Too Little, Too Late

President Donald Trump’s approval rating has reached an all time low-at 34% as of August 2017. The poll conducted by Gallup was a survey of 1,500 people- before the recent racial controversy present in the news.

After the recent news I can only read the following introduction of every other sentence and/or paragraph of a comment “too little, too late”. The criticism about his response is that it was too late that he has condemned white supremacist and other white nationalist. It was a major criticism during the 2016 presidential elections that the racism espoused by some of his followers was never dealt with properly. As well, the criticism comes after his seemingly late response, since he has time to watch popular television shows then to comment thereafter in the characterized display of his behaviors as the President. ‘It is a little too late’, the common consensus I have gathered.

Is this a fair criticism of his response, in time, considering that he recently made a response about the evil nature of racism? The event occurred a couple of days ago, he is only to comment now, days later. In comparison to former President Obamas’ speeches on similar incidents of controversy, I say the criticism are similar about timing. Both are criticized by those that oppose them for similar or equal prejudice perceptions of ‘doing a good job of representing our nation’. Some others, though they may despise President Trump, state ‘well at least he said something to not condone the thoughts, behaviors by racist’.

In reference to ‘too little’. President Trump did not say ‘too little’. In what he had stated was written down, displayed on a teleprompter, and seemingly rehearsed. ‘It did not seem like him’ according to those that oppose him outright. Once a president has loss the trust and perhaps a feel of being genuine, there goes the support. The public are in critic in how timely, the public is in criticism of what is stated.

Again, in comparison, are the comments fair? Once again, in comparison to former President Obama speeches, I will state that the comments are still similar or the same.


How does a president of the United States actually unite the nation? As I am too young to have experienced many former presidents. Though I was aware of former President Bush and his criticism as a child, then President Obama’s criticism as a teenager and young adult. I have yet to witness a president that dispels the division, unites the nation in times of dire circumstances and controversy.

How does one unite the nation? When the people who vote and voice their opinion are so divided that their criticism of one another, in opposition, are petty? That their criticism of a president is bound by party devotion, almost like a children’s club. In a time that it is needed most to bridge the gap, not to polarize, none are able to do so…

Thus the sentiment is reflected in their approval ratings. How then can the public judge any president that they have so elected, well a matter of discussion of how we elect them, as being a poor performer?

Nuked

Waging war to achieve a mark upon history as the greatest nation ever to kill the most people ever, over an issue that no one would have ever thought was in need of a lesson.

You’ll See. Fire and Fury.

The call to wage war is still so primitive in nature. A cause to lose lives, both innocent or guilty; and those that are willing or involuntary participating in the act to fire at will to become forever scarred. For what purpose exactly, other than to avenge honor?

The Bush, The Clinton and The Obama allowed [them] to get away with everything.

All of this call to arms, the bigger the better. The strongest, most deadliest bomb one could master to achieve built and built again, as if one was not already damaging enough by simply existing. The matter now is only time and to call a bluff. The matter now is to call attention from the greater enemy determined by Commander and Chief long before the election date.

We will teach them a lesson.

And what lesson may the be in particular? That our leaders may willingly take away our lives to prove honor and blind patriotism. And no we are not the fortunate one’s-that song again about Vietnam. We may never see your sons and daughters enter battle over something senseless and inconsiderate. Hopefully the greater voting public may not be tricked into praising such dishonorable tactic to shift focus and attention from what matters in a peaceful, working society.

We are in need of affordable health care, however it may be compromised one day.

We are in need of affordable and quality housing. We are need of healthy solutions to our food alternatives; in need of better water supply; in need of a fair and just system; in need of a fairer wage; in need of funds for education not student loans; in need of relief of all other stresses causing a faction within our nation. Not bombs; a Korean… a Chinese person has never corrupted our system and caused stress onto our livelihoods.

We are in need of construction and unification-not dismay, rations, or a cause to keep the country on edge.

Public Bigotry and The Outraged

Concerning recent news of crime of another country or city, or the crimes committed by an individual of another culture or demographic- why must the public assume ‘all’ are at fault? Whether the media is to discuss India and its rape victims, Chicago and its murder rates; or Muslim men found guilty of sex trafficking, white person found to be racially insensitive in a debate, etc.. The presumption is always ‘all’, not a few and those individuals that have committed the crimes as individuals. No it is always, almost always, public bigotry and outrage attributing the cause to a collective rather than to the individual(s) or the perpetrators.

If a white person exhibits racial insensitivity then it is confirmation that all white people are racist. Or that this individual is a representation of their group-that being white America (a monolithic phrase attributed).

If a Muslim extremist decides a path to a rewarding heaven is by destruction of the livelihoods of others it is then Muslims as a whole that are barbaric in nature. Never the individual easily impressionable, and easily forgetful in the worth of self and humanity.

If there is a man obsessed with power, or one that expresses his insecurities and sickness aggressively on the innocent not consenting, the public assumes that it is men generally. Men are not to be trusted as they are all potential rapist, abusers or a danger waiting to happen.

These few examples are of major complaints that are read and heard throughout the news today, yesterday and tomorrow. To assume that ‘all’ are the case for danger, a reason for distrust rather than to aim at those that commit their crimes.

The underlying thought here is the obsession with assuming a collective understanding of how humans function in society. With the presumption that we all exist in our respective monolith, rather than as individuals first. The sudden urge to accuse the singular characteristic as the definition of all others similar-without consideration of the diversity that exist in what is thought to be sameness.

I am referring to terms such as ‘white America’. A collective, a monolith-that actually exist with distinctive identities and cultures. Though I’m referring to that white kid in class being assessed by the bitter, yet equally ignorant classmate. This kids heritage is assumed to be that of slave owners, though he may not have had any. This kid’s background of poverty is not related to the oppression or subjugation of others. A finger is pointed at him by the equally bitter and ignorant as the reason for the greater crimes committed by individuals, again, not related to him. However, since this white kid uttered something racially insensitive in class the argument then is about the racism, like his own, persisting in white America. An issue that harms the rest.

I’m referring to that comment made by Margaret and the other following made further down by John. A news story about men who appear not quite white and not quite black, yet they appear nothing like a Christian either. “A group of Muslim men”, they both snort and sneer. The news headlining that all men in the photo provided were charged with raping and kidnapping several young girls and women. It’s a common story of sex trafficking gaining interest among the media reporting something ‘new’ and forgotten. No one else may convince Margaret or John that all Muslim men are not deviant barbarians. No one may convince them-whether calmly in a thoughtful retort; or a call to shame through either mocking or carrying on back and forth in anger. Their thoughts are indeed ignorant and problematic, yet the comment thread has not gained a single light of awakening. “It is my opinion and I have a right to it”, as each reply or will eventually state. What do they say, then, when the Christian rapes and destroys the livelihood of others? Their thought is one of deflection. That  is an act of someone in-Christ like and that person exist as an individual; therefore not Christian. As to assume so would include both as having probability of committing a similar crime.

Lastly, I’m referring to those that believe a culture exist where men are free to rape without consequences. And that rape is a monopoly, held primarily among men-all men with the potential and intention to rape. “Not all men” is a phrase to specify the issue as an individual crime, whether grouped or not. The rebuttal then is that this phrase is offensive as it allows men thinking of self, to not consider the greater cause by the commonality of the victims perpetrators. Include ‘race’ and ‘religion’ to see how this topic becomes complicated. Talk about rape culture and black men and see raised concerns over the constant acquisition of young black men historically and presently accused of such a crime. It is then individual if one is black, to avoid racial insensitivities.

Why is it ‘all’ rather than a few or those individuals that have committed the crime in particular? Not much has changed with these continuing discussions of the same news, though with different details. Those that point a finger are set within their opinions, a wall built of continued anger and distrust. Nothing has been accomplished in argument assuming crime is associated to the groups most distrusted. No common understanding has been formed as such people wish to point and categorize.

From Mars, From Venus

A Google employee was fired yesterday amid outrage over his controversial statement about the differences between men and women in the tech field. The news summary highlighted the comment about ‘biological differences’ being the cause, the reason for the lack of women in STEM related fields. His comment also, carefully claimed that the comment was not meant to upset the cause for diversity in the workplace. Only that there are biological differences that give reasons for the discrepancies in the real-world demographics as related to tech industries.

The public is outraged and in debate!

Both men and women affirming that there are differences between males and females. Concerning the greater physical strength of a male compared to that of a woman. This much is true, however, what does physical strength have to do with using acquired knowledge of mathematics and software engineering-that requires years of study and brain power? As well,  both cited that males and females have differing interest because one thinks more deeply than the other. To the surprise of other commenters, a woman had stated that men think more deeply than women, since women are able to not think as much. Why, she said? Women are better able to multi-task whereas men need to concentrate more so on a single task before moving onto the next. There was an episode somewhere on popular television afternoon shows that attempted to prove this assumption: women are better able to multitask than men. However, are they better able to multitask because they are women or are they better able due to practice? The examples given on the popular television afternoon shows are housewives versus their husbands. More importantly, concerning the tech field in this case, does software engineering require a great deal of multi-tasking? If not, why is this mundane detail included in the attempt to confirm biological differences as the reason for the lack of diversity in the tech field?

Others liken ‘race’ as being the same ordeal with sex concerning the discrepancies in demographics of an occupation. There were a few that stated that black men are more dominate in football and basketball because of genetics. In reference to professional sports yes there is a dominate commonality in both basketball and football. However, does the commenter recognize that perhaps exposure to those sports in particular-or one’s environment in celebrating those two major sports more so than others-has something to do with the common interest? If simply genetics were the cause for black males being so great athletically, then why only those two major sports? Were black men specifically bred for those sports or are they only great due to exposure within their background since childhood? So on and so forth questioning why is biological differences claimed as a justification for the lack of diversity or the cause of a predominance of one demographic over another in a particular occupation?

Simply put, some people are not great in making arguments that are void of logic and contemporary empirical evidence.

Within the debate, women who happened to be software engineers, mathematicians of some kind or simply have an interest in STEM related fields chimed in. They took to their keyboards to comment on the anecdotal evidence of a few women internalizing sexism. Others took to list their qualifications to speak on the behalf of all women in STEM. Though, more importantly, they voiced themselves as women, the rarity, in STEM related fields. Their concern was addressed by others that disagreed with those ‘not great in making arguments’ as well. There are no biological differences between men and women that causes fewer women to pursue STEM related fields. However, what has been proven through empirical research is that there are sociological differences that causes more men to pursue STEM related fields, while discouraging women.

What is meant by sociological differences?

This simply means that how males and females, boys and girls, are raised in a society determines the outcomes of their interest. As well, this greatly depends on the environment, resources and anything else related that determines the interest(s) held within a society. And by society is referring to you and me, we are the people that determines the behaviors, the norms, the culture, the activities and other aspects and concerns within a society. This is all relative to the period in which we are referring to, and the history of the people that is being referred.

For example, at one period nursing was a male dominated field. Contrasted tot today, nursing is female dominated and often contributed to biological differences as being the cause of this discrepancy in demographics. I just made a point here. Today, biological differences are attributed to the cause of women being more predominate in nursing occupation, however, in centuries past men were predominate in nursing [or something similar in name]. What was the reason given then compared to today to excuse the lack of one gender? I’m regarding to a period in which “biological differences” meant women were so inferior to men that their place was not meant in places determined by men to be more of a masculine pursuit than others.

I may go further back in time. Agriculture, farming was once considered a female endeavor, while the men hunt. Though as the technology became more advanced and farming more complex, men assumed the role of being the farmer, while abandoning the hunter/gather lifestyle. This is true concerning the number of female teachers as compared to male teachers today. At one period men were the teachers, and boys were the students. Overtime, as centuries of activism called for the equal access to education systems and resources, we now see that there are more female teachers and more female students-the higher one may pursue in education.

The point here being that in each example given about nursing, agriculture and teaching was never about actual differences in biology- that made one sex more suited for an occupation. Instead this sentence here restates the topic:

“I’m referring to a period in which ‘biological differences’ meant women were so inferior to men that their place was not meant in places determined by men to be more of a masculine pursuit than others.”

That sentence is referring to the changes in social norms and the assumption of a task as determined by a man. As similarly compared to date, a change in social norms and the assumption of a task as determined by you and me. We determine whether girls are more likely to choose social work over astronomy. We determine whether boys are to become a doctor, rather than a nurse. We determine that STEM related fields are to be dominated by men because of the assumption that math and other related fields is best suited for males based, again, on a social norm or prejudice.

It’s the individual’s interest, but environment and society are major factors too.

Others within the debate will say that perhaps there is a difference not due to biology per se, though due to an individual’s personal interest. In that they state women are less likely to pursue STEM related fields as it requires [empirical] logical derivations, where men are less inclined towards socially inclined work. And by that they meant most girls simply like the color pink, whereas most boys like the color blue. Here I ask, how does one know of their interest if they have yet to have been exposed within their environment of varied interest? Here I state, we are inclined towards certain behaviors and interest still due to our nurture, rather than nature. For instance, how does a boy like most boys know that they like the color blue if they have never seen it? As relating to occupation, how does a girl know she prefers math if she is constantly encouraged to seek socially inclined task deemed more feminine? He does not know that he likes the color blue until exposed. As she does not know her preference since she is discouraged from one pursuit.

The greater question here: how are we to determine what boys and girls are more inclined to like or dislike, to pursue or to not pursue, when we do not raise them under equal terms?

The most important initiative of our time is equal access and equal terms. We are largely unaware of what an individual may like or dislike, without influences by society. We are not knowing what boys and girls would pursue if given the chance to become exposed to varied interest and pursuits equally. However, we do know that our interest and pursuits are heavily influenced by society and by exposure. What are the initiatives again? To reveal more women in the roles of STEM. Or to encourage programs that focuses on girls wanting to pursue STEM related fields as adults. In our time we are introducing them to an occupation.

That is all that is required to witness an increase in a demographic within a particular field. It’s not a simple matter of disinterest of the individual as, again, our interest are determined by societal prejudices and what we may be exposed to within our environments. It’s not even a matter of biology, as there is not a single DNA sequence that determines what we have determined and created within our society.

Woes of Womanhood

Woes of Womanhood
In the news today was yesterday news, about another country. Today BBC re-reported about at 10-year-old girl raped and now pregnant. The parents unknowing of the cause, and unknowing of their child’s term. They instead pacified her dark reality that her belly is growing due to a stone.
I sit here to read through the comments of concerned people, male and female, around the world. Those in defense of their country and others condemning the savagery of an act- not tolerated within more developed nations. Though this fact does gloss over that rape and forced pregnancy are a common occurrence around the world. Yes, rape and forced pregnancies are more likely to occur in some places more than others, but the point remains that it is occurs. And for it to happen to someone so young and innocent, though it is a matter of concern regardless of age and sex as well, is truly devastating.
The woes of being a woman.
She is told to be the backbone of the family dynamic. She is the house wife, the care giver, the cook and the mother treated as the same-a domestic animal; if not respected in some countries, and different cultural places. In some countries and places, around the world, this demand to become a domestic animal is introduced so young. At the age of 12 years-old she is a ‘woman’ without reaching womanhood. She is expected to be a mother though she is just a child herself. At the age of 9 years old she is told that her place is not outside, unless her culture demands all hands in the fields. Her place is in the kitchen or at the dinner table, mat or floor, her place is here. Her purpose is to serve and to be selfless while doing so. She is then taught to be the voiceless, compliant, master of her husband’s home.
Regarding sex she is not given any power or consideration that she too may enjoy pleasure, not pain. In some counties and places the power of sex is given to a male, who is taught to allow his desires to roam and to partake in several trials. She, then, is only allowed to be nonresistant. This too is true in more developed nations. Where the fault of her not consenting is within question of what she had worn that night or how much she had had to drink. In other cultures it is how tempting she may have been, so passively, to reveal her wrist. By this way women are taught that sex is power and that is what is given to the other sex. Then must we forget that women may enjoy sex too! She may be labeled a slut, a hoe in the process of her demanding attention as men demand attention. Or she simply enjoys the act of pleasure with her mate, preferably one that is respectful of her consent. In all what is forgotten through critic and debate, is that women enjoy pleasure.
These are a couple of vague explanations of some negative occurrences in life that impact a woman. No, as it impacts one it also impacts all. Whether we are to experience the negatives or not as individuals, we too understand the demands and dangers of it all becoming a possibility. And for others it is a significant chance of reality as they skirt through life in their environment always cautious of their surroundings.
And what is difficult to fathom here is how a child must forget being a child to experience these woes of womanhood. At 10 years old to experience a traumatic event, then to bring new life into this cycle of hurt. No, a ‘stone’ sits within her belly. What a curious way to explain the rape-as it cannot be described any other way-into her body, her mind as she carries this ‘stone’. For how long or how much longer she may think. How will this ‘stone’ may be removed? A natural cause, one by surgery or medicine? One could only imagine the difficult situation of either depending on the health resources available to her.
I can only imagine how she must feel, as her awareness of the world outside of child’s play is now stark. I’m not imaging her as herself, since a picture will never be provided. Instead I’m imaging her in different faces and facial features. Where her skin is brown, dark or white. Whether she has shoes on her feet or scrapes of cloth wrapped around, or even a sandal. The country where the rape occurred and where this child may live is not the concern so much, though only for her access to health resources. The skin color, genetic makeup of the predator, the rapist is not a concern here. The concern lies with innocence. The concern lies with a direct violation of a body. As it is something all too common in all places.

It Is So…Poetic

I’m anticipating to write an extended essay about the issues most concerning black Americans and their communities. The subjects are typically those concerns of the poor [i.e. poverty, education, crime, police officers, etc.] and I aim to discuss why that primary focus is problematic too. So I’m gathering a collection of books, typically those that are of the popular canon of ‘black thought’ on such subject matters. Or rather the accepted authority on this subject matter in opposition to my own alternative thoughts. As I gather books I read to find the key points and topics that are related to this extended essay.

Yesterday I decided to read the most recommended and awarded text of this date: Between the World and Me authored by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Actually I skimmed through the text, as it is rather short and can easily be done, and found that I was not impressed. Do not become mistaken here, I skim then I read a book first. The initial captivation among the pages are what confirms my need to purchase, to read, then to recommend to others. I can only read of what I have skimmed if it is profound or simply interesting. I’ve found neither adjectives are appropriate for this book. Perhaps, as all others, being poetic with their ‘blackness’ may captivate an audience that are the same and those that are white Americans and liberal-minded. However that is all and nothing else.

Of course it was written in a time where police homicides of black Americans took the nation by storm. People are emotional, calling it the greatest crime against black American males from years past to this date. Though emotional, basically an appeals to emotions, the statistical data proves otherwise. Black American males are more likely a victim of intraracial crime than they are to be a victim of interracial crime or to be killed by a police officer. As well, white Americans, Latino Americans, and Native Americans are largely ignored whenever the discussion of police killings surfaces on mainstream media. The majority killed police officers this year and last year alone have been white Americans. However, it is more profound if we discuss the statistics based on groups or ‘per rate’. Still in doing so we largely ignore that Native Americans are effected more so than black Americans. That is what I mean that it is an emotional appeal and one used tirelessly in the discussion of ‘black thought’-the center of attention ignoring the plights of all others.

There is something about ‘black thought’ that always needs to be poetic and to appeal to emotions. Or to over exaggerate a claim and to assume a collective mindset on all issues, whether all black Americans face them equally or at all. I do not find this common tendency in almost every essay, or every book about issues concerning [some] black Americans, profound or interesting. I too have studied black American history, U.S. history, the history of me and my being here. I enjoy it and continue to read. Though I do not appropriate the pain of my ancestors as that is insulting compared to my far more privileged life and life of freedom. Though I grew up in a rural area I never assume that poverty and the issues that become of those existing in urban areas are similar to my own. Poverty in rural areas is different compared to poverty in urban areas and I cannot falsely assume to relate to those that have an entirely different experience. Or what I am saying here, I refrain from using black Americans as a collective whenever discussing police shootings and killings and all other issues. That would be false to do so, and to give a false impression to others about the experiences of black Americans as individuals. As well it is simply an appeals to emotions to do so. I can discuss my experiences without included the entirety of black Americans who may have or usually have not experienced the same life. And I can do so without the poetic rhyme.

In writing this future extended essay I have to keep an open mind. To include Coates and other like him that all write in a rather similar manner, I must understand their thoughts. Why is it a common way to speak of issues pertaining to some black Americans this way? Why do they always assume a collective experience extending to all black Americans? For instance, his text in referring to the police killing of Eric Garner: “And destruction is merely the superlative form of a dominion whose prerogatives include friskings, detainings…All of this is common to black people. And all of this is old for black people. No one is held responsible.” A collective experience and notion assumed to be the thoughts and concerns, even the experiences of all. To the last statement, why is it common to make a claim based on limited observation; an assumption without facts? I remember around the time Michael Brown was killed, the tension had continued ’til December where I read that ‘police officers are never held accountable’. I retorted with, well it depends on the circumstances of the event and the evidence found. Since within that same month a local news source reported a police officer sentenced to time in prison for his crime against a black woman. Unfortunately I do not remember the details to that particular news story, but to make a ‘never’ claim on the basis of limited observation is quite common. So I ask ‘why’. To ask is to read, and that requires me to read their thoughts.

So, I’m looking forward to reading those differences in thought processing. In doing so I will provide a proper book review of each book I am thinking to include for my extended essay.

The ‘Borg’

What is the ‘Borg’?

An entity that speaks as one. The uniformity of individuals grouped. Impersonalization of the individual, to ensure that the concerns of all are equal. The notion of equality, or the indivisibility of the group. That is all that defines the ‘Borg’, or the arch enemy of the United Federation of Planets. Or, more philosophically, the arch enemy of humanity.

The war of the Federation with the Borg has proved to be a great discussion about humanity- that is a constant subject presented by several science fiction television and cinema. There have been other films that have discussed this ‘war’ in great length, for example, The Invasion (2007). I will use it in comparison to the concerns presented by the Federation. The actual war as presented in Star Trek: The Next Generation 1987-1994 (TNG) is between the Federation star ship The Enterprise and the Borg, introduced by an omnipotent being called ‘The Q’. On ‘Q’s’ behalf, the purpose of the introduction was for the human [and humanoid kind] to understand that there are bigger, stronger, more influential enemies than the squabbles that they found themselves in within their domain [or sector of the universe(s)]. The lesson then was to be introduced, and to find a way to combat what the Borg stood for exactly. The aimed peaceful agreement, then was to combat the idea of uniformity without losing the particular aspects of individuality. This was also reminded in filler episodes, or where the human, the Klingon, the Cardassian haphazardly came together and heard a message from a representation of the human and humanoid ‘creator’. The ‘creator’ reminded the human and humanoids that they are of one DNA strand and that their differences were not a means for violence, but for character in a sense. Of course, as the captain, Jean-Luc Picard of the starship Enterprise stated ‘it was such a shame that the message fell on such deaf ears’. The squabbles continue as the Enterprise found itself in surprising and in intense contact with the Borg. The Borg’s purpose was to colonize and to include all humans and humanoid species as part of its entity. Their key collective mindset being that ‘resistance is futile’. This meant either peacefully or through violent contact all others not part of the entity will be assimilated as the Borg. For the sake of humanity, the humans ultimately refused, thus resistance proved worthy.

In the process of the war, there had been debates of the morally contentious thing to do. There is a moral code of conduct followed by those of the Federation. The codes are summarized as follows:

  • All entities have the right to exist
  • Disturbances or destruction of another life form is prohibited
  • Disturbances or destruction of another life form’s environment is prohibited
  • Solutions to where violence and death, which are preventable, is the preferred course of action
  • Disturbances of newly discovered humanoid species have precautionary terms
  • To engage in diplomacy where disagreements of species by respecting their customs and beliefs

As the Borg proved to be an enemy without the ability or inclination to speak humanely, or to form a peaceful agreement without force and an assumption of power- the one contemplated idea then was for its ultimate destruction. In one instance, a contact with a youthful Borg- or representation of being impressionable, willingness to change, and revolution-led to discussion of either ultimate destruction or a ‘choice’. The first decision was unanimously agreed upon by the Enterprise senior officers. Where they discussed that the entire destruction of humanity was of the greatest threat. Therefore, the ultimate need to destroy that threat is an exception to the moral code. All those that agreed thought to program a ‘virus’ that would then end the entity altogether. All agreed except for one senior officer, Dr. Beverly Crusher. The youthful Borg had come aboard the Enterprise injured. As it is Dr. Crusher’s duty and oath to heal, she took offense to the unanimous decision. She reminded the senior officers of the moral code and of her duty. As well, she reminded the members that despite the youthful Borg’s presentation he was still a being, a child and someone in need of humane treatment.

iborg138_zps2d07c1e7

The Borg are a collective humanoid species existing within a highly technological advanced hive. In their worldview there is no concept of ‘I’ or of the individual. If they are to speak about a desire it is only the desire of the collective. Or they will speak as ‘we’. For example, an individual Borg will speak as “we are alone” rather than “I am alone”. The chief engineer of the Enterprise, and one part of unanimous decision, Geordi LaForge helped Dr. Crusher with the technological aspects of the youthful Borg’s injuries. As well his task was to program the virus to ultimately destroy it and his kind. Though in interacting with the Borg, LaForge began to understand why they insisted on a collective. The youthful Borg felt disconnected as he was no longer part of his hive. In his mindset, or as he was programmed to think and feel, being alone or as an individual would be lonesome. LaForge would offer his rebuttal-that being an individual is not lonely as one can connect with another individual to share likeness. However, in sharing that likeness he would not give up his individuality as that gave him character, or a purpose to his name. In order for the youthful Borg to understand this need and desire, LaForge personalized him or gave him a character by naming him ‘Hugh’ [pictured above]. Hugh then accepted his name.

After this new discovery that the Borg are capable of changing or forming a new understanding about humanity, the senior officers of the Enterprise came together for a new devised plan. It is imperative that they devise the plan as the Borg collective intend to collect their kind. Therefore it was an imminent violent threat approaching, and a need to find a quick solution. In discovering that Hugh could have a character, the second decision then was to give the Borg a ‘choice’. This meant instead of programming Hugh with a virus to ultimately destroy the others, the senior officers thought to program Hugh with a sense of ‘choice’. In that is the desire for individuality, a new revolution of thought.

The concerns of the Federation about the ultimate destruction of humanity is adequately presented. Why would one want to give up their individuality for the sake of all others? What were the benefits of existing as a collective rather than as an individual? Upon the first encounter with the Borg there was total silence. Three of the senior officers of the Enterprise boarded the ship.

the borg cube

The Borg were unbothered and were not threatened by the presence of the few crew members. But what is characterized by the Borg’s hive, or their environment? It was quiet, it was peaceful, it was cold. What seemed like a blank slate was actually a thriving consciousness only present within the mind through connective wires. Now to answer the first two questions one must understand what humanity is like, especially existing as individuals. TNG presents the lives of 24th century Earth beings that had become united over their differences. Therefore, no more wars or acts of violence- though the ‘Q’ forced them to answer to their previous crimes or behavior. A rough summary of the event presented here. However there were still squabbles among the humanoid species and the human, whereby the human attempted to end. Revert to our own time, the 21st century, where countless wars and violence are waged in the name of ‘differences’, ‘lack of resources’ and ‘lack of education’. What is meant to give up being an individual to then become a collective means to give up violence, or the notion that differences are to cause tension. The benefit of existing within a collective, or as the Borg, is ultimately peace. As individuals we have proven that we are bound to allow disagreements to cause chaos and by that what means of peace is only through force. It’s an idea played out in science fiction countless times.

This point was played out well in the movie ‘The Invasion’, previously linked. Within the film the ‘virus’ had turn every individual into a blank slate. The only differences among those infected with the virus were their appearances. A police officer, a black woman, a white man, a Hispanic woman walking together though they are the same. There exist no personality, no strong emotions or emotions at all. There exist no other apparent differences other than physical characteristics. Instead they are all one person, a collective of the same being. The same thought with the Borg’s motive is played out within the movie or that ‘resistance is futile’. The resistance being the main character, or as the Federation, for the sake of humanity individuality must be preserved. The resistance proved to be worthy, however what did that all mean exactly? At the end of the movie, once a cure had been found for the ‘virus’, the main character and her husband were sitting about their living area talking. The last scene was of the news playing over as they count the last of those being cured. The news as well played over the rise of violence, and chaos going about the country and the world as the humankind regained its humanity.

In watching the television series now, and the movie as a child, I have begun to wonder why peace on Earth or among all individuals is so difficult to fathom. So difficult to fathom that the idea of peace is merely a fantasy and one that can only be forced. By being forced it is an alien being, or an alien concept to seem united and to convince others to be united in thought, action and behavior towards the other. As I am hopeful that humanity would come to a peaceful agreement- as there are human beings that are at peace, but I agree peace is alien. I disagree that in order for there to be peace we must strip human beings of their sense of individuality. As the 24th century Earth beings aimed to accomplish- as they proved for themselves that there can be peace without forsaking the individual. However, how did 24th century do away violence and disagreements that is so often associated with individuality? They gave up capitalism-profit, money and materialism, and in return found that minimalism sufficed the needs and wants of the individual. This too is revealed throughout the series. This then did away with greed, inequality and the violence, selfishness and the sort. That very thought or means of acquiring peace is why it is so difficult to fathom.

My love for Star Trek TNG is not the purpose or the point here, though it is proven useful in discussing key concepts and ideas. Instead I am here to discuss how the Borg finds its way into our society, and how it is ultimately resisted at every turn. Here I am to discuss humanity, and what we have accomplished thus far in preserving that idea of individuality. To define exactly what is humanity, what is peace, and by what means we may fix the issues from within.

What is Humanity?

Humanity is defined as by Merriam-Webster dictionary as the quality or state of being humane; the quality or state of being human; and of the humankind. What does it mean to be humane? The adjectives often associated with this term is that of compassion and sympathy. For example, it is humane to treat other animal species with the same dignity and respect that we, humans, require of ourselves. In practice, the ‘humane’ treatment is something that activist must argue for exactly. In this we are discussing organizations like PETA, or organizations calling for the fair treatment of criminals and of poor minorities. The ‘state of being human’ refers to biology [physiology] but in this context it’ll refer to character, personality, and a sense of morality that is kindred to all humans-or the individual. By no means is this a positive reflection of the individual, though there are positive aspects of some individuals. Humankind is simply the collective of human beings.

That is what defines humanity. In practice we, humans, reveal our humanity by showing compassion to those without a voice in their condition or predicament. We often contemplate about the humane treatment of others, especially those marginalized or oppressed. That is humanity when we are discussing the treatment of others or ‘othered’ people. Those discussions evoke feelings of passion and righteousness. All good and well, however, humanity is often associated with its third definition provided here. Humanity is often associated with violence, deception, untrustworthiness, etc. all that is thought of when we discuss individuals as being part of humankind. The religious of the West may refer to mankind as being wicked, untrustworthy, and impulsive or all those adjectives relating to the thoughts and behaviors of individuals within the collective. It is the individual, then, that taints the meaning of and the imagery of what is meant by humanity.

We are, as individuals, a collection of varying degree of personalities and moral judgements, and by that causes disagreements. We disagree in the way to provide proper healthcare for all citizens of the state. And we allow such disagreements to jeopardize the health of our people. On a personal level we may disagree with a persons’ character or how they may conduct their self outside of the established ‘norm’.  This then causes trivial scrimmages that are not too important at first glance, but are of greater concern knowing that humans engage in pettiness. The individual is often corrupted and dissatisfied too. We base our wants and needs on what we want and need more of generally. For instance, the poor not realizing the economic state of their community will be compromised in the their want and need of something from someone else poor. Or when the poor steals from the poor the community has gained nothing more than a greedy individual. In the discussion of violence, the fight for resources is never a collective action, or so at first, it is the individual against another. And we may find examples of this in reality or in fiction whenever a nation of people, yet in disagreement, are faced with greater trouble. In summation we live in a society plagued by the self-interested.

And because there exist the greater self-interested human beings find it difficult to trust another. This is true that people are distrustful of their neighbor, be it closely related or not. As we age and as we become more aware of the troubles that plague our society-the cost of individuality- we find that more people are distrustful of others than before. When the next generation arises, they too become less trustful of the other (USA Today). This is easily divided among skin color, age and their respective environments and communities they may reside in (Pew Research Center). Those communities more so negatively impacted by the negative connotations of the individual, the self-interested, battle with the issue of trust.

To bring it all a back again, and as it relates to TNG: In a way the humans of Earth, perhaps the Federation exemplified, and preached often, all that is defined by humanity. However, in actuality and as the ‘Q’ character pointed out that humans and humanoid species are the exact antonym of the definition. This then helps me to conclude that the enemy of humanity is not that of a virus- or an entity that exist as a hive-that strips away the positive aspect of the term. Instead, the arch enemy of humanity is the individual, the self-interested.

In Our Society

Where do we see the individual most often? In random acts of violence that speaks to inequality and impoverishment- that may be either a generational effect or a failed individual. We see the individual as we discuss income inequality; racial disparities in the criminalization of citizens; inequitable access to educational resources and influences; experience qualifications for entry-level occupations; etc.. We see the individual as a violent reaction to lack of opportunities and resources in urban or rural communities. Or the subject of the individual whenever we discuss access to the same privileges afforded to the affluent. The individual is the arch enemy of humanity in this sense as it does not allow for peace, or for peace for our society.

Peace is what we aim to achieve whenever we discuss humanity of the individual that aims for it. I am discussing the activist that views the individual as self-interested too. It is in activism do we see the positive aspects of the individual. Where they fight for the marginalized, or they fight for the acknowledgement of the commonality of all of humankind. For instance, the fight to recognize people of the LGBTQ+ are in fact valid in their existence as they are with their inner feelings and truth. Or when past activist had to argue that those of non-Caucasian or European descent are in fact human and deserving of humane treatment. The activist are those that remind us that we can have peace within our society, however, only if all other individuals are willing. And we find that they are not willing to change, not willing to come forward in order to set aside differences. The activist struggles to be a greater influence, despite legislative changes that make their initiatives a reality. What do I mean exactly? In the call for peace, we still have a large population of individuals that are still racist, homophobic, transphobic, sexist, classist, etc.. I could go into great length of each example; however, I’m sure that you can either draw from your own experience or observations how unachievable total peace is exactly in our society.

How Do We Acquire Peace?

According to popular science fiction, we are told that by peace means that we should strip the human being of their individuality. And by no means will humans submit willingly to give up their character. Peace within our society will require that we share no apparent and/or emotional differences. Since we are so incapable of doing so ourselves, the means by which to acquire ultimate peace is a Borg. Here I’ll argue that in line with the argument presented by the humans of the Federation: peace is ultimately achievable without stripping away what qualifies us as human beings. We are able to exist together, yet so very different, if we are to be rid of two concepts. Those concepts are as follows: materialism and that differences are a means to violence.

On Minimalism

The way, in which, to achieve a peaceful society is by be ridding our society of materialism. In doing so we embrace the notion of minimalism. There are different definitions and philosophical understandings of the word ‘materialism’. How I am using the term is in reference to consumerism. By consumerism I am referring to the preoccupation and inclination to buying materials (Merriam-Webster). Though I’m not suggesting a society without means to acquire reasonable material ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ [i.e. clothing or other accessories]. I am suggesting that in a society of excess, and where we are encouraged by either a marketing team our one another to acquire more than what is needed, we then create self-interested individuals. As we call for more, we then have issues with the more affluent assuming rather than sharing more materials. Thus we have on the other extreme the poor taking from those that are poor as well. It’s the assumption we always require more than we need, more than we can afford to posses. In this assumption creates the inequalities and the violence that activist aim to create initiatives for in order to erase. Therefore, the means to peace is by minimalism.

What is minimalism? It is defined as extreme spareness and simplicity. This is meant by foregoing the additional pair of shoes when you have two or three in good or fair conditions. This is meant by the decluttering of house space by allowing only the essence in organization, entertainment and comfort. This may include the actual physicality of the home, by reducing its size the equivalence of a bedroom and kitchen area. Of course this is respective to your relationship status and whether you have additional people to fill up space. However, have you ever thought how much space is wasted then, in obligation to fill an empty space, that we fill it with more stuff? It is wasteful, it is clutter, it is the means by which consumerism still thrives. There are those that hate the superficial aspect about a minimalist. I understand, in the age of social media human beings feel the need for additional fame and approval from others. Thus their minimalism is the cause to spend more money in addition for what they were able to save from what they lack. I’m not referring to those that chase the aesthetics and the fame. I’m referring to how minimalism, as defined could help with the idea for peace.

This is an oversimplification of the facts and factors about materialism and how it affects individuals. I am to prove a point here, and without drawn out specific examples. If we are to forgo what we have in excess, the constant vying for resources would reduce. If we are to give up what we simply want in addition over what we need, we would see less envy from the individual. If we can use minimalism to reduce the assumption that one always require more than what is needed, or one that requires more than what they can posses, then perhaps we can be at peace. To be at peace, meaning to live among others without the assumption of excess; without stripping away what all makes us truly unique. Since we are living in a constantly progressing society, in the age of advance technology and of social media all that is fine. As technology is often considered an excess material when it can be a positive reinforcement. How else are we to share our thoughts and ideas, alike or also different to society and so rapidly?

Acknowledgement of Differences

I encounter this issue quite often on my own as an argumentative personality.  Whenever it comes to an expression of differences, people tend to find it as the source of tension and the reason for violence. This couldn’t be further from the truth, however it is difficult to convince others that it is okay if two or more people disagree. We are individuals, after all, and we have our own characters and moral judgements that are influenced by nurture or our own lived experiences. We are individuals with varying beliefs on how to do something or in what way to determine decisions for all. However, such disagreements are not the cause for upset and violence. As the Federation aims at mending the fraction of a species that are all too similar. For instance, the Enterprise constantly engaging in diplomacy of a species engaged in civil war over simple differences of opinions, values and beliefs. The cause of the Federation diplomats or those experts they may call upon are to remind them that they are all too similar. In one example, in United States politics I call upon issues such as gun violence, healthcare, and taxes. Whereby there are similarities in thought but there are differences in execution. And because of those differences, instead of allowing them for finding a common ground we find that it causes tensions. In some cases it may even cause violence. We reveal that we are unable to achieve peace because we are unable to resolve our differences maturely.

I call upon the classic film The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951). Where an alien, who appeared human as well, warned the people of Earth that if they are not to resolve their differences then they are doomed to be destroyed.

the-day-the-earth-stood-still

This film is quintessential as it aims to address the current political culture of that time with the ending of World War II and the new emergence of the Cold War (1947-1991). As the point was clear it was about the Cold War as the diplomats of the respective countries to be called for peace were those opponents of that war. I like this film as it addresses a political aspect in the midst of other issues surrounding their time that isn’t addressed but revealed. Or having a predominately white cast, though there were a few non-white Americans present as representing the citizens of Earth and of the United States. There was a Civil Rights Movement rising, as there existed no peace for racial minorities or black Americans, Latino Americans, Native Americans, Chinese Americans, immigrants, etc.. And the Women’s Liberation (Feminist) Movement rising, as there existed no peace or equality for women. However, in this time and frame of mind, global peace of the political persuasion was a great concern. As they addressed directly, or not all the several disagreements that caused so much tension and violence that the only way to achieve peace is to introduce an alien, perhaps one that appears similar to the majority demographic.

Peace can be achieved in the matter of differences if we as individuals could understand the concept of compromise. Depending only on some issues as not all are about an equal division of opinion. Other issues can exist with a compromise, or understanding that both parts are equally true. I’m discussing the recent light with police homicides and violence as briefly discussed and will expound upon later here. I’m discussing the issues with taxes and healthcare that is a common issue among many societies. We can achieve peace if individuals are so willing to engage in compromise and to understand that it is for the good of all. In this way we can still retain our individuality without compromising the nation.

To conclude with brevity:

There exist no need for a Borg to correct ourselves, it is only ourselves that should be corrected. Though this is difficult to fathom because it seems so impossible. The beginning of its possibility then is to start with sacrifices.

Monuments to the Confederacy

There is a heated debate over the public presentation of confederate soldier monuments decorated throughout the southern region of the United States. A dozen have been taken down in the light of recent vocal public outrage, which has caused additional outrage in itself.  NBC sites the Southern Law Poverty Center stating that over 1,500 monuments to the confederacy still remain. And the upset on either side of the debate remains as well, since the pressure to either keep or to remove the monuments is the decision of the government. What is the argument of either of the outraged? That the monuments to the Confederacy are history. Well they both agree that the monuments are both symbolic and important. What is the debate then? One side assumes that the monuments are a history of a defense to the crimes against humanity and the treason that cost the lives of over 1.2 million men [and women] union and confederate soldiers. A war that ultimately devastated the economy of the South, which then influenced the history of ‘race’ relations with its freed population of black Americans there after. As to where the monuments should be relocated, the majority consensus say a museum, while others say they should be all destroyed and forgotten. The other side, seemingly the direct descendants of confederate soldiers as well, argue that the monuments are history and should be honored and should remain. The confederate soldiers should be honored for their valor, for the act of fighting in a war. I’ve noticed that those that argue this point are those that support soldiers no matter if the war that was fought was just or justified in its subject. Their offense is that a soldier’s duty has been taken for granted. As well, they ask ‘why now?’ They are asking well the monuments have been present for well over 50 years or more. Why now is the public outraged of their presence?

The argument between the two sides is agreed upon by myself as well. What are my thoughts on the debate rather? I will tell my opinion as a person of several influences. I am a black American, a descendant of black American slaves. I was born and raised in the rural South part of north Georgia. I grew up on a road that was part of the Callaway Plantation Farms, which still remain in name today. I grew up on the same roads as my mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and great-great grandmother who was most likely a slave. My rural town is connected to a historic district town called Washington, GA. In that town I remember my kindergarten school tour to the Callaway Plantation house. As well I remember my time walking about the center staring at the courthouse and the large tree that stood before it. The tree has since been taken down. I always noticed the large tree, however I never paid any attention to the confederate monument that stands before the courthouse. As my mom would drive around I would definitely see it. However I did not know to whom it honored or what it honors. I was never taught in school why it was there. As far as I know I was not concerned, no one was concerned about its presence. Now that I am observing an outrage about confederate monuments, as an adult, my feelings towards the monument of my hometown remains, honestly, unconcerned.

Again, I am a person of several influences and one of my influence is my great interest for, and my study of, history. I have recently graduated with my degree in history, specifically about western civilization. On my personal free time I will read more, watch more, discover about the history of the United States. As one of my southern history professors stated ‘I like history that is told in my backyard’. What I have been taught, and what I have learned on my own, is that the preservation of history is important. As well the preservation of a history torn and destroyed is important. There is a great importance, then, in the matter of people making historic decisions about their history regardless. The fact that a racist society decided to honor the Confederacy with monuments to the soldiers that had died in vain, is a historic decision. The more vocal outrage calling out the racial insensitive that is reminded with the presence of confederate monuments is now history. And if our government decides to take down all 1,500 or more monuments in light of outrage will be recorded in history. We will, indefinitely, be reminded that the American Civil War was fought and Confederacy had lost. We will forever be reminded that this was an important battle fought. This is what makes history interesting. As long as there is a record of an idea and of its existence, we will forever be reminded.

With or without the presence of the monuments, we still have descendants of the confederate soldiers that regard the valor highly. They honor their history with decorated confederate flags as shirts, hats, bras, bumper stickers for trucks. They will forever speak of ‘Southern Pride’ so long as they have children to continue their culture and beliefs. We will still have a segment of the U.S. population to remind us that the Confederacy mattered to millions of people. And that their voice and beliefs is why the monuments were erected in the first place. We are forever reminded.

Should the monuments stay, then? I am stating, as an opinion, to regardless of the decision made by local governments, the history remains and is reminded.