All posts tagged race

Imagery over romantic love in Astrophil and Stella I

Published December 2, 2015 by lorijss

Imagery over romantic love in Astrophil and Stella I

Many people struggle with expressing their feelings for others. In Astrophil and Stella Sonnet 1 Sidney does just that with a lover, struggle. He starts to declare how he has been trying to find the right words that would make his poem have an impact on its recipient. Unfortunately for him, this woman doesn’t give him the time of day so he is stuck with his imagination rather than any expression of romantic interaction. Incapable of writing a poem about his professed love for this woman, he does however, successfully uses succinct imagery to express how difficult it is for romantic words to come out unto the paper.
There are multiple ways to interpret some of the image-laden lines. Most notably the line “I sought fit words, to paint the blackest face of woe” where he starts to declare how he has been trying to find the right words that would make his poem have an impact on its recipient. He wants something that will arouse pity from his lover in order to get her attention. He hopes that this attention in the form of pity will transform into returned love. “The blackest face of woe” can be interpreted racially by an African American reader. If taken literally posits that to have a black face is to be in misery. It can even be seen as racist; as a woe is a thing that causes trouble and distress implying to be black is to cause trouble. The other meaning is that Sidney simply sees himself as the most depressed and sorrowful person on the face of the earth.
Sidney paints a vivid picture of the condition of his mind during writer’s block. Another densely packed imagery line is, “Some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sunburn’d brain,” is that gives the reader an idea that he is in pain, trying to force something from his head, rubbing two sticks together to create fire. The only problem is that he ends up sunburn’d. Now he would like something fresh and original, fruitful as in mindblowing and profound stemming from a shower of inspiration. There is a world wind going on inside of him that he wants to unleash but feels week, saying he is “great with child to speak and helpless in my throes.” This metaphorical imagery lets us know that he wants to lets the words out but is unable to. He empathizes with a woman late in pregnancy who cannot wait for the birth of the baby and who experiences intense pain and struggle in childbirth. “By biting [his] truant pen,” televises it in one’s mind not only that he is biting his pen but that he’s truant like an absent student who is not where he needs to be when he needs to be in school. Finally the writer is on to something, he begins to think that there is something he is not doing, somewhere he is not going.
The most powerful line of the poem is the very last one that is introduced through, “beating myself for spite,” where he blames himself. It is this self-flagellation that incites his Muse to say immediately after, “Fool, look in thy heart and write.” It would appear that this might have been more captivating if his Muse yelled this instead; if Sidney had put an exclamation point to indicate strong feelings. Upon first read it would appear that he comes out of nowhere with that command of writing from the heart, but a closer encounter shows that he beats it out of himself. One sees how closely beating is related to the heart. He is possibly subconsciously aware of his heartbeating. His muse tugs at his heartstring urging him to look within. Hence a firm statement can be just as resounding and emphatic as an indication of strong feelings. The ultimate line also vibrates (resonate, continue to cause the preceding lines to be heard) the preceding lines: blackest face of woe, great with child, and sunburnt brain, allowing underlying cohesive depth to the poem. These are examples of successfully crafted imagery. Behold, Sidney completed an imaginative poem even though it isn’t particularly the romantic-love one he set out to do in the beginning.

Works Cited
Philip Sidney. “From Astrophil and Stella I.” The Norton Anthology English Literature: 8th ed. Vol. 1. Greenblatt, Stephen, General Editor. New York: Norton, 2012. 1084-1085. Print.


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.


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.


“Arabs are only shown in large numbers…”

Published February 1, 2012 by lorijss

In the media in this society, magazines, books and television shows and movies, portray or ‘orientalize’ non-westerners more so than offering unbiased portrayals.  I agree with Said, “Arabs are only shown in large numbers. No individuality, no personal characteristics or experiences (823).” This is an image always portrayed by the American media, like popular media networks that create this illusion that they are being unbiased. If the media were being unbiased they would portray the personalities or individual Arabs and talk about the culture and ways of the Arab world. The only time Arabs are shown on the news is in relation to war and political upheavals. Like Said said “most of the pictures represent mass range misery or irrational…gestures (823).” Only European Americans and even Europeans who are not living within supposedly US borders are usually portrayed as having their own personality and own individual experiences. Even African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans who live within the American border, are not portrayed as having individual personalities the way the European American is portrayed. Instead like the Arab, the supposedly ‘ethnic’ subpopulations of the US are portrayed always in large masses and in large groups.

Subpopulations in the US are always portrayed from the point of view of the European American who may have one-sided and stereotypical views of subpopulations that are non-white or of non- European decent whether they are conscious of it or not.  The European American or European are sometimes generally portrayed as being ‘cultureless’ and ‘raceless’ and not as having their own point of view but having a view that is seen by their own way of life, as universal, just and right while other groups that are not European decent are portrayed as having a culture and a race. Mostly the former group is always portrayed as uncivilized, underdeveloped, and inferior, sometimes evil, and treacherous by the mass media. People get their perception of Arabs from the media and this becomes like a cycle, stereotype and prejudices thus remains intact.
The book Orientalism by Said, states that before the attacks on the US on September 11, 2000, the Arab was portrayed in “simplistic stereotypical terms.” In television and films” the Arab was portrayed as an “oversexed savage, a treacherous, if clever, marauder or an oil sheik (824)” who regardless of being seen as ‘inferior,’ lacking “intelligence” or being “uncivilized” and backwards was able to make the West feel as if they are lacking in something that their culture and lifestyle says that they should have and control, such as oil. One hundred million people are seen as all the same despite being located in different regions of the world, always portrayed in large numbers, and seen as being one and the same persons.
Academic knowledge and discourse legitimize colonial rule through its vocabularies and images. Even today while Britain for example, no longer has colonies in almost half of the globe, the effects of colonial rule still rings true today. The countries are seen as having the language of their colonizer as the formal language.  People in these previously colonized countries may view themselves as in the way their colonizers viewed them. For example, in Jamaica now there is a phenomenon called “the bleaching” in which people who are dark skinned do not see themselves as beautiful so do things to make their skin seem lighter. This is apparently a result of slavery and colonialism in which to be white and fair was seen as superior and to be black was seen as inferior and subject to the slavery. Even in the media today, problems that occur in countries are sometimes portrayed as having only to do with the third world countries and nothing to do with Western Europe and the United States.

Orientalism by Edward Said


SOC 101 – Socialization Race and Gender

Published January 28, 2012 by lorijss

So I was listening to some sociology 101 SEX&Gender college class from CSUDH. 101 classes seem to be the only kind of college classes that are free, its my way of not becoming a dunce lol. The professor Segio Soto was basically saying that back in the days women were seen as properties of men. (The same way blacks where seen as properties of whites except this is much worst because it’s slavery.)The double standards that exist between men and women are slowly cracking down and I am sure that 400 years from now these double standards will be depleted. (It is like race there are double standards as it concerns blacks and whites, blacks are definitely under more surveillance in society today and maybe after 400 years etc…) The objectification of women and the objectification of blacks, is tied up with their dehumanization which then leads to violence and aggression. To objectify someone,  is to dehumanize someone to justify violence against them. There is no violence without objectification and dehumanization. Lynching of blacks in history is an example of objectification, blacks weren’t seen as human beings with emotions and feelings but just seen as objects, dehumanized to justify the infliction of violence against them. And that’s just me repeating the same thing in different words because that’s how I roll. Even up to this day there specks and grains of the black man&woman being dehumanized not like before but it’s still there.

Like race, gender is also socially constructed. Men and women are socialized to behave a certain way, the professor said, “men may say, I’m not emotional, I’m a male, I rarely cry or I don’t cry at all.” because men who cry are seen as sissys or wimps and that’s how we’ve been socialized.  And he also stated that as a male child you may have been sanctioned for crying over…anything really, you may have gotten smacked or disciplined for crying. These are all socially constructed notions of how a male should behave. But I won’t mention how society says a woman should behave because it is too obvious to mention. Professor Soto stated that all human beings have the same emotions. It is self-evident that all humans have, feelings of anger, pain, happiness, etc we all have those emotions. This is random but I want to add that we should also be grateful that we do have emotions because it means that we are breathing and we have life and life is the # one most important thing to be grateful for. Anyway, Professor also stated that as children male and females are very similar, but overtime men are socialized not to express emotions, not to be compassionate,to be rational, to be aggressive and violence may even be rewarded. You know I can’t stop bringing up race, it’s like race, children do not bring attention to skin color in anyway form or shape and white kids will play with black kids and notice no racial difference whatsoever add no weight or anything to skin color, until white kids become socialized into thinking race matters, “problems” of race only occur in adulthood as a direct result of socialization.  Or I should say kids of all races will see no differences between each other until they are socialized to see it by the respective cultures in which they will be brought up in.  As kids we don’t really see each other as different nor do we treat each other as being different until we have been socialized to think that we are more different(than we actually are) and socialized into thinking we have to act a certain way. Human beings are social animals, we think we’re just being ourselves but half the time we are really socialized into thinking a certain way. It’s debatable though how much of the way we act is learnt or socialized and how much is us being our individual selves I’d say fifty fifty. Radically speaking I’d say there is nothing inside of us, nothing we didn’t put inside ourselves, ourselves. We are all living in this one big social illusion, in one society in Africa, men wear make-up not make-up as we see it in the west but body paintings. Make-up is still body paintings and in some societies only the men wear body-paintings. It’s really the power of this social illusion that is governing our lives today, what has been past down socially and culturally from generations to generations.

Sometimes I wonder do we really get wiser when we get older  because most of the time how we were as kids are really what we need to get back to. IF you didn’t care when you were a kid why should you care now, and if you care now it is what is holding you back. How we were as kids and didn’t have a care in the world about skin color or gender and how society think a person should act on the basis of skin color and gender. Professor closed off by stating that all of society is a human construction, people got together and created these ideas which are now governing all our lives,  these ideas have been built on top of each other, some ideas die, some things change on the surface and some things remain the same. I’m going to close by saying that there is really no difference between men and women more than the biological differences that we have been born with. There is no difference between human beings of different skin color than socially created differences that have been worked up to benefit one group over the other.