.org/blog/2014/10/23/tax-exempt-status-for-nonprofit-hospitals-under-the-aca-where-are-the-final-treasuryirs-rules/>.

 

Reflection:

In this version I changed some of my spelling mistakes, but I also took away some of the bias I had within  the essay. I also changed the way I ended paragraphs with statistics, so I added more analysis at the end of my paragraphs. I also changed my conclusion, I didn't tie together my thesis in the last version, so I tried to in this version.

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Asian Invasion

“Hey what’s your name?”

“Sarith”

“Shireeth?”

“No Sar, as in Sir, and ith as in eef.”

“Oohh, so Sairith!”

“Yeah, sure.”

Many have pronounced my name wrong from elementary school to middleschool. I’m usually called Alex at home around my neighborhood, but when I went to elementary, my dad had said my name was “Sarith.” I never knew about that. My dad never told me my first name, before and after, I just lived with it.

I have a lisp, and it affects the way I say my name. I sometimes pronounce my own name as “Shirith”, or “shireeth”, but I was able to take my time and fix it. I was sometimes afraid to talk since I had a lisp.

“Hey my name is Sarith”

“Hey shirift”

“SARRR RITHHH, as in SIRR REEF, not SHIRRR REEFF”

“Ohhh, sorry”

“It’s fine, happens all the time”

I was talking to a friend that I still am in contact today, although he doesn’t call me Sarith anymore, he calls me Chewy or Alex. I got the name Chewy from 5th grade. My math teacher was saying the names of the students, and when she got to mine, instead of saying Chuon which is pronounced Chu like “chu chu!” and on like turning something on, she said Chewy. After a week, everyone in my school called me Chewy. I was fine with that, as it made me more popular.I was even the favorite student in the school. My principal and Vice-Principal told me I was going to get an award for “Favorite Student”, but it shut down before I even graduated from 8th grade. Back to the story, I sometimes don’t care how I speak, but if I speak too fast, I don't even know what I'm saying. So I just take a deep breath and say it over again. I remember I used to get picked on for talking weird.

“Ahhhhhahahahaah, you speak with your tongue!”

“Aren’t you suppose to speak with your tongue?”

“You use your tongue on every word, you sound like you have a lot of saliva in your mouth.”

At that time, I was only in 6th grade, and I started to wonder how I spoke. I went on my computer and used a microphone I had and spoke, and listened to how I sounded. I noticed how weird I sounded. For some odd reason, when I speak regularly, I can hear myself speaking just as fine as everyone else. However, when I hear through a recording, I can definitely hear the lisp.

I always wanted an intimidating voice, like a deep voice or a voice that can tell someone not to mess with this guy. I’ve known people who have voices that can be easily identified. I mean, I can easily pick on the easy things about the person just through their voice. Sometimes they can be shy, with a rocky voice, or someone who tries to not be shy by trying to force their voice to be louder. I’ve noticed that our President, Barack Obama, has an interesting voice. His voice seems as though he’s intelligent, and knows what he’s doing. Some people can get jobs easily with voices. Let's say you have a really squeaky voice, and I mean a REALLY squeaky voice. There are jobs where they’ll just ask you questions, but know that they’ll decline you right after the interview (if there is one). Although, if you have a deep voice the chance will probably increase by a few percent maybe 2-5% because some jobs probably have “rude customers/clients” and if you have a deep voice, high chance they don’t want to mess with you. Therefore, wishing myself to have an intimidating voice.

Around now, I just don’t really know about how I speak. I also develop some new slangs such as “Mein, Mang (made those 2 up myself), Noodle, etc…” I never really use slangs much because I think they’re stupid, but I still tend to use them like “Jawn.” I sometimes use the word without knowing, probably from living in philly. From all the people who judged me from the way I speak, I just don’t care. I mean everyone talks differently but I honestly don’t care of the way I speak. It’s true that I want to try to speak so you won’t hear any lisp, but if I can’t, then that’s that. I can’t help it, it’s the way I speak.

I also remembered how I stutter sometimes when talking or ordering something. I don’t know why but I always feel pressured when ordering something. When I’m pressured, my voice is shaky, and I stutter a lot. When I speak, I sometimes try to listen to myself and see if i’m stuttering, check if my voice is shaky, or if I am speaking with a lisp. I always try to see if I’m talking in these ways but remember, I still try to not care about it. I always wondered if there was a way to clear a lisp, but I never decide to research about it or anything. I’ve heard that braces can help you speak more “normal” or speak without a lisp but I never asked my dentist about that. Maybe in the future I’ll ACTUALLY try to clear my lisp, and not be pressured trying to order something or have a shaky voice.


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Why Should Vaccines Be Mandatory?(Revision 2nd 2Fer)


By: Guy Peart


A vaccine is given to people to develop anti-bodies to provide immunity from diseases. A reason to why someone would want to do this, is to prevent the spread of diseases, but should people have a choice about getting a vaccination? Many people believe that vaccines should be mandatory, arguing that the safety of the general population trumps any other concern. However, this mindset discounts the population who have deep investment in their religion and beliefs. These reasons are not excuses, they are valid. Vaccines should be optional because the religious and personal beliefs of citizens are more important than public safety.

There are many ways that people can avoid vaccinations, some reasons being more serious than others. One is religion. Religious Americans are often exempt from vaccines, which raise the public eye. Mississippi and West Virginia allow parents to skip vaccinations for non-medical reasons. Some states offer a “personal belief” exemption from vaccination and the option of a “religious exemption.” (Some states have both.)(Slate.com)There are many religious beliefs that hold many people from receiving vaccinations.  So whether having the option, or religious belief, people have found ways to avoid vaccines, even if it is not medically endorsed. Americans should have the choice if they want to receive a vaccination or not, plus religion to many people is key. If religious people don’t want vaccinations due to their beliefs, than those people should not have to take vaccinations, even if it is a concern to the public. This is important because the United States of America was founded on the idea of freedom, religious freedom. If people cannot practice their religion uninterrupted, than that is violating what the United States was destined to be.





If the disease isn’t much of a threat and the vaccine could cause serious diseases that make not getting the vaccine even worth it in the first place. “Opponents say that children’s immune systems can deal with most infections naturally, and that injecting questionable vaccine ingredients into a child may cause side effects, including seizures, paralysis, and death.   Vaccines have been proven to save millions of lives and prevent quarantines, but they are not always necessary to use. Every time that a child receives a vaccine there is a chance with some children that could potentially,cause serious harm. If the vaccine is not professionally recommended, than it is not really worth the chance of a seizure, autism, or worse. According to Sarah from thehealthyhomeeconomist, there are many harmful chemicals in vaccines

Vaccines are created to save lives, prevent the spread of diseases, and even build permanent immunity from that set of diseases. According to the leading source of controversial issues, ProCon.org, “Proponents say that vaccination is safe and one of the greatest health developments of the 20th century. They point out that illnesses, including rubella, diphtheria, smallpox, polio, and whooping cough, are now prevented by vaccination and millions of children’s lives are saved.” After all, vaccinations have been around for centuries. According to the CDC, 732,000 American children were saved from death and 322 million cases of childhood illnesses were prevented between 1994 and 2014 due to vaccination. There have also been cases where an absence of vaccinations negatively affected the community. Debate.org states that around Los Angeles, more than 60% of pre-schoolers are unvaccinated, giving the area a vaccination rate comparable to the South Sudan. California recorded more than 60 cases of measles last year, and has 79 just in the first month of this year. Vaccines have an important effect on the country, and have saved over a million children alone. Even though it should be the consumer's choice to get the vaccination, there are definite benefits to getting a vaccination, and it can save anyone's life. When a vaccination is recommended, using it could be a crucial decision, but people’s personal beliefs should be their priority.


Vaccines should be considered for all children that attend public institutions, but not required. Vaccines can save lives, but are not always necessary. People should have the choice to get vaccinations, because of religious and philosophical beliefs. In a few rare cases vaccines have lead to seizures, death, and believed to develop autism. If not completely recommended by a doctor, and a family does not want to participate, then they should also have the option to opt to exemption from vaccines because of the possible side-effects.

















Sources:


1.)"Should Any Vaccines Be Required for Children?" ProCon.org. ProCon.org, 10 June 2015. Web. 6 Oct. 2015. <http://vaccines.procon.org/>.


2.)"Should Childhood Immunization Be Optional?" Debate.org. Debate.org, 2015. Web. 6 Oct. 2015. <http://www.debate.org/opinions/should-childhood-immunization-be-optional>.


3.)Krule, Miriam. "Why Is There a Religious Exemption for Vaccines?" Slate. The Slate Group, 5 Feb. 2015. Web. 8 Oct. 2015. <http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2015/02/religious_exemption_for_vaccines_christian_scientists_catholics_and_dutch.html>.


4.)"Six Reasons to Say NO to Vaccinations." The Healthy Home Economist. Austus Media, 2015. Web. 8 Nov. 2015. <http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/six-reasons-to-say-no-to-vaccination/>




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Native Tongue

You pay a price growing up in the states. Word by word, it rolls off of your tongue and is replaced by unfamiliar English vocabulary. You don’t really care at first because your ignorant six year old brain is mesmerized by the foreign country, people, school, friends, and language. And then, people begin to ask, what makes you who you are. So you start asking yourself this very question. By now, you have begun to observe your surroundings and inquire what influences your identity. The first things that pop into your head are the most obvious: where you were born, the language your family speaks, the food you eat, and the traditions or rituals your family has. This all connects back to your roots and culture.

I was born in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I currently reside halfway across the world in Philadelphia. I immigrated to America when I was six years old. Coming here, I only knew how to speak Khmer, my native language. I enrolled into first grade at a school with a great English as a Second Language (ESL) program. There were many others like me who were still learning to speak English, so I don’t remember ever being called out for it. The teachers were wonderful and patient. It wasn’t long before my English improved drastically. Within roughly one year, I was already fluent in the language. I remember receiving the most medals in the second grade. You probably would think that I still carry a Southeast-Asian accent, but since I was taught English at such an early age, the distinct accent never stuck with me like it did to my parents. Even now, they are only able to speak broken English.

It was at this time that I started bringing the language home. I started using it more and more often with my two older siblings because it grew awkward to speak to each other in our own language. I think the reason for this was because many of the words are more polite and respectful in our language. For example, in English, I can address myself as I and I can address someone else as you. However, that would not be the same in Khmer because we would have to address someone based on their age to show respect to the elders and other factors like their relationship to you or if they have married. Before I knew it, I was communicating with my parents in English. Surely, they did not understand what I said most of the time.

“[Why are you home so late?]” my mom questioned as I shut the door behind me. “I volunteered to help with decorating for the Valentine’s Dance,” I replied completely in English. “[Where did you go?]” my mom inquired. I let out a brief sigh and mumbled, “Nevermind.” She clearly didn’t understand what I had just said. Obviously, I was at school decorating. Then, for the billionth time, I fled upstairs to my room.

I used to wish for my parents to know how to speak English like all the other parents. Having to repeat myself in Khmer, fill out paperwork, make phone calls, translate, spell out words, and read mail for them on a daily basis is such a pain. I would always scowl when being asked to complete one of those tasks. Noticing my facial expression, my dad would usually say, “[If I knew how to do it, I would do it myself, I wouldn’t be asking you to do it for me.]”

Inevitably, I grew up since then and have matured. My school takes pride in students’ cultures which explains their name: Folk Arts Cuktural Treasures Charter School. We had many electives and ensembles that teaches dance and music from all over the world which made me gradually realize how important my language and culture is to me.

“It is embarrassing that I don’t know how to speak English. Other people look down on that, but what can I do. It’s too late for me to go to school and I have to go to work to take care of you kids. I choose to speak Khmer at home, so that you kids won’t forget our language. All of these other kids come to this country and they forget where they come from. They don’t see until its too late that being able to speak another language or follow different traditions makes them special. “


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What Does "White" Sound Like?

I had just gotten home and my mom's friends were over our house (for some reason). “Aww there she is! She's grown up so much, like a parking lot weed. How have you been sweetheart?” “I've been fine, thank you. How are you?”  “Oh my goodness! You sound like a white girl, so proper.”   “Thank you!” I automatically knew what it meant when adults told me that; It was a compliment. I had always spoken that way, but when I was around my friends, I would use more slang. My friends never told me that I spoke “white”.


Just like James Baldwin wrote “ A Frenchman living in Paris speaks [a] different language from that of a man living in Marseille; neither sounds very much like a man living in Quebec; and they would [struggle to understand] what the man from Guadeloupe,or Martinique, is saying... although the common language of all these areas is French...each has paid, and is paying, a different price for this common language…” We are all speaking English, but sometimes I will speak “Black English” to get across better with some people in my family. Just so things come off smoother and there don't have to be any break in conversation about how different I sound.


“Did you have fun at the party?” My grandma would ask. “ Yeah! The food was great and there was a lot of dancing. I heard she was having another party soon.” I would say. But if my brother asked me, I would say, “It was lit. There's another one in two weeks and squads gonna be there. But before we go I need to get a jawn, ok?”. Jawn could mean anything, but he’d know exactly what I was walking about.


Language differs from where you are. If you are in Philadelphia, people will know what you're saying if you say hoagie, but in other places you need to say grinder or sub. The right lingo or translation for different words and meanings can be an entirely different things in the areas you are in. When people come to Philadelphia with a different accent, they seem funny to us but really we’re the ones who sound weird to them.


When I'm with my family, I hear different parts of the city in their accents because my family is so spread out. They are not from different states or countries, but they do speak more “proper” than my parents and I do. Since I'm around them a lot I actually know when to switch my accent and or slang. I sometimes don't know how, but I just do it automatically now when speaking.


From an accent, you can identity where they are from, who you live with, your neighborhood, and your community. White Americans and Black Americans in the same neighborhood can have different words because of where their family came from. My family came from Georgia mostly, but an Irish-American family next door could speak and entirely different variation of English. Their traditions at home can also be totally different from mine. Language relates with culture so it's different for everyone.


Words and phrases can be  stolen or switched around to mean something different to a dissimilar person or group of people. The word “jawn” could mean any noun. “Jawn” is a versatile word. For example: It's used to replace words like “store”, “girl”, or even “food” (“I went to the jawn to meet that jawn because she said she'd buy that jawn for me”.) And in different areas, our “jawn” is an entirely different word. It can be longer or shorter and that's just how communities work and how things are brought down by word of mouth or in text. They can also be interpreted differently depending on the person or people.

Words can be related to power as well. In some places in Africa the last letter “z” is “zed” because when the British came over, colonized, and took slaves, that's how they said the alphabet. Their oppressors made the language but they had to keep it to communicate and, therefore, survive (not in all places in Africa, but in some). I speak English and I speak different slang of the same language to thoroughly communicate with people of different groups, areas, and backgrounds. It makes it easier even though we could all speak the same language, it would take time and a lot of effort from here since everything we have is so developed now.


When messaging virtually, things are even shorter like “ttyl”, “brb”, and “omg”. When typing them, I read the full phrase. An entire phrase can be shortened to just a few words even though the meaning is still fully there. New slangs and new words show up every day and they are used by a certain group. But no one group is solid because people interchange and go from side to side to communicate with others as well so it spreads very quickly.


Language is not a conflict in my home because my mother and father taught me English (apart from school). We use standard English, nothing different because we (our families) are from America. Even though different accents can be used for different words, we don't know where they came from. Simply speaking annunciating words better is a sign of respect. Cutting words off in a very laid back way of speaking would be used formally with peers or younger people.


When I talk to my grandmother sometimes, she says things that I don't know of because they're not from my time. Simple words that she used to communicate with her friends and family aren't really in style now and I wouldn't use. But then again, there are things that I would say that she hasn't heard of and she wouldn't think is relevant (or that they don't make sense). Time really does change things along the way because things are altered by word of mouth most of the time.  When I grow up, the children of this generation now will have their own language, but things are already pretty simple as they are. We'll have to wait and see what's next.


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Pope paper revised

The Pope's recent visit to America was covered extensively by the press, and was largely received as positive. He spoke on a variety of topics and issues, including the role of women in the Church, climate change, single mothers, immigrants and the plight of the less fortunate.  While there were crowds in Philadelphia to enjoy these messages, there were not as many people to share the experience as there could have and should have been.  Far fewer people witnessed the Pope's visit than originally predicted by Philadelphia’s Government and the World Meeting of Families. The low attendance is proof that Philadelphia’s government is incapable of planning a large scale events without discouraging people from coming.   

The City of Philadelphia initially expected up to 1.5 million people to come to the highlight of the Pope's visit, the Papal Mass.  Keith Still, a professor of crowd science at Manchester Metropolitan University, estimated that anywhere between 80,000 and 142,000 people came to the Papal Mass on Sunday, September 27. Still, made his estimates by analyzing photographs and assuming four people were in every cubic meter of space.  He then looked at how far the crowd stretched down the Ben Franklin Parkway.  In response to pressure from media regarding how many people came, Mayor Nutter stated, "It's not like a football game. This is not a situation where you evaluate success based on the score."  It is obvious that Philadelphia’s government is embarrassed by low attendance at the Papal Mass, as they have dodged all questions about it.  The road closings and the confusion over what public transit stations would be open caused people to avoid this incredible event.  The core of Philadelphia’s mass transit system was functioning far differently than normal.  Many stations on the Broad Street Line, Market Frankford Line and the Regional Rail Lines were closed. In order to get on Regional Rail System one needed to enter a lottery to buy a special pass.  In addition, multiple bridges and highways were closed going in and out of the city; thus, driving also became a difficult option.  Fewer people came to the Papal Mass because they did not want jump through hoops to get into downtown Philadelphia.    

The elderly are a significant part of the religious population in the United States.  The Pew Research Center has done multiple studies on this and is a leader in researching religious and political topics.  According to one of their studies, 53 percent of people 65 and older attend religious services at least once week.  However, only 33 percent of people between 18 and 29 attend services once per week.  This means that a large percentage of the Papal audience could have been the elderly. However, elderly people are often more challenged to walk than young people.  In spite of this, Mayor Michael Nutter said, “Philadelphians and visitors to the city for the World Meeting of Families and visit by Pope Francis should be prepared to walk for miles when the events take place.”  Many elderly people are not capable of walking miles.  Mayor Nutter scared the elderly away because they were worried about not being able complete this walk without injuring themselves. This shows that city government values young people more than the elderly.

Although the Pope’s visit may only seem important  to Catholics who were discouraged by the government from coming, it should in fact concern anyone who cares about Philadelphia.  The handling of the Pope's visit has already done damage to our reputation as a city capable of holding national scale events. Poor travel systems, lack of attention to the elderly’s needs and the excessive media hype tarnished our reputation.  If Philadelphia also mangles the upcoming Democratic National Convention, it will decimate the city’s reputation for holding national functions.    For the recent 785 million dollar investment for the renovation of Philadelphia’s Convention Center to be worthwhile, the city must be known as a prestigious place for national events. Philadelphia is one of the most prominent cities in America’s history and it needs to present itself that way on the national stage.  


Bibliography:


"Religion Among the Millennials." Pew Research Centers Religion and Public Life. Pew Research Center, 16 Feb. 2010. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.


Rhoads, Kelton. "Everyday Influence." Everyday Influence. Www.workingpsychology.com. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.

"Map: Road Closures During the Pope's Visit." Map: Road Closures During the Pope's Visit. Philadelphia Media Network. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.


"Map: Road Closures During the Pope's Visit." Map: Road Closures During the Pope's Visit. Philadelphia Media Network. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.


Avril, Tom. "800,000 at Papal Mass? Better Count Again." Philly.com. Philadelphia Media Network, 30 Sept. 2015. Web. 8 Oct. 2015.


Sisak, Michael. "Philadelphia In A State Of Panic As Pope Visit Nears." Huffington Post. HuffingtonPost.com, 1 Aug. 2015. Web. 7 Oct. 2015.


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"Brecfix" for Champions

“ I’m so hungry “

“ Yea me too I didn’t have time the eat BRECFIX this morning because….”

“ You didn’t have time to eat what “?

“ Brecfix you know, morning time food”.

“ Oh you mean BREAKFAST”

“ Yea isn’t that what I said”.

“ Why do you say it like that “?

“ Say it like what?“

“ You sound so weird it’s breakfast like break-fast not brecfix you sound like you're from the south or something “

“ Brecfix ”

Everybody that was in a 5 feet radius of my conversation burst into laughter.

“ What is Brecfix “

“ She said Brec- Fix”

“ Like Brick and fix”

“ Hahahahahahaha”

                 I started laughing with them to hide my embarrassment. I didn’t understand why it was so funny. I had been saying breakfast the same way since I was a kid. This was in the 7th grade. I was 13 years old and until that day, I didn’t know I couldn’t say breakfast. The word had already been sprouted into the garden of my vocabulary and I didn’t know how to change it. When I got home that day I sat in the mirror for hours just trying to say breakfast. My mind knew that it was breakfast but my mouth kept saying brecfix. I felt so stupid and I was so frustrated with myself because I couldn't say a simple word. What really upset me is that no one ever told me I was saying it wrong. So how would you know when you're saying something wrong or strange? Especially when it sounds so normal to you.  When you’ve been saying something the same way for so long and someone corrects you, it feels like a slap in the face. Why do people think they have the right to correct you on the way you speak?  When a group of people say something the same way they become accustomed to it. It's their normal. But when someone comes and says it differently they look at them strangely. They laugh at and judge that person because they don’t speak like them.  I noticed that when people don’t understand something they try to put it down. These ideas of one language triumphing over another are ridiculous. Language is language, it's your interpretation of the definition of language that is different from everyone else’s. Everyone's definition is different. You're definition doesn't make you better than anyone or less than anyone it makes you who you are.


         Language is power. It's the power to judge someone. It's the power to understand someone. Our language is the most powerful thing we have. It's our language that lets us communicate with one another. People feel as though if they speak a certain language they have power over someone who doesn't speak that language. They make fun of that language because they don't know it. In the world that we live in being different is frowned upon. Anything that is not what people are used to is weird to them and they will laugh at it or joke about it. They don't understand that when they are laughing at the way someone speaks it is laughing at who they are. The way you speak is you is apart of you, it is you.


               I was laughed at because I couldn't say one word like everyone else. Imagine all the people who get laughed at who have accents or have a disability like a stutter and can't speak like everyone else. It hurts. You feel bad about who you are. You're language is your power. When someone puts down you're language they are taking away your power.  There is no perfect language to speak. Everyone goes somewhere outside of where they are from and doesn't understand the language or the slang. Where you are from influences you're language greatly. Once you step out of that zone you are lost, your language is lost.


            I tried to change who I was to get approval from others. That's what you do when you change your language you are talking away a part of yourself. I tried for months to say breakfast like everyone else. I practiced and practiced but I never got it right.

           One day I was sitting down eating at school. It wasn't breakfast, it was lunch time so nobody asked me to say brecfix or talked about how I said it. My friend Imani and I were making jokes and laughing like we always did at lunch and I started to talk to her about an assignment we had.

“ Did you finish your project for Mr. Jumpp’s class”?

“ No I didn't even start that yet”

“ You know it's due in like last week right?”

“ Yea but I don't know PACIFICALLY what I want my topic to yet”

PACIFICALLY, SHE SAID PACIFICALLY.

“ You don't what”?

“ I don't know what..”.

“ No you said you don't know pacifically what you want to do yet”.

“ Yeah I don't know pacifically what I want my topic to be”.

“ Specifically”.

“ Huh”.

“ The word is pronounced spe-cif-ically”.

“ Oh Sp..Pa..Psssifically is that right”?

          This was coming from the same friend who corrected me for saying brecfix. She couldn't say specifically. She said pacific, like the Pacific Ocean. It was in that moment that I realized something important. People mispronounce words all the time. It’s apart of life. Than I started to think about it, and maybe we aren't mispronouncing words. Maybe we are just saying the word in our own language. Putting our power into a word to make it our own. Each word that we speak is different. We each have our own way of speaking. So this is my definition of language. Language is not just what you say or how you communicate with one another. It's so much more than that. Language is the power that we put into what we say. We put power into everything that we say.  That's how language and power coincide. Power runs through the river of language and language flows out of all of us. We all individually make our language. Nobody in the world can say every word “correctly” or knows every language. Sometimes we can’t say things “correctly” and that's okay because it’s how we say it.  

         I  still can not say breakfast "correctly" but now I don’t even try to say it. Breakfast is not in my language. Of course people still laugh when they hear me say brecfix but I’m okay with it now because I know that it’s my special word, it’s apart of my language. I eat brecfix in the morning and I am perfectly fine with that.
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Islam on the Rise

Islam on the Rise

Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. However, it is also still  hated and misunderstood by many, due to the radical or extremist perception the media portrays. Since 9/11, the media has been covering many stories about attacks, bombing, killing, etc that have Muslim involvement. The media shows a lot more negativity from one group, rather than the positivity. It is the general public’s interaction with the media, and not actual Muslims, that gives them their image or impression of what Islam is about and who Muslims are.

Islam is perceived by many to be a religion full of terrorists, due to the outbreak of attacks and killing done by ISIS, and other extremist groups. All the negativity shown in the media is what Americans see, and because of this false information, Americans develop a sense of fear or hatred towards Muslims. Bridge Georgetown is a community organization that writes Muslim-Christian understandings and settlements. One of their articles states, “According to data Media Tenor collected on “religious protagonists” in 2013 news stories, Christianity, Judaism and other religions receive considerably positive coverage in American news, while Islam receives virtually none. While mainstream religious leaders like Pope Francis were often the face of Catholicism in the media, fringe extremists like Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi became the face of Islam.” Pope Francis is well known, respected, and is positively portrayed in most media. The Dalai Lama, a religious leader in Buddhism, is also well known, respected, and portrayed well in the media. Yet, when Islam is shown in the media it is often associated with something nonpositive. The face of Islam is now well known through extremist like Abu Bakr or Osama Bin Laden. Even if Islam is a growing religion, it will still have a good number of people who are very ignorant about it.

An news article published by The Daily Beast, talks about other religious terrorist groups, such as the Buddhist terrorists who had killed many Muslims in Burma and Sri Lanka, yet it is not heard a lot about. People are more likely to be killed for other reasons, such as accidental death or injuries caused by children, then by Muslim terrorists. The last several years, there have been many terrorist attacks in the West. To many, they automatically think that it was the Muslims that did it, the extremists. Yet they do not know that many of the terrorist attacks were not linked to Muslims. Muslims are perceived as terrorist without valid reasonings and actual understanding behind the religion. An FBI report shows that there was only a small percentage of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil between 1980 and 2005 that were perpetrated by Muslims. Forty-two percent of terrorist attacks are done by Latinos and only 6 percent by Muslims. Most terrorist attacks shown by the media are by Muslims, but not about other religious groups. Most people do not know this because of the media, most terrorist attacks that happen in the U.S are not even done by Muslims. This comes to show how Islam is misunderstood by the people, majority of those in the west.

Islam is a fast growing religion, the numbers of new converts contribute to it’s growing pace, but not entirely. The Pew research center discussed about the growth of the religion Islam and what it is projected to be by 2050. “The main reasons for Islam’s growth ultimately involve simple demographics. To begin with, Muslims have more children than members of the seven major religious groups analyzed in the study.” The children in Muslim households are increasing in numbers compared to other households of other religions. Because Islam is not a religion that typically seeks converts,  there will still be a misunderstanding or fear that links to Islam and Muslims. There will be more numbers of Muslim in the coming years, due to estimated population growth, and as of today, there are about 1.6 billion Muslims, which makes up about 23% of the world’s population.

Although hatred towards Islam may seem important to Muslims. It should be in fact concern anyone who cares about rights and the freedom of religion everyone that everyone deserves. It is not just about the religion and Muslims, it is how people treat Muslims because of their religion yet still believing in freedom of religion. It’s important for a better understanding of this religion and the people and not just the stereotypes in society.



Work Cited


"The Fastest Growing Religion in the World Is ... - CNN.com." CNN. Cable News Network. Web. 9 Oct. 2015. <http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/02/living/pew-study-religion/>.


"Why Muslims Are the World’s Fastest-growing Religious Group." Pew Research Center RSS. 23 Apr. 2015. Web. 9 Oct. 2015. <http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/23/why-muslims-are-the-worlds-fastest-growing-religious-group/>.


"Non-Muslims Carried Out More than 90% of All Terrorist Attacks in America." Global Research. Web. 9 Oct. 2015. <http://www.globalresearch.ca/non-muslims-carried-out-more-than-90-of-all-terrorist-attacks-in-america/5333619>.


Obeidallah, Dean. The Daily Beast. Newsweek/Daily Beast. Web. 9 Oct. 2015. <http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/14/are-all-terrorists-muslims-it-s-not-even-close.html>.


Shadid, W., and P.S Van Koningsveld. Web. 9 Oct. 2015. <http://www.interculturelecommunicatie.com/download/image.pdf>.


"Media Portrayals of Religion: Islam." Media Portrayals of Religion: Islam. Web. 9 Oct. 2015. <http://mediasmarts.ca/diversity-media/religion/media-portrayals-religion-islam>.


"The Fastest Growing Religion In America Is Islam." End Of The American Dream. Web. 9 Oct. 2015. <http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/the-fastest-growing-religion-in-america-is-islam>.


"New Study Analyzes Media Coverage of Islam Over Time - The Bridge Initiative | A Research Project on Islamophobia." The Bridge Initiative. 24 Apr. 2015. Web. 9 Oct. 2015. <http://bridge.georgetown.edu/new-study-analyzes-media-coverage-of-islam-over-time/>.





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The Different Tongues Within

“Yo hhablo es-pan-your."

"Español."

“Es-pan-jour.”

“Noo español."

“Es-pan-oool.”

“No!”

¨Whatever.¨


Let’s just say, pronunciation is the key to communication, and communication is dependent on language. So shouldn’t I be able to know a language and communicate perfectly to others? Maybe, but that’s usually never the case. Language is a group of words in a dialect where you either butcher every syllable or swiftly glide through it like a plane. There is no in between, no if’s, and's, or buts; you just do it.

"El car-row azul."

“Carro.”

“Car-row.”

“CARRO.”

¨Car-row.¨

¨Forget it.¨

“Am I not saying it right?!”

“Roll your r’s!”

“I can’t.”

“Then, just stop.”

Either you say it correctly or you're like me, neglected because my r’s don’t roll off my tongue as perfectly as they are suppose to. People rejecting to respond to my sentences because the sounds don’t feel right against their ears. People judging my accent as if I should've had gotten it right the first time, but it wasn't that easy.

I remember, it was after my first Spanish one test, or should I say prueba. I was so happy that I got a good grade on it so I wanted to speak Spanish to every single Hispanic person I ever knew. I thought by my grade being high meant that I could speak fluent Spanish and understand it perfectly, but I was wrong. Elani Gonzalez- Ortiz; the first Spanish oriented person to walk pass.

“Hola, ¿cómo estás?”

“Muy bien, ¿y tú?”

“Muy bien.”

“kgfwuelagru ghruaggfk fhaiunfmsug.”

What had been a new birth of a language quickly turned into unknown jibberish. I wanted to ask, but I needed to figure this out. I was better than this; I KNEW SPANISH! I had gotten a ninety-five for a reason; and I was going to figure out what she was saying. It took me days, weeks, until I just gave up. Yup, that's exactly what I did, I gave up. I soon realized that Spanish wasn't for me; I was just another child denied by the world of Spanish and their foreigners. I accepted that role as a person, but for some particular reason somewhere in my heart still felt the need to be better than that. I felt, I wasn't going to be the test dummy to a society of a new profound language. I was going to make myself be heard, in Spanish, so I studied.

A’s and B’s seemed to constantly occur every marking period as a statement that I have gotten somewhere in my Spanish journey. Spanish sentences flowed so perfectly against my eardrums and all just seemed to all become one inside my head. So, I tried again.

“Hola, ¿cómo estás?”

“Muy bien, ¿y tú?”

“Estoy bien.”

“Oh, , tjyvgj ynhfgub ygjbyyj”

It happened again… I am officially done with Spanish.

Communicating within languages that aren’t foreign to you can be the biggest struggle you encounter throughout your life. This not only affects me but the people I am trying to communicate with. I only have two options in this situation, to either, further my knowledge within Spanish and become very well spoken, or stop talking to them at all. Either way I will always have a constant struggle upon me.

Currently I have an A in Spanish; currently I am becoming better than I once was yet again. I gave up and came back multiple times throughout my past years just to end up here. Sometimes I do wonder, why do I keep trying or why do I even care so much.  But then I notice that if it wasn’t for my school’s constant requirement of taking Spanish classes and my love of Spanish music, then I wouldn’t be here right now. Spanish has been that language that seems to just grow with me. Whenever I feel like letting it go, it always seems to find it’s way back to me; and I am okay with that.

According to google’s very own definition resources, language is “the system of communication used by a particular community or country.” In this definition there are no limits or requirements of how much of that language you need to know. All that is needed is for you to be able to say a couple of those words to another person who also speaks it and then, you are considered a person who knows the language. Well, at least that is how I see it. This definition gives me is a reason for my hope, the reason for my devotion and dedication to Spanish; it gives me path that I will take.

I hung around too many Hispanic in my life, not to understand. Always feeling like the outcast was never a fun thing to me. I would purposely invite others who didn’t speak Spanish just to fill somewhat in place. But I always had that dream that if I could just learn to understand Spanish, I would be okay.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my foreign language of English, but sometimes you need to learn something new to feel better within yourself. English will always be my most dependent on language; it will always be my first resort of communicating. But being able to do both, English and Spanish will always be a reminder of where I started and how far I have came.

“Hola, ¿cómo estás?”

“Muy bien, ¿y tú?”

Asombroso.”

“Oh, ¿por qué te sientes así?”

“Porque yo hablo español.”

“Y usted está hablando a la perfección!”

“Lo se, gracias.”

“¿Para qué?”

“For not rejecting me in a world of foreigners.”

Pronunciation is the key to communication, and communication is dependent on language. Without language, none of this would ever even be possible, so I take pride in my language. Language gives me my very own personal portal to the outside world. It allows me to understand everything near and around me as a person. My language gives me a chance to explain myself; it gives me my very own identity. I consider my language everything; my language is me. No words, dialect, accent, or symbol can change me from expressing who I am exactly; language gives me a voice.
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