UCLA and Affirmative Action

First off, I don’t necessarily agree that it is UCLA’s job to make up for any sort of racial divide and give someone preferential treatment because of their race. But, lets put that aside, you mentioned that you used to believe if Affirmative Action is to exist, it should be based off of income as opposed to gender, or skin color. And I agree with this, but if we are to look at the graduation of black males (from High School) in Maine, we’ll see the rate is 97% (actually higher than white males) whereas in California, it is around 50%. Are the discrepancies in these numbers due to economic reasons? I’d certainly think so. Now, at the same time, do you believe an upper class Black male from Maine should get a place at UCLA as opposed to a middle class white from a good neighborhood in California? Simply because of his skin color? I’m guessing no, and that’s the reason why I think affirmative action is terribly inefficient. It doesn’t see economic circumstances at all, it just sees skin color, and gender.

Now, lets take the analogy even further since Affirmative Action is designed to also reward women and give them a hand up as opposed to their male counterparts. Should a black female be given a spot at UCLA over a black male? Or does the fact that black women are much more likely to go to university negate this fact? And at what time do these types of social experiments become unfair. UCLA has a disproportionately high population of Asian students, should it be harder for an asian student to get into University as opposed to a black male?

If we are to believe the articles, then we would see that without preferential treatment, black students wouldn’t get accepted at the same rates they are today, and we also know that those accepted are not accepted based upon economic factors but rather if they are female, or a minority. But of course the schools wouldn’t state this, they would rather talk about the “diversity of their student body”, which is really just a band aid on a larger problem. The problem with black students getting into UCLA probably has more to do with the fact that High Schools also graduate at abysmal rates in CA.

Gentrification vs White Flight

The racism in the flier aside, gentrification is an issue which is often quite convoluted. The larger question is how did these communities become predominantly black/latino (minorities) in the first place? And if we are to look at this it is generally because the white populations left in the 60s as violence was increasing, and they moved to the suburbs. Ironically, generally those who criticize gentrification, also criticize the white flight which happened previously. So the whites were criticized for moving out, and they’re also criticized for moving back.

But, that’s not to say that gentrification doesn’t hurt a large part of the black community, of course it does displace people, raise the rents of neighborhoods, and changes the face of the streets. So if we are to look at the issue honestly we can see that it is an issue of race, but only because race and poverty are closely linked in the US. If you want to solve displacement of families due to gentrification, then the issue should be attacked at the root, which is poverty. Saying that it is only white people moving in, or gentrification is a bit of a cop out. Everyone knows that private property owners have the right to raise the rents on their spaces, and desire to make a profit. They have no responsibility to keep the cultural aspects of a community in place. So if we want to keep these families there then that should begin by providing them with a living wage.

Gentrification vs White Flight

The racism in the flier aside, gentrification is an issue which is often quite convoluted. The larger question is how did these communities become predominantly black/latino (minorities) in the first place? And if we are to look at this it is generally because the white populations left in the 60s as violence was increasing, and they moved to the suburbs. Ironically, generally those who criticize gentrification, also criticize the white flight which happened previously. So the whites were criticized for moving out, and they’re also criticized for moving back.

But, that’s not to say that gentrification doesn’t hurt a large part of the black community, of course it does displace people, raise the rents of neighborhoods, and changes the face of the streets. So if we are to look at the issue honestly we can see that it is an issue of race, but only because race and poverty are closely linked in the US. If you want to solve displacement of families due to gentrification, then the issue should be attacked at the root, which is poverty. Saying that it is only white people moving in, or gentrification is a bit of a cop out. Everyone knows that private property owners have the right to raise the rents on their spaces, and desire to make a profit. They have no responsibility to keep the cultural aspects of a community in place. So if we want to keep these families there then that should begin by providing them with a living wage.

Why don’t people shop online on Black Friday?

I’m surprised nobody I’ve seen has responded with this yet, but the reason for the mania is fairly simple. And it has nothing to do with sales (as amazon and all the rest have online sales as well) . It has to do with feeling alive. You know when you see videos of people destroying their cities, because they love their city so much, and their sports team won? Pretty much the same thing. It doesn’t make sense rationally, but is more of a display of a lack of connection to ones surroundings, and a detachment from the world around them. These people want to feel alive, and for them, getting an Xbox for 20 dollars less does it for them. The same reason why gamblers will spend 10,000 dollars to feel good when they hit the 5,000 dollar jackpot. It doesn’t make sense, but is a sign of a bigger absence which needs to be filled in a lot of people’s lives. This is the same reason why otherwise “normal” people get swept up in riots. They’re fun.

Why should gay conversion therapy be made illegal?

There isn’t really a freedom to medical advice in the same way that there is freedom to attend an AntiVax moron give a speech, or hold any other type of idiotic belief. This is one reason why doctors have to be held accountable for their diagnosis, and pay millions for malpractice insurance. Conversion therapy can continue to exist, it just can’t call itself a viable medical option. So Michelle Bachmann’s husband can continue to talk to young boys about their desire to get it in the butt, but his “clinic” can no longer claim to actually be dispensing any sort of medical diagnosis. I’d say it’s more similar to the AntiVax doctor who had his medical license taken away when he forged research to show a link between autism and Vaccines as opposed to some sort of free speech issue. In this (ex)doctors case he continued to speak freely about his belief that the MMR vaccine causes autism, he just has to write books about it instead of working within a medical profession.

I’d say that this is a good thing. I imagine in the years to come, as more of the human genome is mapped and understood, that the obvious will soon be proven by science, and SURPRISE we’ll find out that certain people are born as gay or straight and it wasn’t because satan infested their body with demonic possession. In 30 years people like Bachmann’s husband will look like complete lunatics.

Republicans Return to Normalcy

Well, from a PR perspective you’d want to frame the talking point more along the lines of “Financial Freedom” as opposed to “Return to Normalcy” which kind of implies that they’ve all gone insane.

But I get what you’re saying, and certainly there is a big stupid part of the GOP which consists of the Bachmann’s and other nutjobs who make the party less appealing to sensible financial conservatives. One interesting aspect of this is that this obsession with social issues is actually quite new. Stemming from the alliance of Fallwell and Reagan in the creation of the Moral Majority in the 80s which made the GOP relevant again and tightly linked with fundamentalist Christianity. The GOP can essentially campaign all year long in the churches across the country while the Dems don’t have this sort of connection to their base. So for the GOP they are a very hard demographic to give up. I think that as the older conservatives die out (sorry, but it’s true) there will be a more natural shift towards progressive stances on social issues, and in 50 years they’ll look like the equivalent of those who supported Negroes drinking at separate fountains. Their America will be gone. Thankfully.

What was something you never told your mom and dad about as a kid?

We used to go over to my friends house and box after school (5th to 6th grade) one day we got into the mom’s liquor cabinet. We all got trashed and then decided to start a shot of everclear on fire. For some reason we were walking the shot glass on fire though the living room and it fell onto the carpet and started it on fire. So we put the fire out with a bunch of water. We (including the kid who lived there) all ran from the house. It didn’t start on fire. But my friend (whom he thought his mother would kill him for burning a hole in the carpet) ended up stowing away on a freight train and was found the next day about 180 miles away. It was in the paper, and the police were calling all of our houses, and we all lied, saying we had no idea what happened (I know. bad. but we were like 11). He never said a word about any of us being involved. Took the fall all himself. Was strange being involved in such a huge secret at that age.

Is it better to be arrested for Civil Disobedience?

“Don’t expect help, so don’t get caught”, is also an age old form of civil disobedience where the one who is breaking the law knows the futility of fighting the system up front. So instead of being destroyed (even though the US finally did state they wouldn’t seek the death penalty against Snowden) the perpetrator can live to fight another day.

We have Bradley Manning as an example of what happens when you release footage of a helicopter pilot blowing a TV camera man to bits and laughing about it.

Bradley Manning made the incident public (A war crime) and got 35 years in jail.

The gunman? 0

What bias is most dangerous in the media?

I think the most obvious would be a bias towards Big Business, especially any article which could be critical of the sponsors of a certain show/newspapers.

As far as all of the media generally supporting America’s ongoing wars around the world I think this quote sums it up.

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum….”

― Noam Chomsky, The Common Good

What did Occupy Wall Street achieve?

I said it while it was happening, and I’ll say it again. The most valuable thing that occupy created was a network of individuals interested in action. These networks generally cost a shitload of money to compile, and believe it or not, Occupy was actually the largest coordinated global protest. Ever. Sure, they were unorganized, absolutely they were idealistic, and of course many of their goals were unattainable, but the truly amazing thing was that they did this with no money. So while I think the guys near me (I did attend some Occupy events) playing in their drum circle, and griping about veganism and its relationship to American Imperialism were annoying fucks. I’m also amazed at how quickly so many want to discredit what actually was created for a few weeks. And that was a global network interested in getting in the streets and engaging in direct action. I think if anything Occupy is a good example of how much we take for granted now that social media has consumed so many of our lives. Complaining about Occupy is kind of like complaining about not having wifi in an airplane.