Showing posts with label Classism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Classism. Show all posts

Monday, September 29, 2014

Those With Sight

Book one of the Life Goes On series Arc One The Artists Book One "Those With Sight" Shuttered Vision

“What are you doing here?”  She snapped.

He smiled at the little beauty, she felt him as soon as he showed up this time.  She was getting better and better at it. He loved her dress.  It looked like it was patched together like a quilt. All those lovely loud and soft colors that did wonders for her dark skin. It fit her like a glove. She was shorter than him by five or six inches.  She wasn’t a very slender woman. Not fat by any means but she wasn’t one of those super slender super model skinny numbers he had gotten used to in Hollywood.  She had full breasts a slim waist, ample hips and thighs.  He was willing to bet the backside was as well thought out as the front. Her blue black hair fell in soft wavy curls to her shoulders thick and full. Those amazing gray eyes were on him.  She was furious.
“Mad at me for the stolen kiss?” he teased her.
“No I was mad at you for interrupting me with my father.”
“Your father, so you were talking to somebody.  Here I thought you were nuts.”
“You’re in my dream, I’m not the one that’s nuts.”
He laughed at the matter of fact way she said it. “How is that possible huh?  I can be in your dream but you can’t be in mine? I think you have that wrong.”
She just stared at him confused.  He tried to imagine her near him again.  It worked all of two seconds and then she stopped and stared at him.
“Stop that. If you want me to come over there, ask don’t demand.”
It was something about the way she said it made him ask instead. “Would you, if I asked?”
“Why don’t you find out?”
Seemed simple enough. “Will you stand closer to me?”
“How much closer, be specific.”
His hands itched, his mouth watered. “Close enough to touch.”
He watched spellbound as she shifted her hips stepping lightly and smoothly walking over to him.  The motion of her hips was distracting him.  She flowed like water, well set music.  He felt himself respond to her.
“Will you listen to what I have to say to you?” she asked.
“Why do women always need to talk, we have nothing to talk about.” He placed his hand on her face cupping her cheek, it felt like the smoothest silk. “Touching, that’s what we need to do.”
She cupped his hand in hers as she looked him in the eye. “Why are you here?”
He stared at her oddly as the question vibrated in his head like an echo.  Her eyes expanded and started to glow a bit.  He saw a part of her, like a shadow or illusion of her shift away from her and fly into him. He could feel her in his head starting to tear around.  His childhood flashed briefly in his mind and was passed on to his first sexual experience.  He was in his bedroom when he was 17, Janet Tully taking him into her hand for the first time.  He has his first realization about Hollywood as two skinny blondes with fake tits offer him cocaine on their exposed breasts.  The strips of his mind peeling away as he started to lose control of his motorfunctionality lying in the middle of his gameroom.

“No.” Colan sat straight up in bed naked sweating, breathing hard.  
He dropped his head into his hands, the dream vivid in his mind.  The feelings of helplessness and vulnerability were stark in his person. He threw himself back down on the bed with a thud, then gave a disgusted look at his sheet tenting over his erect penis.
“Well good to know you still work in moments of crisis.” He muttered.
He couldn’t blame it, she was gorgeous, that creature he had dreamed about constantly for months now.   Really it was the dreams before that had eventually led to her. It had started sometime after his nervous breakdown.  He would be sleeping and have the most horrific nightmares.  He was in hell and all around him were roaming beasts and fire breathing creatures.  And always some new lamb for the slaughter would drop from the sky and be unmercifully eaten.  He had tried to defeat the beasts and they would come back stronger, more evolved.  After months of these dreams he had resorted to trying to escape.  One night he had gotten to the top where people were dropped in and he had heard singing.
He closed his eyes and recalled the dream.  She had been singing Amazing Grace.  Simple lovely and it had actually sounded like salvation.  He had waited till she finished and then pulled himself up and he had been in that odd field.  She hadn’t seen him.  Just continued about her way.  She would lay in that field humming to herself.  She would do such odd things there as if she was somewhere else seeing something else.  It was like this odd form of pantomime. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago she had sensed him and now they actually spoke to each other.

He got out of bed to start his day.  It was such a silly foolish thing, his dream woman.  Everything about her was completely different from what he usually looked for in a woman.  She was a dark skinned brunette he usually went for pale blondes.  She didn’t mince words, his women where usually cunningly coy.  She stood up to him, he hadn’t had a women tell him no in a little over a decade.  The oddest part of the whole thing was that every once in awhile he had to work very hard to convince himself that what happened in his dreams wasn’t real.  That she wasn’t real.  He had done all kinds of research on it.  Dreams were just an extension of repressed desires.  Really he wanted something different from what he was and where he was and she represented it.
He stood in the shower letting the hot water fall over him.  He dropped his head and felt it running through his hair down his neck and shoulders. She was an interesting creation he had to admit. She was black from what he could tell, but those eyes and her hair, the black women back home had never looked like that, not women of any of the races he had grown up around.   There were things that were still considered taboo in Oklahoma, especially in the country.  Dating someone not of your same color was one of them.
Honestly he hadn’t ever really thought about it.  His mother hadn’t raised him to care.  But the people surrounding you always ingrained it in your make-up.  White privilege is what it was called by people who studied it.  This whole dichotomy of entitlement and empowerment. He knew about the theories, those with power and all that. He also knew that they were one hundred percent true.  This had been part and parcel to his breakdown.
All his life he had told himself that he wasn’t a racist.  That deep down inside he wanted equal rights for all people.  But the world was the way that it was and nothing could change that.  Such a scapegoat that was created with that one thought.  Colan knew better, he made movies, he created and recreated the world everyday, every week every hour as a new person was exposed to what he was directly responsible for creating.  
The world is not the way that it was because it just was, it was the way the people in power created it to be.  Through all open forms of media, radio, television and film Americans are being told what to do, how to do it and most importantly who to do it too.  It wasn’t too long until books and magazines converted and now you even had to second guess what you read in the newspaper.  Then the internet came along and changed the face of the game.  There was information out there for those willing to look for it about the true face of things in the media and the world.

Colan realized that he had gotten lost in his thoughts but like a well trained automaton had dressed himself, drank his morning health shake and was firmly seated behind the wheel of his jaguar.

Coming June 2015

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Power of Inheritance

Albert Einstein summed it up best, one sentence, 3 words. Everything is relative.  I think for the most part people in general don't really apply this to all aspects of human existence.  I'm not going to speak for the late father of physics but something tells me that if you had thought to ask, "Do you mean some things or everything?" he would've given you a knowing smile and replied "EVERYTHING".  Because of the nature of perspective and personal understanding, everything is relative to what your mind has assimilated.

This assimilation and understanding comes from the pattern your mind has developed for a certain sequence of events.  The synapses in our brains are like little roads and usually we take the same path to get to a place on that road.  This is the analogy usually given to describe Alzheimer’s.  The road that the patient is accustomed to using gets burned out and is no longer available. On our little brain roads sometimes we stop short and sometimes we move on.  Upon occasion we can't get to where we are trying to get to on our pre-existing road. When this happens we have to branch out and make a new one. When this pattern is broken and a new understanding comes into play, this is the process of learning.

The issue is that sometimes these roads aren't new roads at all.  We just built a short cut to get back to the road that we were already on.  But because of this feeling of being on a different road we have a tendency to believe that it is a different road just because we didn't get there the same way. Even though you may always go to that one stop on the road, somehow you have convinced yourself that it's a new stop and what feels like new information is actually stagnant ideas that you have gotten to in a new way.

We are pattern loving creatures and are hesitant to believe something that deviates from the set patterns. So when we are focused on one road without thought of how to get to this destination from every road, or better yet how to find a new destination, we will allow any circumstance to form the pattern we are so desperately seeking.  A self-fulfilling prophecy of getting exactly what you're after. A process that unwittingly justifies and reinforces those old familiar roads.  And in those situations humanity truly finds itself missing the forest because of the trees.

Gamer Camp
For this thought I will go to video games.  Video games are an interesting media and a distinctive subculture.  Like all things and subcultures video games speak their own language. Game designers and players have their own way of relating to each other.   In this world there are just gamers and none gamers.  There are the people who know where to go, how to play, and where to look when they need help.  They know the common tricks of game designers, and how to get past them to successfully finish these complex worlds and simulations. It is a culture because most outsiders have a hard time breaking into it because of the age of the culture.  Game players and designers have formed a symbiotic relationship.  As the games became easier to beat, the designers sought to make them harder.  As they sought to make them harder, the game players rose to the challenge.  Now new gamers have a wealth of catching up to do because the media has continued to feed itself by only interacting with an elite basis of individuals that have been involved with the process since day one. These gamers have advantages in game culture, language, technology, and experience.  These benefits will be passed on to anyone who is around them as they grow older in this gaming environment.

Game designers have a different experience than the players.  Game designers have constructed these worlds.  They know all of the ins and outs because they put them there by hand.  Either by themselves or by a group development committee, every nuisance of this game has been determined by a person; programmed, drawn, and interfaced to the best of that person's abilities with modern technology.  And if the technology doesn't exist for the plan, then game development teams have been known to create them.  Simple quick fix. If it doesn't exist, then now it shall.

Society and game design have a lot in common. Recently I was reading articles about the 1994 controversial book, The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life by the late Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray.  This book speaks on the concept of intelligence. The arguments for and against the claims of this work abound as the controversy of it has caused people to pick sides.  You have the one side that finds the work a crime against race relations and negotiations.  You have the other end that cries that just because the truth is ugly doesn't mean it's not the truth.  Frankly I think both sides are not actually looking at the forest because they are all too wrapped up in the trees.  Because if they did, I think they would see that technically both sides are right.

The game culture analogy was not just witty banter to make this writing more interesting.  It is a subsection of an idea that should be applied to the grand scheme of things to understand the nature of inequality as a much more holistic concern that isn't recent, but has been building since the beginning of formalized education. I don't know how many people understand the evolution of education.  In order to understand this one would need to pick up Plato's Republic and start from there.

Education was founded under a few assumptions; women, slaves and other less socially sophisticated people need not apply.  Education was a construction that was never intended for all.  So with this in mind, years and years were spent with certain sections of the population not being 'formally' educated.  And what is formal education you ask.  It is a construct of principles that the very people who declared that other populations should be exempt from learning created.  It was their game world.  And in this game they were the only ones allowed to know the rules and actually play the game.  So amongst themselves a new culture of 'educates' bred.

Let us fast forward to the United States of America and its founding fathers.  These were well bred, highly educated men.  For almost a century their family lines have benefitted from their exposure to education.  But not just any education, because all cultures have education, but the type of education that will one day be promoted as the only needful education in the world. An education that will take precedence over all other forms in the modern world. This education was revisited with a few exceptions; namely some women could now be educated in certain subjects.  However an entire core of native people and a displaced slave class would be not only denied this education, but relegated to being the ultimate victims of it as all rules and regulations operated on the statures set by this form of education.  Thus it became necessary to make sure that they never truly had an education lest they endeavor to use it to free themselves.

Black Monopoly
You accomplish this in several ways.  First you make their education illegal. Then you make the associations between them and the ones who are educated properly illegal. Finally you endeavor to convince them that even if they attained this education, their minds are not equipped to actually benefit from it.  This last damaging crippling blow is why things like the bell curve resurfaces every so often citing tests and data that tells the story of cultural and racial inequality.  The need to resurrect the ideas of inequality as an intelligence qualifier as opposed to a socialized one.  Or as I see it, oppressors attempting to justify their oppression.

Let's really look at this for a second while considering the gamer analogy I mentioned earlier.  Simple math is a game designer's specialty.  Now if you have spent 4 years playing a game, and not only just one game but every instance of this game. Wouldn't you be better at it than someone who has only played the same game for 2 years and not all versions of it?  While after 2 years your proficiency should be relatable, can they ever be the same?  Yes, if somehow the other player slacks off and you place double the amount of effort into learning this game while they are slacking off and creating a new learning curve. But this would only come from a consolidated effort of the other player slowing down and the new one being determined enough to catch up.  It happens but it's just like running a race.  Successfully balanced races start at equal footing with skill being the determinant and
definer of the winner.  It is nearly impossible to win a race, even if both cars are equal, if the other car is given a hundred meter head start.

Now let's apply this simple cause and effect to decades of education keeping in mind that legislation for equitable schooling had to continue throughout the 70s.  Education is not just book learning; like gaming, it is a community.  A set of guides, cheats, strategies, learned and applied paradigms that enable the gamer to get the most out of their experience. Education is a combination of teachers, schools, parents, students, and the resources available to them.  Frankly just based on the amount of resources alone at low income schools with high minority populations, the difference in the race shouldn't be as minimal as it is. I'm talking about school environments where students share one computer, a few have to group to have access to a textbook, are taught by teachers that did not achieve as highly on tests, and sometimes minimal to no community and parental support. Compare that to students who have well educated parents who influence them daily with their habits, a safe neighborhood to return to, abundant educational resources and the ability to attract high quality teachers. Tell me, what does this race look like?

Social Mobility Graph
How can racial intelligence be the cause of housing discrimination that forces even middle class minority families into low- income housing thus their children into low income schools? How can racial intelligence be the cause of work force discrimination that has only heightened since the implementation of affirmative action as the average man has convinced himself that unqualified minorities will take the good jobs even though hiring based on race is actually illegal and somehow minorities are not being hired in equitable amounts?

I don't believe that the writers of the bell curve acted maliciously.  I believe they acted rather foolishly because it is painfully apparent that in an attempt to discover new truths they merely took shortcuts that lead them back to the very thoughts that they claimed to be distancing themselves from.  I believe that in their heart of hearts they wanted to provide answers and to reaffirm what was once 'known' in a way that was more socially acceptable.  The horror of this is that I believe that they believed they were telling the absolute truth as they saw it and as science found it.  A truth that did not account for the different race starts and how the echoes of that will be felt decades from now.

Every game designer knows that if for some reason your game doesn't work, isn't balanced, or is unplayable the fault isn't with the intelligence of the player.  The fault is in the intelligence of your design.

Black Monopoly courtesy of:

Social Mobility Graph courtesy of:

Gamer Camp courtesy of