Black Veterans: The Epitome of American Patriotism

I want to give a big thank you this Veterans Day to every Black man and woman that served in the United States military. It is ironic that patriotism and racism go together like baseball and hot dogs in the good old USA, as those who scream the loudest saying, “Support our troops!”, often care little about the domestic polices and de facto racism that keeps their “heroes” from living the very American dream that they are told to fight for and export to nations around the world.

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The Black soldier lined up to fight the British in 1775, even while they were being enslaved! To add insult to injury, many of the Black soldiers fought in the so-called Revolutionary War “in place of their masters, fighting for a freedom they would never see for themselves. (In many cases, their enlistment bonuses or even their pay went straight to their masters.)

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At the time of the Civil War, Fredrick Douglass argued that the Black soldier could help the North win the war, but Abraham Lincoln did not want armed Black slaves (and you were taught in school that he wanted to free the slaves right?). He later gave in, but imagine the horrific torture that awaited a Black Union soldier that was captured by the Confederate army? The Black soldier did not receive equal pay for his fighting, and heroes like Robert Smalls proved that the Black soldier really was as smart as the White soldier, which was a common stereotype of the time as well as today (e.g. “IQ tests”). These Black soldiers would soon be placed back into second-class citizenship in the U.S., as the Union and Confederate states sought reconciliation with one another, not the men and women that it had enslaved for over 250 years. Those same Black soldiers, like other formerly enslaved Black Americans, didn’t receive their ”40 acres and a mule”. That land was given back to the very people they had just fought against just years prior.

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Fast forward to WWI, right in the midst of the Nadir period for civil rights, as Black Americans were “free” but certainly not equal, so many Black men enlisted to fight, “the War Department had to stop accepting black volunteers because the quotas for African Americans were filled.” “African American men who owned their own farms and had families were often drafted before single white employees of large planters. Although comprising just ten percent of the entire United States population, blacks supplied thirteen percent of inductees.”  They returned to a nation who’s cities erupted with race riots that stole black wealth (Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1921) and lynchings and sundown towns.

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By WWII, Black Americans still enlisted and desired to fight so-call fascism with pride. However, how embarrassing was it for the USA to be called out on its hypocrisy by none other than…Hitler. He noted that the USA’s treatment of the Negro set an example for how Germany must deal with “foreign Jews”. They returned home after WWII still subjected to Jim Crow segregation, more race riots, and once again, unequal pay, as 1.2 million soldiers were not able to take advantage of their GI Bill and be free to move into the newly formed suburbs which would soon create an even wider wealth gap through housing that remains firmly entrenched into the 21st century. The result, the Black soldier’s family could not benefit from sacrifice that he made for his country not just with housing, but because they were also unable to use the money for college tuitions or business loans. To add insult to atrocity, many were attacked by Whites as they were on their way home from the war.

 

How much changed by the Vietnam War for the Black soldier? I think you know the answer, as the 1960s are the one period of time most American’s did learn about in school as the “Civil Rights Era”, due to the assignation of Dr. Martin Luther King. Black Vietnam veterans, as after every other war, returned to segregated communities and “their place” in society. However, this time, the situation was in the process of changing. Some of these veterans returned home determined to now make this country live up to the promise it had been making to prior Black veterans for generations.

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How will we look at the time of service for those who served in Desert Storm or the so-called Iraqi War and years of fighting the “War on Terror”? Fifty years from now, will we look back and note their time of service at the time when Black men and women were being shot and killed by police officers and the officers continuously get found “not guilty”? Will we see that they served at a time when “White Extremists” in their own country, are considered more dangerous than the terrorist they were fighting in the Middle East?

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In my opinion, the Black veteran is the epitome of an American patriot. Perhaps they have never fought for what America actually was to them, but for what America always promised it would be to them and their offspring for their service.

For that, I sincerely say, thank you for your service.

Cool Pappa

Presentation Outline: The Evolution of Blackface

Lexi had the opportunity to present to her college class this week and decided to talk about the Evolution of Blackface. Perfect timing, as we had just watched Spike Lee’s Bamboozled a few weeks prior, but this was going to be a particularly “interesting” topic before a majority white classroom. 

She has allowed me to repost her presentation outline (so it does not read like an essay) here on our site. Actually, that is the whole point that I’m teaching her, it is HER work! We write so many papers and do so much research for teachers or our employers, but it is our work, and something in us that we should share for our own purposes and not the benefit of others. 

I must also say CONGRATULATIONS to my girl. In one month, she graduates with her Associate’s degree right after clocking the odometer over to her 18th birthday.  Since she’s is going to be an English guru, hopefully she can edit dad’s sloppy grammar here on the site (and get him to write more) as well. 

 

Topic: The Evolution of Blackface

Specific Purpose: To Inform my COM 206 class on the evaluation of blackface.

Central Idea: Everyone believes that blackface ended in the 1980’s, but there are still many examples of its presence online and in the news. From its racial beginning, controversial middle, and still foreseeable future.

INTRODUCTION

Attention-getter: Lisa R. Pruitt looked at her 1985 yearbook she edited when she was an undergraduate at the University of Arkansas. She was looking to see if any of the students appeared in blackface. After everything that has been starting to surface from other people’s college years, Pruitt believed she would find some photos depicting the same thing. After some searching, she was surprised to see that there weren’t any, but wouldn’t be surprised if she would have some.

Relevance to audience: The controversy about blackface has been spreading in the news lately, and this issue is one that is important to understand. Not only to judge future politicians and clothing, but to understand history as a whole.

Preview of speech: So, I will give a quick overview of how blackface came to be, what was happening with college students in the 80s, and how it’s being used in the 21st century.

(Let’s first start with the quick history.)

BODY

  1. The history of blackface is a very controversial and hidden history.
    1. According to Eric Lott from the book Love & Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class writes that the minstrel show is a, “transparently racial curiosity, a form of leisure that, in inventing and ridiculing the slow-witted but irrepressible ‘plantation darky’”.
      1. Eric Lott continues to say that this was a way of conveniently rationalizing the oppression of black people.
      2. Movies like The Birth of a Nation is an example of blackface. In which white people put on blackface and then made black people look savage and animal like.
    2. The use of blackface dates back to minstrel shows in the mid-19th century
      1. Minstrel shows were the biggest form of entertainment in America before TV shows and movies. These shows often depicted falsehoods about black people to make them seem idiotic and stupid.
    3. After the 1980’s, blackface started to lose its value and instead was being ridiculed. Attitudes started to change about how African Americans are being depicted and whether or not it was right.

(Now that we know some history, let’s jump to the 80s. Where blackface flared until it died, our so we thought.)

  1. For blackface, the 1980’s had many white college students taking part in the practice. This is referred to as the “Great College-Yearbook Reckoning”, stated by Zipporah Osei in “The ‘Great College-Yearbook Reckoning’: Scholars Say Blackface Images Aren’t Outliers”.
    1. Lisa Pruitt also said, “that back then, she and her white classmates weren’t sensitized to the overt racism of blackface”.
    2. This article continues to explain how politicians wore blackface to parties and events during their college years.
      1. Hafsa Quraishi for NPR writes, “both the (Virginia) governor and the attorney general admitted to instances of dressing in blackface for parties in the 1980s”.
      2. Zipporah Osei continues to say that, “Mark Herring, Virginia’s Democratic attorney general, admitted that he too had donned blackface in the 1980s”.

(Now after this time period of college rebellion, we enter the 21st century. This is when we start to see another rise of blackface, but in a different form.)

  • There are still images of blackface being created today in the 21st century. What’s to say that it will end any time soon.
    1. The NPR article says that, “Back in 2000, when comedian Jimmy Kimmel was the host of The Man Show, he had a recurring skit in which he wore blackface to impersonate former Utah Jazz basketball player Karl Malone”.
      1. In this skit, he would mock Malone’s speech and intelligence while wearing full-body blackface.
        1. Jimmy Fallon also wore black face while portraying comedian Chris Rock in an episode of Saturday Night Live in 2000.
      2. This was being talked about so much that Spike Lee, a famous black director, made a movie called Bamboozled that was released in 2000.
        1. This movie touched on the reality of what would happen if minstrel shows were brought back today in the form of a television show. Not only did it talk about blackface, but it also touched on how black people can sell each the out.
      3. The Italian brand Gucci just got ridiculed for selling a black turtle necked sweater that included a red-lined cut out for costumers’ mouth.
        1. Other brands that had similar racist moments include Burberry with a hoodie that had a noose around it, and H&M with its ad controversy of a black boy wear a shirt that said, “coolest monkey in the jungle”.

CONCLUSION

Summary Statement: To conclude, blackface is still very much alive and well. Even though we think that no one uses blackface anymore; brands still release clothing that are blatantly racist. Famous comedians today also have put on blackface, yet they seem to be surprisingly quite during this blackface controversy toward the Virginia governor.

Audience Response Statement: Staying on top of this situation is important to understand how your century thinks. Will you still feel the same way you did when you shopped at Gucci before the sweater outrage, or will you know feel disgusted to own their products?

WOW Statement: We can’t get to a world of no racism, it is virtually impossible. But things as blatant as Gucci’s sweater can be resolved with a little common sense and understanding of history.

College Girl

Hi everyone, I haven’t posted a blog post in awhile, and in this blog post I’ll explain why. Things have been busy since I posted my last blog post, My Views on Starting CollegeI have now put my plan into action and went through with what I said in my last post. I did so well during the summer that I decided to do another semester.

At my college there are two summer semesters, I took two classes in the first semester and one in the second. To start my college experience I took Sociology 101 and Pre-algebra in the first semester, then I took Introductory Algebra in the second semester. I passed all of these classes with an A grade. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be to enter college with no experience in school. Since I started in the summer, when there aren’t many students on campus, I didn’t have a classroom full of people. All my summer classes were what they call ITV classes, which are basically Skype calls where your professor and most of your other classmates are on a screen. This made it much easier to give I presentation in my sociology class. It was also easier than I thought to talk to people. At first, I was nervous to meet people on a daily basis, and I stressed over the little things like can you switch seats on the second day of class or is there an assigned seating code I don’t know about? But there was nothing to worry about, I was just freaking out about being with other people.

I also got to see all the people that left the class in the beginning or middle of the semester. There was one guy in my sociology class that was supposed to give a presentation on the second day of class, he ended up not showing up ever again. Then I just watched all the other students drop like flies. Seeing them leave gave me the courage to keep going when I wanted to cry because I procrastinated on an essay. I also made some companions in math class, which is honestly part of the reason I wanted to start college.

I am now in the Fall semester and I feel like I can do more. So I decided to do a full college load of 14 credits, and continue doing high school at home. Because of this, I made sure to download a lot of inspirational quotes for this semester on my phone. The classes I’m taking in the Fall semester are Interpersonal Communication, Intermediate Algebra, Anatomy and Physiology, and Survey of Jazz/Pop Music. My hope is to get at least two A’s and two B’s.

So this is my update post, I will try to keep people posted on what is going on, but I have a feeling that I will be really busy for the next few months!

-Lexi (a.k.a College Girl)

 

 

My Views on Starting College

At the start of this year, I had a goal of getting into an Early College program so I can graduate high school early and have a head start on college. I didn’t have many options when looking for such a program in Arizona, especially since we live in a city that is like an island. I narrowed it down to two programs, the Move On When Ready program and a local community college’s First Step program.

The Move On When Ready program focuses on you graduating from high school when you’re ready. After your sophomore year in high school, you can take a test to see if you can graduate from high school. If you pass, you receive the Grand Canyon Diploma that says you have met the requirement for high school. The First Step program is where a high school student can take classes for the summer semester, and still attend high school. In the end, I decided I would do the First Step program. Mostly because going to school always seemed like a fantasy, rather than a reality. I really wanted to get the school experience and find out what my friends say I miss not going to school.

So I started to gather as much information that I could about the program, then I told my parents and they were fine with the idea. The process of getting started wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be overall. I filled out the First Step form, then went to the campus to take my placement test. The placement test was what I was worried about mostly. Even though you cannot fail the placement test, I thought I might get a low enough score that I would not be able to join. I cannot speak of what was on the test, but I did do well. I then met with an advisor and he told me all about college and what classes I should take. So now I’m taking three classes for the summer to start my college adventure in late May.

The College Writing Series: Translating Your Evidence

Now that we have gone through the first step of the essay process (picking evidence), it’s time to analyze your evidence. As I’ve said in past posts, college writing is about creating your own insight, rather than writing about other individual’s insight (for example, writing a book report). Professors do not want a review of the reading, they want to know what you thought about it. Being able to present your thoughts in an organized, easy-to-understand manner will earn you the better grade.

“How do I go about analyzing my evidence,” you ask? In CEA format, there are three steps:

Continue reading “The College Writing Series: Translating Your Evidence”

The College Writing Series: How to Pick Great Evidence For Your Essays

A few weeks ago, I started the first true series of Teach Them Right, called The College Writing Series. My first post for the series gave a very brief overview of the format I will be using (CEA – Claim, Evidence, Analysis), and what to expect in future posts.

Now on my second post of this series, I would like to touch on the first step of writing a college-level essay in CEA format, picking evidence for your paragraph. By picking your evidence before doing anything else, you are able to form your argument based off of the evidence instead of picking evidence that fits your argument.

Continue reading “The College Writing Series: How to Pick Great Evidence For Your Essays”

3 Reasons Why College Textbooks Are So Expensive and How to Save as Much Money as Possible

The ever-rising costs of college tuition have caused many to rethink their education, but one subject that has gotten under many noses is college textbooks. According to the Huffington Post, in 2014 college textbooks had increased in price by 812 percent since 1978, beating medical services, new house prices, and inflation.

CollegeBoard estimated that last year’s average undergraduate spent about $1,300 on textbooks over two semesters, as seen in the image below.

2015-2016 college expenses

I can personally say that my textbooks have cost more than that this semester. I spent over $700 on three classes and thankfully, I already had the book for my fourth class. That sets me up to pay about $1,400 by the end of the school year.

So why are college textbooks so expensive and what can you do about it to save money?

Who’s to Blame?

Wonder who to point fingers at when it comes to expensive books? It’s both the publishers’ and schools’ fault.

Continue reading “3 Reasons Why College Textbooks Are So Expensive and How to Save as Much Money as Possible”

The College Writing Series: An Overview of CEA Format

I’m happy to announce that I will be starting the first true series of Teach Them Right called The College Writing Series, aimed to assist you in teaching your child the basics of writing in college! In my last post, 7 Rules to Writing in College, I pointed out a few things that differentiate high school writing from college writing, so it is best to check out that post before reading this one.

In this new series, I’ll teach what is called CEA Format, and is essentially a method to help your body paragraph structure. CEA (which stands for Claim, Evidence, and Analysis) was taught to me in my first semester of the Early College Alliance, the college prep program I entered in the 10th grade. Over the past few years of writing for college professors, I have found that when I use CEA format my essays are generally complimented for their flow and logical progression, both of which are important for a reader. Now I use CEA in almost all of academic writing, sometimes even in short answer questions.

“So why should I use this format?”

CEA format is extremely helpful when it comes to organization of an essay.

Continue reading “The College Writing Series: An Overview of CEA Format”

7 Rules to Writing in College

As the summer starts to wind down and supermarkets start their “Back to School” sales, that can only mean one thing… the start of a new school year.

Maybe you have a high schooler that you’re going to homeschool, and you’d like to prepare them for college. One of the biggest things that I had to learn is that high school writing is not the same as college writing. Usually, freshmen get slapped in the face because the same essays that were earning “A’s” in high school start to be labelled as “not really there yet” in college.

Here are a few rules that you can start using in your teaching to help your student prepare for college:

Continue reading “7 Rules to Writing in College”

Think It Takes a Genius to Enter College Early? Think Again. Three Easy Steps to Succeed in College

 

In my first post, I told you guys my background and how I was homeschooled up until the tenth grade, when I was able to enter this program called the Early College Alliance. If you read my post, you’d know that the program allowed me to earn 32 free college credits. No, this wasn’t dual-enrollment. I was at the university itself, taking real college classes, with real college students. In fact, if I hadn’t told them that I was 15, they would’ve seen me as a normal college student (when I actually did tell them, and they became aware that I was saving thousands upon thousands of dollars while they weren’t, the look on their face was pretty funny).

So, what am I here to talk about this time?

Simple. What does it take to be successful in college? Do you have a student who’s looking to get into college early, like I did? Here are three simple steps to being successful in college, no matter the age/grade level.

Continue reading “Think It Takes a Genius to Enter College Early? Think Again. Three Easy Steps to Succeed in College”