A Reaction to the “I’m Not Racist” Video

I posted the “I’m Not Racist” video yesterday on my Facebook page.  Knowing that many will find it offensive.  It was actually in brought to my attention from a person I worked with at the diversity center at school. The video uses the N word a lot from both a white and black man. It was made to make people feel uncomfortable but you must watch it all the way through in order to get the message that the person is getting at. I left the diversity center because I was hearing the N word being thrown around a lot and it disturbed me. But, it is not up to me or anyone else to tell someone what they can or can not say. It is only when we listen and wait till the person is done talking that we start to understand what they are saying. This is one of the hardest parts of living in America. We must listen to the other person and not try to formulate our responses to what they are saying while they are saying it, even if it is hard to hear. This is how we become better as Americans and as human beings. It is through being willing to put ourselves in uncomfortable situations that we learn and grow as people. Those who know me, know that I help to defend the rights of others especially the right to free speech which in my opinion is the most important of all our rights as Americans. This is why I feel we are having so many issues in our country no one is listening to each other. I have the same problem. I have a tendency to start thinking up a rebuttal without listening to what the other person is saying completely. I have also had it done to me as well. Most of us do not even realize that we are doing it, it is just a natural reactionary response that we have.  I have posted the video below.  Please watch it all the way through before passing judgement.

Minneapolis Institute of Art Floor 3 Part 2

Top right photo

Madonna Enthroned in Majesty with the Christ Child, Late 12 century

Marble

Top Left Photo

Virgin and Child, 14th century

Stone, Polychromed

Flanders

Large-Leaf Verdure Tapestry Fragment with Birds, 16th century

Wool, Silk Tapestry weave

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Circle of Gil de Siloe

Virgin of the Milk (Virgen de la leche), 1500

Poly Chromed Wood

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Signed Saomotome Iechika

Helmet, Early 17th century

Iron, Gold, Wood, Lacquer

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Giovanni Battista Caccini

Bust of Emperor Hadrian as a Young Man, 1590

Marble

Richard Stankiewicz

Untitled, 1954

Iron and Steel

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Ship Of Virtues, 1528-1540

Wool, Silk, Tapestry Weave

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Asa Ames

Portrait Bust, 1830-1845

Cherrywood

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Lucille Corcos

Macy’s Parade, 1942

Tempera on Masonite

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Henry Koerner

My Parent II, 1946

Oil on Masonite

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Andrew Wyeth

Christmas Morning, 1944

Egg Tempera on Gessoed Board

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Gaston Lachiase

Woman in a Chair, 1924

White Marble

Elie Nadelman

Draped Standing Woman Figure, 1907-1908

Plaster

Edgar Degas

Dancer Putting on Stockings, 19th Century

Bronze_MG_3831 (2)

Anders Zorn

The Girl from Alvdalen, 1911

Oil on Canvas

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Franz von Stuck

Portrait of Beethoven, 1902

Parcel Gilt and Polychromed Stucco

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Paul Signac

Blessing of the Tuna Fleet at Groix, 1923

Oil on Canvas

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Theodore Rousseau
Autumn at St. Jean de Paris, Forest of Fontainebleau, 1846

Oil on Canvas

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Aime-Jules Dalou

Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier (1743-1794), 1891

Bronze

Randolf Rogers

The Lost Pleiad, 1874 (modeled)

Marble

 

Minneapolis Institute of Art Floor 3 Part 1

William Edmondson

Ram“, 1938-1942

Limestone.

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Jean-Baptiste Auguste Clesinger

“Bacchante and Satyr”, 1869

Marble

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Antoine-Louis Barye

“Theseus Slaying the Centaur Bianor” ,1850 (Modeled cast, 1891)

Bronze, Caster: Ferdinand Barbedienne

Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse

“Pair of Torches”, 1862

Bronze, Gilt, Silver, Black Onyx, Red Marble

Henry Bannarn

“Cleota Collins”, 1932

Plaster, Pigment

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Jean Hanau

“Pueblo Indian Group”, 1928

Oil on Canvas

Harry Jackson

“Stampede”, 1958-1959

Bronze, Wyoming Jade Base

Wenzel Friedrich

“Platform Rocking Chair and Stool”, 1880-1890

Horn, Ivory and Glass with Ocelot Upholstery

Herman Atkins Macneil

“A Chief of the Maltnomah Tribe”, 1905

Bronze

“Writing Desk”, 1760

Wood, Paint, Gilt, Gilt Bronze

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Bertel Thorvaldsen

“Ganymede and the Eagle”, 1817-1829

Marble

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Nicolas de Largilliere

“Portrait of Catherine Coustard, Marquise of Castelnau, Wife of Charles Leonor Aubry with her Son Leonor”, 1699

Oil on Canvas

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After Gaspard Marcy

“Boris Abducting Orithyia”, 1700

Bronze (Reduction cast)

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Joseph Venache

“The Borghese Gladiator”, 1680-1685

Bronze

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Pierre-Phillippe Thomire

“Clock with Vestals”, 1790

Bronze, Gilt Bronze, enameled dial, Marble

Fernandi Tacca

“Satyr and Nymph”, 17th century

Bronze

Unidentified Designers and Cartoonists

“Waiting the Chase”, 1650

Wool, Silk, Tapestry Weave

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“Funeral Torch”, 1620

Gilded and Painted wood and wrought iron

Attributed to Jose Montes de Oca

“Saint Benedict of Palermo”, 1734

Polychrome and gilt wood, Glass

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Aaron Spangler

Songbird”, 2006

Carved bass wood, black gesso and graphite

Hans Schaufelein

“Roundel Set”, 1500

Stained Glass, Lead

 

What Type of Society Would You Like to Live in?

What type of society would you like to live in?  Collectivist or Individualistic?  This is a question we were asked in Pillars of Leadership program at school this week.  This is a very hard questions to be asked and takes a lot of thought as to not give people the wrong idea.  If you say you want to live in a collectivist society people in the states think China or the former USSR.  If you say Individualistic people think of America and the corporate plutocracy that runs it.  I would chose a combination of both a more socially individualistic and economically collectivistic society.

In America we have been traditionally a socially collectivist and economically individualistic society.  This means socially if you were different from the group you were labeled the outcast, different, freak, ect…  If you are are not white, Christian, hetrosexual you were the other and have historically been segregated against in one form or another.  Yet, if you raised have money, and power you were held in high regard even worshipped to some extent.  This paradigm has been hard for me to live in because I do not think the way I was taught to think.  I do not view wealth or power as a success factor.  I also see people as individuals and judge them on there actions not race, gender, sexual orientation, ect…  I view happiness and empathy as how successful a society is in the grand scheme of things.

I do not think that it is up to the government or corporation should  decide what you do as a career or job.  I feel we help people to reach their potential in the field they enjoy and are good at.  Yes, this is would not be a nice and ordered society but it plays to people’s strengths and move society in a more positive direction.  This allows people to find out who they are and what they are passionate about.  This also breeds a much happier society and less conflict.  I feel that when a society reaches a certain level of development that the government can not only help it’s people militarily but making sure that the basic necessities are taken care of like food, clothing, housing, ect… They would not get to chose these thing for them, but, helps people to afford these items making sure no one is left behind or falls through the cracks.  This way the economic schizm does not grow so great that a few people control the rest of the society against their will.

People will ask, “But, if we don’t have money to use as an incentive how can we motivate people to do the work?”  To them I answer ” There are many ways to motivate people like their passions. some people like helping others, some like to create things like art, science, or music..  Think of all the artists that have died in poverty, like Van Gogh, yet, after their deaths the pieces would have made them wealthy beyond their wildest dreams.  Think of people in the scientific realm like Nicola Tesla who died in poverty not to be respected till well after his death.”  How many minds have we wasted because of the greed of our society?  How many more will not have the opportunity because others think that because they are wealthy they are the best?  How many ideas will be stolen because of greed and pride?  These are questions I asked myself when people ask me “What type of society I want to live in?”

I feel we need a combination of both in our societies and no pure system will ever work in a world full of differences.

Peace and Love To all who read this and even those who don’t.

Love Vs. Hate

I wrote this poem after have a what at supposed to be a discussion but, devolved into that person insulting me and calling me names because I did not agree the them.

Hate Destroys the heart

Gives the person hated power over your feelings

Hate is easy and takes no real thought

Love heals the heart

Gives power power to those who love and those who are loved

Love is hard, it takes strength and encourages thought

Hate acts like a cancer

eating at your mind and body

Hate breeds more hate

Love cures all ailments

It fills the mind and body with hope

Love breeds more love

Why do we hate so much? Why can we not love more?

We should love the world

As we love ourselves

Spread the love to as many people as we can

This Semester

This has been the hardest semester for me yet. I have been procrastinating too much. In away I have been doing a great job of self sabotage. In a way I  think I do not deserve to get my A.A.  Though I have put in all of the time and work that I need to, maybe even more.  I am less than two months away from finally getting my A.A. in Liberal Arts.  Maybe it is because I fear the success it could bring.  I do not want to let things go to my head.  I like the way I am now in a personal sense, I worry that I will become arrogant because of the success.  As I am now and how I hope I will see myself in the future is that I am just a guy trying to do more for society and not just for myself.

The class I am doing the worst in right now is Spanish.  At this point I just want to pass the course.  That is the first time I have said that about any of my classes.  My history class I am a bit behind in but, I can make that up no problem.  I have liked all my social science teachers.  Hell, I have a crush on the teacher I had last semester for U.S. history 2.  The current history course I am taking is History of World Civilization 3.  And I have been looking forward to this class for awhile.  The reason for that is I want to try and understand what the more recent history of the middle east is like.  This way I can help to figure out a solution to some of the problems over there.

Human Geography is another good class I am taking and I am all caught up in.  I only have a presentation, a short essay on urbanization and the final left for that class.  My teacher for this class I had last semester for Physical Geography so I kind of knew what to expect from him.  Then I have my Career Exploration class which helped me to decide to change my Major from Social studies Education to a straight History major.  I am doing this because I do not want to have to narrow of a major and a History B.A. can open a whole lot of doors as I found out.

The last class is not really a class but a certificate program called Pillar of Leadership.  In this program we go over the different types of leadership but, focus more on the Social Change Model of Leadership.  This is a pretty cool program and is going to look good on my resume.  Though the main reason I am taking this is because I do want to help change the way things are in this world, for the better.

I guess for me now it is crunch time.  I need to make sure I pass all my classes and by February I will have my A. A. degree in my hands.  Now I just have to find another job because the job I am currently working at is the student store on the Work Study Program.  So, I really do want to start looking for jobs and internships in my field of study.

Crying Spells

It sucks living with depression.  Not only do I sometimes have issues just finding reasons to get up in the morning.  I also have times where I can not stop crying.  This one I am in now has been going on since I gave my speech on Thursday.  I can stop for a while but then it starts back up again.  It doesn’t matter if I am sad, happy, hopeful or cynical I cry for it all it seems.

This past year has been herd for me.  I have been losing focus and not keeping up with my homework.  I think knowing this is my last semester at Normandale Community College has this affected me.  I have been comfortable there for the most part, though I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone more since I have been there.  I love the teachers and faculty there.  They have been really supportive and caring.   Hell, I am 41 I knew this was coming.  I just didn’t think it would come this soon.  These past 2 1/2 years have gone by so quickly.

I guess I might fear change a bit but, I know that is how life is and how we grow as people.  I guess I have just gotten so comfortable that it is really hard to do.  Especially, since I have not had a place where I felt I belonged so long before I came to school.

For the twelve years prior to me heading to school I bounced around a lot about 30 time in that time period.  I have had many jobs, 2 hernia surgeries, married, divorced, and lost my grandfather.  Though we had only met when I was 20 because, of my mom not thinking it was important for me to know them until that time.  She never even told me about them till I was 20 and I had not asked about them just my Biological father.  I remember one time when I was like 15 years old, when I got into it with my dad (the man who raised me) we almost came to blows.  My mom showed me a letter that bio-father had written me.  He told me he loved me and all that jazz in the letter.  To tell you the truth I don’t remember much of what it said because I was stuck in my own little world, after the fight.  I don’t know why my mom didn’t tell me about my grandparents then.  This to me seems like it would have been the best time to do so.  But, she waited.

It was always nice talking to my grandfather.  We could talk about anything it felt like.  We talked about our lives, politics, religion, ect… I always felt comfortable talking about these topics with him.  Not like now where I sometimes feel my head and ears burning when I talk about them with other members of my family or friends for that matter.  I never felt judged by him or my grandmother.

It is time now again to start feeling uncomfortable and push myself to do better.  Not just for me but for the world as a whole.  This is my philosophy of life “I want to make myself better in order to better help the world.”  I know this sounds Idealistic but that how I see things.  Do I think I am better than anyone else? Hell, No!  Do I think we are all the same? Once again, Hell, No. We are only the same as it pertains to us being human.  We are all a part of the same family in a sense .  We all have different talents and skills, this is why we are not all the same and why none of us is better than another, at least in my perspective.  There’s only one exception to me thinking I am not better than a person and that is if they see violence as the only solution.  Even then I think some those people can change their thinking.

We all have the potential to be both good or bad or fall somewhere on the spectrum.  We can all learn from one another if we are willing to put ourselves out there.  We can find inspiration anywhere and everywhere in life.  It is sometimes comes from the most unexpected places.  Look at me I am an Atheist but, I was inspired to go back to school by a young Muslim woman named Malala.  Her courage to stand up to the Taliban gave me hope for the future.  The fact that she is still pushing for Girls to have the right to an education even after she was shot, amazes me.  I just hope and wish I have the same amount of courage she has.

The Speech

Today I gave my first speech to a group of people not in a classroom.  I was terrified about giving this speech.  It didn’t help any that I woke up late and had to rush either.  When I got to school I took smoke before I headed in, I still had a couple of minutes left before things got started.  I get down to the garden room where they are holding the Normandale Retiree’s Luncheon.  I had gotten a scholarship from their foundation and I was asked to speak to the donors.  I checked in and went to speak to Jane who had helped me work on the speech I was giving.  I asked “If she had added the photographs for the end of my speech.”  She told me she did, that took a little stress off me but not much.

I thanked her and she introduced me to her boss.  Then they encouraged me to do some hobnobbing with some of the people.  I hate these types of situations where I know next to no one in the room.  I am not normally the type of person that can just start up conversations.  I was happy to see two of my bosses there that gave a bit more confidence.  I talked with Chris and Amy for a couple of minutes then proceeded to seat myself.  The people at my table were decent people, they asked me a few questions about my experiences and I chimed in where I felt it was appropriate.  This did calm me a bit more but I was still so nervous I couldn’t even eat.  The first speaker went up it was the President of Normandale Dr. Joyce Ester, then came Colleen Simpson the Executive Director of the Normandale Foundation.  The Jane came up and introduced the first Speaker Na.  I though her speech was very well put together.  She did not seem to stumble or fall, not that I would wish that on anybody.

Then Jane went up to the podium again and introduced me.  My stomach was in knots, I so wanted to run for the door as I was heading for the podium.  I get up their and I start of fine a couple of hiccups but nothing to bad until I got to the part that inspired me to go back to school.

About 3 ½ years ago I saw a story that changed the way I look at life.  I saw The story of Malala Yousefzia a young woman who spoke out against the Taliban in Pakistan, so that young women can have the right to an education.  She was also shot for her courageous act.   This young woman’s story made me ask myself what have I done with my life.  This young woman has risked her life for a cause that is noble.  What cause would I risk my life for?  I wanted to help other people understand other cultures in order to breed a sense of peace in this country and around the world.  I went to the VA not knowing If I was qualified for any benefits and found out that my depression was partially service related.  So. I was able to get the psychological help I needed.  I was part of group and individual counseling.

I started to cry.

I am not sure why it was that telling this story brought me to tears.  I have told it so many times before.  Maybe it was drudging through my past before this story, then going in to the story, or maybe it was because of how nervous I was, or maybe my depression went onto overdrive for a couple of minutes that set me off.   What ever it was I was able to get a hold of my emotions and finish the paragraph.  I then went in to my accomplishments since I have been at Normandale.  I was also able to crack a couple of jokes near the end about how if they looked around the school they would probably see my picture in a few.  Though I had longer and brightly colored hair, then let them know I like to die my hair when I have it, while rubbing my bald head.  I finished my speech by sharing a few of my favorite Photos I have taken.

These were from the March for Science:

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These are from the Minnesota River Valley Wild Life Refuge:

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I was the last speaker of the day.  Everyone told me I did well, though it did not feel like that to me.  It was because of my minor breakdown that I did not feel it went well.  One person told me the first time they gave a speech they ended up vomiting.  That made me feel just a little bit better,  We then proceeded to take photos with the group.

This was definitely an experience I will not forget.  Yes it had its ups and downs, but I am still glad I got myself out of my comfort zone.  My Psychologist will be happy to hear that tomorrow.

People Who Hate

Last week I was out in the smoking area at school, we were having a lively discussion about whether it is appropriate to hit someone if they do a NAZI salute or use racial slurs.   There were a couple of people who said “If they saw someone doing the NAZI salute and saying ‘sieg heil’ or ‘blood and soil’ they would clock them.”   I was trying to explain to them, that if you do through the first punch, you make yourself and others who also find bigotry offensive look almost as bad as the people you are standing up against.  You fan the flames of hatred and it becomes a powerful force against a positive movement.

I know that some might think this attitude is naive or even cowardly.  To me it takes a lot of strength to hold back that anger, when I hear stuff like that, not to just clock the person.  I severely dislike bigotry  and hatred, but I know the moment I give in to my feeling of disgust, I give them power over me.  They want people who think like me to resort to violence to prove their point.  It is like in “Batman The Dark Knight Returns” when the Joker is trying to get Batman to commit murder to bring him down to the Joker’s level.  In this analogy of course the Joker is ultra violent and murderous, where as in the scenario I stated in the first paragraph using speech as a way to bring us down to their level.  Unless the other person who is saying the vial and nasty things actually physically assaults me, I will not lift a finger to harm them physically.

See in the battle of ideas, this is a battle of words and of the mind.  Those with the best ideas will rise to the top as long as they do not resort to violence.  I will argue all day with a racist and try to show them the error of their thinking.  Let’s be honest if i had to argue all day about the subject with that person, there is likely nothing I or anyone would say that could change their mind.  Just like I could not convince this other person that kicking the crap out of a bigot is not the best way to trying to change their mind.  I had help trying to convince the person too about 6 others tried to convince him as well.   Some people just can not be reasoned with.

This is the same issue on a much larger scale that we have had with extremist in the Middle East.  The U.S. has been trying to force our beliefs through violence and regime change.  If we want to bring the region into the 21st century we are going to have to change our approach to the situation.  First off STOP SELLING WEAPONS PERIOD, TO OTHER COUNTRIES!  Second pull all our troops out of the region making sure we collect all the weapons we have brought over there.  Third close down Guantanamo bay and make that if we try anyone there that it is done fairly and due diligence.  For those we release we should try and help make sure that those people are taken care of, if they are innocent, they have been held there for a long time without trial and they deserve some sort of compensation.  Four gradually as the tensions start to die down try and get food and medical supplies to the civilians.  Though it will take a long time to earn the trust of the people in the region.  This would be just the beginning of the healing process.

In order for us to have a lasting peace on this planet we must rise against the violence.  We can not defeat an idea with violence it only strengthens their position eyes of those who would follow them.  As I said before and I will say it again the only way to defeat an idea is with a better one.  If you have to resort to violence to support your idea it probably is not worth a damn.