An African American Jamaican Explication of London by William Blake

Published November 28, 2015 by lorijss

An African Jamaican Explication of London by William Blake

Cities are notorious for insinuating dark and dreary emotions from internal corruption and oppression. London by William Blake paints a dark portrait of London as a city in desolation. Even though he may be writing about the environment at present, the depressing imagery of the poem can be applied to not only London but just about any corrupt city in the world. Not only is this poem a depiction of his time in London but a premonition of what’s to come. Repetition and juxtaposition are the most powerful devices that Blake uses as through this he is able to paint that haunting and sorrowful picture of gloom in every stanza. This in turn adds to the poem’s universality towards human suffering.
Repetition is at its strongest when he is repeating not necessarily words but dark emotions:
In every cry of every man
In every Infant’s cry of fear
In every voice, in every ban
The mind-forg’d manacles I hear: (5-8)
Here Blake is emphasizing the intricate reasons for every expression of grief. I think the repetition of ending sounds in words at the end of each line such as “Man” and” ban,” “fear” and “hear” represents the crying calls to be heard or for social consciousness.. “The mind-forged manacles I hear,” is him simply stressing the oppression that stems from political, economic and religious corruption. This line we see its universal application, it’s as if Blake is urging one to break free from the shackles of slavery, obviously in this case it would mean mental slavery. The speaker hearing these “mind-forged manacles” ears are tuned to the clanking of the chains tied to each person’s foot as they walk under the captivity that elicit their cries.
The description of these appalling conditions allows flexibility in interpretation. When he states “how the Chimney sweeper’s cry,” one can even imply that this sound of a cry is enough to seep into one’s soul; so this is more than hearing. “Every blackening church appalls” is stating that the conditions that the people are under while cleaning chimneys tells us that the church is allowing people to work under these appalling conditions by not being proactive about it at the time Blake is writing the poem. Here he is highlighting religious corruption or hypocrisy. There is a premonition of death because the chimney smoke can get into your lungs, thereby shortening your lifespan through respiratory diseases. This could mean that the smoke from the chimney is “blackening” the skins of the fair-skinned child workers. We see the juxtaposition here, “blackening” could symbolize the moral decay of the church. It could also mean that the skin of fair-skinned workers are “blackening;” they are now toiling like the enslaved Africans, including children, in the British colonies. Except now the conditions are a result of the Industrial Revolution. I think the word “blackening” in this poem leaves room for that sort of racial interpretation.
The last stanza serves as a reminder as to what it’s like walking the streets of a gloomy London all day. Then what that boils down to as the day nears its end. The dark tone seems to have been building up from bad to worse. When a reader subconsciously ties blackening from previous stanza with “midnight” from last stanza, there is another juxtaposition. Day fades into midnight as if to say day is “blackening.” What makes this very effective is what he describes after the scene is set –prostitution. This “blasts the new-born Infant’s tear,” could mean new born babies are born blind because of a parent’s venereal disease (Baym et al). It may mean that the prostitution doesn’t make the person fit to be a parent and so when the child is growing up he or she shed “tears” as a retaliation to their parent’s unfit parenting. Some might not know who the father of the child is given that history of prostitution. The missing parent causes an infant to cry as they suffer more without two parents. The line “Plagues the Marriage hearse” tells the apparent undermining of the sanctity of marriage. Married people engaging in prostitution as a way to make ends meet shows the deep rooted social issues Blake is letting his readers become aware of.
The strength of this poem lies it’s effective use of repetition of the word cry, and allowing the word “blackening” to be interpreted through different lenses. Its application goes far beyond just London, it is universal and represents that common human experience of suffering. Perhaps the repetition is Blake’s way of telling readers that the conditions described, repeats itself in the present day by day but that this will become the very history that will repeat itself in years to come. The speaker’s repetition of dreary emotions is a catalyst for change. Granted the cries doesn’t fall on deaf “unempathetic” ears, social awareness leads to social change. This may be what the speaker was trying to imply by ending the poem on such a gloomy note that these conditions, if we don’t nip it in the bud, will become a catastrophe.
Works Cited
Blake, William. “London.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature. 9th ed. Vol. D. New York: W.W. Norton, 2013. 132-33. Print.

Baym, Nina, and Robert S. Levine. “London.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature. 9th ed. Vol. D. New York: W.W. Norton, 2013. 132-33. Print.



Christian elements in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Second Shepherds’ play

Published November 28, 2015 by lorijss

Christian elements in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Second Shepherds’ play

In “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,” Christ is an overarching figure. We see this in Gawain’s faith when setting out to complete the deathly obligations he has made with the Green knight. Like Christ who knew of his own death following his pact with God. Gawain is tested on his chastity, when the keeper of the castle’s mistress tries to kiss him. It is through these temptations that one sees his reoccurring Christian belief that triggers his smooth evasion of the mistress’ seduction. Again, comparable to Christ who resisted the Devil’s temptations. Likewise in The Second Shepherds’ play, the theme of Christianity is expressed through the shepherds’ forgiveness in difficult times, ultimately foreshadowing the birth of a savior.
Gawain is firm about his faith in Christianity. His “faith was founded in the five wounds Christ received on the cross (199).” On Gawain´s armor, the star or pentangle represents the five joys of Mary, Annunciation, Nativity, Resurrection, Ascension, and Assumption. The conduct of the knights are modeled on the five joys of Mary, “friendship, fraternity, purity, politeness, and pity (199).” So Gawain’s armor is definitely a symbolic rendition of Christ on the cross. It reminds him of how to behave as a knight and that motivates him. When he is going through the mountainside and forests he constantly prays to God and says, “Be near me, in my need (202).” In this way he is asking the Lord to watch and protect him from the very harm he is expecting.
It is through the prior imperfections of Biblical figures that allows one to see Christ’s perfection. After finding out that Lady Bastilak seducing him was but an orchestration to test him, he says, “But no wonder if a fool finds his way into folly and be wiped of his wits by womanly guile (235).” Displeased with himself, he goes on to say that Adam fell because of a woman, that King Solomon had too many wives and so forth. Then finally, that David was fooled by Bathsheba and paid the price with sorrow. He references the imperfections of the men in the bible as if saying that a woman has inherent seduction capabilities that men, as a result, cannot control themselves towards. Still Christ was not mentioned directly but remains the overarching but invisible figure in this instance because he is a symbol of perfection. In this case, Gawain thinks his mistake were as bad as these men of the bible which harkens his Christian faith. His efforts of striving for the perfection of Christ is thwarted for the moment.
In The Second Shepherds’ Play, there is an overarching theme of Christ’s forgiving nature sprinkled throughout. The first sign of this is when the well-known sheep thief Gib, through self-pity, arouses the sympathy of the three Shepherds who let their guard down, befriends him and let him sleep amongst them only to wake up and find one of their sheep missing. When they come to the house of Gib and his wife Mak, the sheep was wrapped up in a blanket as a baby to deceive them. Again this arouses sympathy in the Shepherds. When the truth was revealed, the Shepherds give Gib a third chance when they decide to punish him slightly. Since the punishment for stealing sheep is to be hanged. This is not only because Mak and Gib have children to take care of but because the shepherds are good and humble, reminiscent of Christ. It is this that gave them the opportunity to witness the birth of Christ.
We see through the faith of the characters that Christ is the overarching figure in both tales. The Shepherds’ actions are symbolic of Christ’s forthcoming purpose on earth. Like Christ the three shepherds give people like Gib a lot of chances after they have known them to do wrong. Christ takes this a lot further through his repeated goodwill and acts of forgiveness, and through death on the cross saying, “Forgive them please for they know not what they’ve done.” His resurrection continues that embodiment of forgiveness in Christian faith. In the end, it can be presumed that Christ did protect Gawain as the Green Knight only nicked his neck instead of beheading him. The characters’ hardships and shortcomings are counteracted through either lessons learnt or a happy ending.
Works cited
Greenblatt, Stephen. The Norton Anthology English Literature. 8th ed. Vol. 1. New York: Norton, 2012. 186-238. Print.
“Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.” Greenblatt 186-238.
“Wakefield Second Shepherds’ Play.” Greenblatt 450-476.

Wife “pimping” in the Franklin’s Tale

Published November 23, 2015 by lorijss

Wife “Pimping” in the Franklin’s Tale?

“I have an old saying framed in my office. It goes like this, ‘If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, it never was.’ That’s how I feel about a marriage partner, “is one of the numerous variations of this anonymous quote that applies to the Franklin’s tale, specifically to Averagus behavior. Hardly any critics of “The Franklin Tale” comment on what might’ve been the true underlying reason for Averagus sending his wife off to the squire and if they do it is usually through negative lens. What if Averagus may not actually be giving up his wife to Aurelius, but acting on the faith that Aurelius would do the right thing as a knight-in-the-making; and that is to return Averagus´ wife to him. Was he doing a favor to society by helping to prepare future knights for knighthood? If Aurelius returns this act of generosity is this a stepping stone for knighthood? Most critics take Averagus’ action at face value and assume that he wasn’t wise or did not have any common sense. However, when he says to Dorigen — just before setting her free, that maybe everything will turn out okay; he wasn’t gambling or rolling dice, he was allowing things to unfold through faith in untainted love. He loved Dorigen enough that he wanted to let her go, to free her from the bondage of a reason to stay with him and from any of his patriarchal influence. He knows about the latter because he is freeing her from him, knowing that that influence may be upon her wanting to stay with him.
When the Franklin asked, “ which was the most free, as thinkest yow?(1622)” One can argue that Averagus was the most generous if “free” means to be generous and Dorigen was the most “free” in the literal sense of the word. Dorigen makes a promise to Aurelius, the squire that if he could make the rocks disappear she would commit adultery on her husband – is this a premonition of her becoming “free” from reasons to be with her husband? When Averagus sends his wife off to another man wrapped, with a ribbon on her — a gift, this can be seen as an act of generosity. What if Averagus may not actually be giving up his wife to Aurelius, but acting on faith in true love? And to a lesser extent, the faith that Aurelius would do the right thing as an aspiring knight; and that is to return Averagus´ wife to him. Other critics such as Thormann, assert that Averagus “pimps” his wife. Whereas McGregor argues along similar lines that Averagus does not understand his wife, for what she wanted was different than the words that left her mouth. Also  it was this misunderstanding that enabled him to insist she keep her vow. These critics see Averagus’ behavior through negative lens by taking his action at face-value, thereby assuming that he was foolish. The one critic showcasing a neutral perspective is Greene. She says that virtuousness leads to happiness, and that the happy couple must enlist virtuousness in all aspects of their lives, especially in the face of adversity. In this way that very virtuousness almost always assures happiness in an imperfect world. Dorigen and Averagus were virtuous people who did the best they could do in the circumstances they’ve been given and their actions have underlying implications.  Averagus is not simply giving up his wife to Aurelius, but acting on the faith that Dorigen’s true feelings for him would affect the outcomes. Lastly, that Aurelius would do the right thing and that is to mimic Averagus’ generosity by returning his wife to him. Dorigen, on the other hand, was simply reacting to the absence of her husband. Aurelius was behaving typical of a squire, and it is behaviors such as what Averagus does that ultimately but indirectly prepares Aurelius for knighthood. When he hearkens unto Dorigen’s feelings and relinquish’s her from her vow, he is essentially learning how to make sound decisions as a knight.
Thormann interprets Aurelius’ action at face value in that he literally hands his wife over to another man. She argues that Aurelius’ willingness to send his wife off to another man is completely against what is expected of a Christian marriage, that his belief that everything works out well does not eliminate the implication that Aurelius is acting like a “pimp.” I am refuting this and arguing instead that it actually does eliminate Aurelius’ supposed pimping, and shows that there are underlying reasons for his action. When Averagus  states that, “It may be wel, paraventure” (1473), he is actually suggesting two things. One, that he expects that Aurelius would make the right decision, and that is breaking her out of her vow with him and returning her to her husband. This decision would be based on reading Dorigen’s facial expressions and sensing that she actually wants to be with her husband and not Aurelius. Two, that Aurelius as a future-knight would imitate the generosity of Averagus who is already a knight. My main argument in refuting her claim is that if Averagus was simply handing over his wife to the squire, he would not have said, “perhaps all will be well” or have any form of faith. Because if Averagus was pimping his wife over to another man, it is already apparent that all cannot possibly turn out well.
McGreger also interprets Averagus’ actions at face-value and through negative lens. She argues that Averagus ignores Dorigen’s “intent.” Even while acknowledging other critics’ argument that Averagus is actually respecting Dorigen’s will, she refutes this and states that he does not separate her “words” from her “intent.” He also views her “words,” that is, the promise that she made to Aurelius, as more important than her intent — which was to make sure Aurelius never got access to her body. She brought up that if he makes all the rocks disappear, “Ye remoeve alle the rokkes, stoon by stoon…/I seye when ye han maad the coost so clene/Of rokkes, that ther nis no stoon y-sene—”(993-996). She thought that it would be impossible for Aurelius to ever succeed in having all the rocks disappear and felt free to make this promise. While McGregor doesn’t explicitly conclude that it is him ignoring Dorigen’s “intent” that enabled him to insist that Dorigen keep her promise to the squire, it can be implied. Essentially McGregor would agree with Thormann, that Averagus is pimping his own wife because he doesn’t understand her and is “ignoring her sense of who she is” (372).
Here I will examine Dorigen’s “intent” and Averagus’ likely interpretation of it. Averagus’ reaction tells us that “intent” verses “words” is in itself a contradiction. If Dorigen’s intent was to make sure the squire never got access to her body, then she has failed in that regard since this promise actually only opened up the possibility of Aurelius having access to her body. Therefore this “intent” should have either elicited a different set of words leaving her mouth or no words such as that, spoken. Frankly, Dorigen saying, “I wol ben his to whom that I am knit/ Take this for final answere as of me” (986-987), would have sufficed in making sure that she was hands-off to Aurelius. “What deyntee sholde a man han in his lyf/ For to go love another mannes wyf,/ That hath hir body whan so that him lyketh?” (1003-1005) would have also sufficed. If these were all that Dorigen said, it would have sent a point-blank signal to Aurelius that he did not stand a chance. Aurelius may not want any contradiction in his interpretation of the supposed love that Dorigen has for him. I am therefore refuting McGregor’s assertion and arguing that Averagus sees Dorigen’s “intent” and “words” as the same thing, there is no contradiction. He does value her sense of who she is since that would include taking her words seriously, insofar as it involves vows and promises since that was what their own marriage was resting on. McGregor also defines “entente” in “the Franklin’s Tale” as being “linked to that of the heart or mind…it is fundamental to how people view themselves” (369). Her “intent” should’ve been strong enough to affect her “words.” Her heart and mind would have loved Aurelius enough to affect the words that left her mouth. Especially when she says to the squire, “Thanne wol I love yow best of any man.” This is most likely the part that makes Averagus undermines his own title as husband and she doesn’t just stop there, she continues to tell Aurelius, “Have heer my trouthe, in al that evere I can” (997-998), then there lies the contradiction, that was what did it for him. Averagus, as a result, is under the supposition that if she makes a vow to another man and she doesn’t keep it, she will not keep the vow she made with him, her own husband, either. Dorigen’s vow to another makes Averagus reevaluate his “husbandry.” In the beginning, Dorigen made a vow to her husband that she will be a faithful and true wife. “Sire,” Dorigen says to Averagus, “I wol be youre humble trewe wife: have heer my trouthe, til thay myn herte breste” (769-760). Averagus’ husbandry or title of husband then, is but a vow Dorigen made to him. In other words, within the context of the tale, he is a husband only in as far as Dorigen is faithful to him. Averagus then, doesn’t see himself as different from Aurelius except that he wooed Dorigen and became a knight both before Aurelius. Averagus has accepted that his husband title has become fleeting. I think I can safely deduct that he is now testing the authenticity of his wife’s feeling for him by letting her keep her word to Aurelius. Would she have made that vow to Aurelius if she truly loved Averagus? Averagus is taking this seriously and seems to believe that she would not have even let those words slip from her mouth.
Let us examine the reason Dorigen made such a promise to Aurelius. Thormann argues that Dorigen does not fulfill her end of the bargain, her desire and not the terms of the marriage contract is what causes the problem. When Averagus leaves to go to war, he leaves his marriage in jeopardy. Thormann believes that Averagus chose to go to war and leave Dorigen. I disagree, I believe that he had an obligation to his countrymen and had little choice extending beyond social pressure. He had to keep his knightly status both up to par and to date—street credibility. It is Averagus’ absence that arouses Dorigen’s desire for a husband-replacement. This “frustrated” desire is turned onto Aurelius, the first male that comes her way to supposedly offer himself up on a silver platter as this replacement. It is this displaced desire that enabled Dorigen to make such a promise to Aurelius. When Averagus cries on the verge of relinquishing his wife to another, he does this out of fear that Dorigen’s feelings for him were not authentic. “Trouthe is the hyeste thing that man may keep/ But with that word he brast anon to wepe” (1479-1480), means that Averagus believes that a vow such as the one Dorigen made to him in the beginning, is the most prized thing a man can possess in his life. He might’ve only said “trouthe” because having returned from war he is still in a mentality of chivalric knighthood but to Dorigen he actually means marriage vows. Then he begins to cry for the pain of the possibility that Dorigen’s vow was not true. These tears could also symbolize his fear of how soon his wife has developed new feelings for another man in his absence. Aurelius takes the place of the “absent husband,” assuming responsibility for Dorigen’s behavior, he frees her from all the reason she has for staying by him. She would’ve likely not been in a position to make such a promise to Aurelius, had he simply been present, so her behavior should have been predictable at least on the part of Averagus who left his wife and normal given the circumstance.

When the characters are doing the best they can, given the trials that they are facing, then they are being virtuous. Greene states that, “Goodness, by such logic, is shorn from any natural desire for happiness in this world.” I am agreeing that goodness is related to having your own true happiness. Greene asserts that a man is happy or successful if he exhibits virtuous behavior. She asserts that the Franklin’s tale backs up the assertion that a wealthy gentleman such as the teller of the tale, has carried out the moral duties of “gentillese” by putting the “virtue of generosity” into action. Greene then concludes that the happy couple must enlist virtuousness in all aspects of their lives, especially in the face of adversity. Greene is mostly focused on the teller of the tale within the tale which is the Franklin. I am agreeing with Greene’s hypothesis that virtuousness leads to happiness and extending this assertion by stating that Chaucer is highlighting the goodness in the hearts of human beings through the characters in the Franklin’s tale, that they don’t always have to have an hidden agenda. First he showcases Dorigen wanting to stay faithful to her husband. If Dorigen did not have any authentic feelings for Averagus, she would have probably ended up with the lowly squire. Secondly, we see Averagus’ reaction to Dorigen’s hasty promise. He does not react violently, instead he asks her calmly, “Is ther oght elles, Dorigen, but this? (1469)” Dorigen did not sleep with Averagus or run off with him. Thirdly, Aurelius hearkens unto Dorigens wishes, for he sees how much she wanted to be with her husband. Because she already genuinely wants to return to her husband, Aurelius shows compassion. The characters are enlisting virtuousness in the face of adversity.

By saying that Dorigen manipulates Aurelius, McGregor is underestimating Aurelius’ common sense and Dorigen’s feelings for Averagus. Firstly, Aurelius has no legitimacy over Dorigen, in comparison to Averagus and whatever he has over Dorigen is in so far as Dorigen’s husband allowed. To say that she is manipulating Aurelius is saying she has a hidden agenda and is being dishonest. Thus it would mean that she doesn’t love Averagus and has reasons for wanting to return to him. Secondly, Aurelius is not her husband, even though Averagus undermines his status as husband, the squire still does not have any legitimate claim over her. Part of the reason she was in front of him, to begin with, was because Averagus sent her. Aurelius’ virtuous decision increases his chances of happiness, this includes finding a wife of his own. Ultimately, the characters are virtuous in how they act on their feelings and this will eventually lead to their happiness.
Chaucer is also attempting the highlight the goodness in people and what he believes a true marriage is about. Cartlidge states that Chaucer’s tale is “his most optimistic vision of marriage, (224)” evident in the relationship between Dorigen and Averagus which is based on mutual generosity. Cartlidge suggest that the Franklin is asserting that this marriage is “an exceptionally good one.” This is because, Cartlidge asserts, the partners both agree to behave as if what they have is not a marriage at all. This will come back to inspire Averagus’ decision to test Dorigen’s love for him. If they were behaving as if they were actually not married, then this is why Dorigen’s promise to Aurelius is taken seriously by Averagus. Aurelius sees the vow Dorigen made to Averagus same as the one she made to him. As a result, he does not have the self-evidence of knowing if Dorigen is truly in love with him and only him. With the contract of marriage tossed aside all they would have to keep their dynamics going is love for one another with, as Cartlidge states, “no obligation to constrain them beyond those of mutual respect.” I agree with Cartlidge that the idea that husband should have “soveriegn” over his wife is one that Averagus’ treats as fiction. Cartlidge also states that if marriage is defined as a husband ruling over his wife, then marriage in this tale “becomes too contradictory to be realized at all, except as a fundamentally paradoxical relationship. This is, of course, precisely how the Franklin does attempt to realize” (9224). As I have been arguing in this paper, the contradiction that Averagus sees in Dorigen’s feelings for him, is the reason he trots her off as a test for whether she has true love for him. Aurelius returning Dorigen is the end result of this test. Aurelius sees who she wants to be with and that is enough to hearken unto her wants. Hence Aurelius is answering Averagus by saying, yes her feelings for you are true. So there is no “pimping” in this scenario, just a successful attempt at removing what would have been a “fundamentally paradoxical [marriage]”(224)

Averagus has two underlying reasons for insisting Dorigen keep her promise; one being more important than the other. The less important one is an oath to society for the preparation of future knights. We know this because he went off to war in the first place as an obligation to his countrymen. By giving Aurelius the incentive to make a sound decision he is preparing him to be a knight as generous and has virtuous as he. The most important reason is testing Dorigen’s love for him. It was not that he was pimping his wife or that he did not understand her. He was instead giving Dorigen way more power than what she realizes when she went off to meet Aurelius saying, “Unto the gardin, as myn housbond bad. . . (1512). He wanted to make sure that Dorigen did not want to stay with him just because as a husband, he has “soveraynetee” over her. By relinquishing Dorigen, he is letting her feelings speak for itself. Another variant of the anonymous quote mentioned earlier goes, “If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they’re yours; if they don’t they never were.” This is Aurelius’ premise, perspective and what he was doing. The reason is that he wanted to make sure that he wasn’t controlling his wife’s emotions that her supposed love was not out of duty, fear, and loyalty or reputation. A reason for the love is what tarnishes true love. He wanted that her emotions would have free reign and influence the outcome of matters; so yes Dorigen was the most “free.” Goodness in heart equates to virtuousness, all the characters are for the most part good people because they did the best they could do, given their circumstances. Dorigen trying to fill the missing void was a reaction to her husband being absent for two years. After Averagus’ way of asserting his true love for Dorigen, by saying, “For verray love which that to yow have” (1477), he wanted to test if her love for him was true. Was he truly what her heart desired? When Dorigen comes back, Averagus “cherisseth hire as though she were a quene, and she was to him trewe for everemore” (1554-1555). I would say that both partners ultimately kept their promises to each other. Dorigen and Aurelus’ marriage then, is based on love — the emotional component and generosity — the component of turning words into action. For Aurelius, Dorigen will not “come back;” this leaves the possibility of him finding another lover.

Works Cited
Chaucer, Geoffrey. “The Franklin’s Prologue and Tale.” The Canterbury Tales: Fifteen Tales and the General Prologue. Comp. and ed. V. A. Kolve, and Glending Olson. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2005. 212-33. Print.
Cartlidge, Neil. “Moral Obligations, Virtue Ethics, and Gentil Character in Chaucer’s Franklin’s Tale.” Ed. Greene Darragh. The Chaucer Review 50.1-2 (2015): 88-107. Print.
McGregor, Francine. “What of Dorigen? Agency and Ambivalence in the “Franklin’s Tale.”The Chaucer Review 31.4 (1997): 365-78. Print.
Saunders, Corinne. A Concise Companion to Chaucer. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2008. Print.
Thormann, Janet. “Networks of Exchange in the Franklin’s Tale.” Postmedieval 3.2 (2012): 212-26. ProQuest. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.

Critic of the lack of sufficient analysis of Black Women’s experience in “America: A Narrative History (Brief Ninth Edition) (Vol. 2)”

Published March 9, 2014 by lorijss


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Progressivism was geared towards responding to the unequal distribution of power in the US. Under progressivism during the 1900s, the women’s suffrage movement largely ignored the plight of African American women. During the movement, one of the members said that giving white women the votes would ensure “white supremacy (750).” Thus the movement was ineffective in promoting any civil rights for black women. Despite the fact that Black and White women were eventually given the right to vote legally; government officials failed to address the racially discriminatory practices that prevented them from registering to vote and that led to Blacks’ disenfranchisement. Finally, the text did not mention Black women’s efforts in the women’s suffrage Movement.

Many examples are used to show how the progressive movement excluded African Americans or nonwhites for that manner. One was the behavior of the authoritative government officials. President Woodrow Wilson was apathetic to the oppression and hardships of African Americans. The text states that he “detested the enfranchisement of blacks.” That the Anglo-Saxon race would always resist being dominated by nonwhites. The text uses an example of him stating that nonwhites were of an “inferior and ignorant (747)” race. Wilson did not go out of his way to associate himself with African American leaders and did not express any form of support for them. When the black community asked Wilson to create a National Race Commission and he declined; it was a heartfelt blow to them. This was made worst by him being appointed to a cabinet of blatant Southerner racists. It did not end when Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan was behind the segregation of schools, dining facilities, restrooms and water fountains.

Perhaps there were unsuccessful attempts of African American women organizations that were similar to that of the Women’s Suffrage Movement that operated under the shadows or in segregated units. If Black females had more opportunities they probably would have been mentioned in the text. Alice Paul who co-founded the National American Women’s Suffrage Association, protested on the lawn of the White House, and for 6 months rallied on the sidewalks for women’s rights to vote. Paul and her followers were sentenced to jail and retaliated with a hunger strike. Officials forced a tube down their nose for them to eat. Given what we know of the time period, Black women might not have been on the White house lawn. They did not have has much opportunities has white women. White Women had more rights then what they reckoned for compared to Black women. When some of the women of the movement insisted that “women were morally superior to men (749),” as the text stated. They were likely talking about Anglo-Saxon women.

When the 19th amendment was passed in 1920, it legally gave both black and white women the right to vote. However, the effects of the 19th amendment did not give African American an equal representation as white women in political affairs. Discriminatory and segregation policies disenfranchised black women in the South from voting as effectively as compared white women. States apparently would have exercised laws that disenfranchise black women from proximity to the US’ political landscape. The WCTU blasted drinking and smoking effects on white boys and girls but excluded the likely effects of white male drinking on African American livelihood. This means that white male violence towards black men and women alike may have increased as a result of drinking alcohol.

Overall readers are denied details of black women’s efforts during the Women’s Suffrage movement. Though the text stated that most suffrage movement excluded African American Women, it can be inferred that the movement would have substantially interested African American women. Providing this information is significant because it would give readers a broader view of US history. Readers are eluded info on how this movement influenced Black Women. Also how Black Women influenced the Women’s Suffrage Movement itself. 


Zimmerman stands trial

Published April 14, 2012 by lorijss

Zimmerman finally got arrested and charged with second degree murder in the death of the unarmed 17 year old teenager, Trayvon Martin. He could face 25 years to life, I am hoping he serves life but what matters the most is that there is finally justice for Trayvon’s family. It is still shocking that it took 45 days for Zimmerman to finally get arrested, whereas if he were a black male I honestly believe that he would have been arrested right on the spot and given a background check and an investigation immediately launched. Moral of the story, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, and this tragic incident as shown us an example of how dangerous it can be to judge someone especially if the person has a gun that that they intend on using. Not only that, defying authority and in this case, his complete disregard for authority eventually led to a tragic loss of life. I believe that Zimmerman behaved in a reckless and idiotic manner and could’ve handled the situation in an intelligent, calm and considerate manner. He was simply acting on his own imagination, stereotype and fear. Trayvon’s mom is strong to state that it may have been an accident, that if he had known that Trayvon was a normal 17 year old with Skittles and Ice Tea then he would not have pulled the trigger. Trayvon, his mom, dad and whole family is a symbol of hope and justice for us as human beings. I predicted that he was indeed going to get arrested but I didn’t know his charges would have been second degree murder, I thought it would have been negligent homicide but the more I think about it the more second degree murder makes sense, I mean he did disregard authority and chased after the boy.  He is safer in custody and in a jail cell than out on the streets where he could be assaulted or even worse, killed. I pray for Trayvon’s family, may peace be with them in their strong hearts and soul forevermore, for this is only the beginning.

ABC NEWS- Zimmerman charged with 2nd Degree Murder in Trayvon Martin’s Death

What do you know about Black history month?

Published February 9, 2012 by lorijss

This video show the racism and stereotypical behavior towards or about people of African descent at BYU. I am sure all the white respondents in this video are nice, friendly, fun, welcoming individuals, who mean no harm or don’t intend to insult black Americans. Also they obviously don’t consider themselves “racists” or “color-blind racists.” In response to some of the white girls’ thoughts: “Classy”obviously should not or does NOT equal white, and white does NOT or should not equal “classy.” Classy is also very subjective in other words self-defined, but may seem to be more defined by people who are members of the white American culture and ideology which is the most dominant & prevalent culture and ideology in the US. These statements about being “classy” can be interpreted as “racist” or color-blind “racist.” What does it mean “to act” like a “black guy” or what does it mean “to act” like a “white guy?” That question is open to many debates and discussions that I won’t lend a hand to in this post. For the sake of this post, the white girls in the video are basically trying to say that “acting white” is “better”without actually being conscious that that can be interpreted as “racist.”

In this video, all the white respondents can be viewed as racist in it’s own right because they are first of all White Americans. White Americans since the beginning of the United States have always enjoyed unearned privileges at the expense of non-whites, specifically people of African descent. In this video the whites can be interpreted as standing at the pedestal looking down on Black Americans or anyone of African descent without intending to or meaning to, this is on the basis of their own ignorance.  So African immigrants which includes immigrants from Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Botswana or Caribbean immigrants which includes, Jamaica at BYU are put into this box of stereotypes that white Americans have. This is due to their ignorance which is a direct result of their upbringing, or their inexperience with having  interactions with people that are directly from African countries and immigrated or black Americans that are born and raised in the US . Whatever the case may be either way the white respondents in this video have had both little social interaction with black Americans or meaningless social interactions with black Americans.  In addition to that these whites don’t understand the concept of white privilege and in order to understand that they have to step outside the box that they’re in & accept their white privileges. In order to accept that  they have white privileges, however major and minor it is, is by going out of their “way” to be in an environment where they’re interacting with blacks or non-whites on a day to day basis, even leaving the US will do. After doing that go back to interacting with whites and they will see it loud and clear if they open their minds. At least that’s what I think. Therefore, as a result of this lacking in experience that I just discussed, these whites are unable to form sensible responses when interviewed. Whether or not they were being interviewed by that dude their views of black Americans would still be ignorant and stereotypical, therefore it can be interpreted as “racist.” On top of that white Americans are the majority at BYU and most of the positions of power and affluence are filled with people that are White Americans. Honestly my personal experience at BYU as a black Caribbean/Jamaican has showed me that BYU is not only the whitest and most white-washed institution in the US but as a result of that both the most “racist” and “color-blind” racist institution. Still due to the fact that most whites at BYU are Mormons who have served a mission, which is basically spending 2 years in another country for the purpose of spreading Mormonism. The melting of stereotypical views is hopeful especially for those who have served missions in African countries, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.

What are your thoughts on this video?

Racist people are plainly put: dumb

Published February 6, 2012 by lorijss

New study shows that: Racist people are plainly put: dumb

Racist people were just, there is no other word: dumb. I have gotten into countless debates with racist whites online and it seems to be impossible to sway or reason with them, they usually remain steadfast in their backward mentality concerning race. I put racist whites in two categories:1) whites who’ve, according to them, personally felt like they have been harassed, ridiculed, humiliated, put down, beaten up by black/s. 2) whites who have done something racist towards blacks/a black person and the guilt is eating them alive. These whites feel so guilty about past injustices that they try to rid this strain on their brains by coming up with an excuse to absolve themselves from any personal responsibility. “Closed attitudes come from closed minds.” Both categories listed leads to their delusions that in itself is a disease of the mind. Of course racism is not just limited to whites but I do believe that because of the after effects of European colonization in the Americas which in turn led to present day white, European American privilege. Whites are more likely to appear more racist than any other social or racial group.

So word to the wise don’t waste time having discussions with racists online, these people are safely hidden behind their computer screens and can type anything they want to type in the world. On top of having a disease of their mind they are cowards who are doing nothing to make the world a better place. Lets come together to make the world a better place and walk away from all manner of hatred and instill love in our hearts.