Welcome Caitlyn Jenner by BreC

Caitlyn Jenner’s cover for Vanity Fair has sparked both media attention, and my attention. This monumental accomplishment gave me the inspiration to blog about it. 2-5% of the people in this world are transgender or experience some form of gender dysphoria. 1 out of every 12,000 men are living as transgenders, and 1 out of every 34,000 females are living as transgenders. 20% of these people are now dead. Not due to natural causes or disease, but due to murder. Transphobia has killed 1000s of people. Those who are not dead; however, do not have it easy. Since explicit discrimination laws only exist in 16 states and D.C, brutality against transgenders is overlooked. Since 40% of the violence is initiated by police; it’s open season for other abusers. This article is not about, why people hate transgenders, it’s about Caitlyn Jenner’s accomplishment. However, I do have one question, why do people hate other people because of their differences? Now back to this blog’s purpose.
Vanity’s Fair cover has been graced by numerous supermodels and superstars such as, Naomi Campbell, Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman, Kerry Washington, and now Caitlyn Jenner. Bruce Jenner came on the scene as one of the greatest Olympians of all time. However, modern society is more familiar with him as the father of the Kardashian-Jenner clan. Now future generations will know her as Caitlyn Jenner the silent activist for trans-rights who saved through her story. 
Religious fanatics may say his transformation was the work of the devil, and he’s going to hell. Critics may say his transformation was a publicity stunt and he’s being a media whore. Bruce would probably say, She is finally free. I would say Caitlyn is a hero. People can fix their noses, complexions, and weight, but why is it wrong for people to fix feeling trapped in the wrong body? For decades Bruce has felt trapped in a man’s body. He has finally freed himself, and introduced the world to Caitlyn Jenner. His use of Vanity Fair as an outlet has made a stand for the fallen and battered of the trans-community. In a world where people view gay as weird, this cover is a step towards equality. My personal opinion is it should have been captioned, We Are Human Too!

I wrote this article to ask, after you take your last breathe, is your body still alive? No, it’s not, which means your spirit carries life. A spirit is characterized by energy, not sex. I’m saying this to say the physical body is a costume. This means Bruce was just given the wrong one. In the land of the free, why is it only acceptable to live your life caged? Don’t be hateful, don’t criticize, but let Caitlyn be free. When people start worrying about themselves, rather than others, love can start. I will end by saying I commend Caitlyn for being a silent voice, and have hope the trans-community will one day be viewed as just people.

My sources came from http://www.transgenderlaw.org 

People Hurt Not Words by BreC

Carter attended Northpoint High School, and from the moment he entered he knew he was different from the other guys. Jocks and their cheer leader girlfriends ran the school. From Carter’s stature you would think he was a jock, but he actually was a cheerleader. Carter was not gay, but he identified more with women because he was raised by his mother. He understood their sensitivity and wanted to help them the best way he could. The jocks, nerds, computer geeks, emos, cool kids, and every other kid had a field day with this decision. He was constantly called a sissy, oversized faggot, and tranny. Each day at home he would cry silently to himself because he knew each day at school he would be tormented. The words got too be overwhelming to the point he would hear sissy, oversized faggot, and tranny in his mind when he daydreamed and in his dreams when he slept.

On Monday, March 2, 2015, his mother went to wake him as she normally would. When she looked in his room everything was neat and she realized he wasn’t there. This was a shock to her because he never wakes up on time, and she would have to beg him to clean his room. She called his cellphone and got no response. This wasn’t odd because sometimes he didn’t always answer. At 10am two police officers came to her door, passed her a letter, and said “Ma’am we need you to come to the coroners and identify your son because we found him on the train tracks. When she looked down at the note in her hand it read at the end in big, bold, black letters ” I JUST WANT TO BE ACCEPTED.”

Approximately 105 Americans die a day from suicide. This is about 38,000 people each year (CDC). One of the reasons is because people hurt, not words. When people take time out to make fun of people they do not stop and think of the torment that is caused. Each time the boy that is a little feminine is called a faggot, it’s programmed in his mind that his personality is not socially accepted. Each time a girl is called a whore because she wears short skirts its programmed in her mind her style is not socially accepted. People do not stop and think how this effects people. The boy that is teased could be at his breaking point because he is at war with his sexuality. The girl that is teased could be at her breaking point because she is really a virgin and can’t understand people’s cruelty. As a bully you have to think, is it okay to be a murderer? If I was to go to trial would I get life? This sounds extreme, but the result of someone’s words ended someone’s life.

If you are a person that feels like you can no longer deal with life, seek therapy because your life is worth it, and your death doesn’t only effect you. Use the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 18002738255. It’s available 24/7 for English and Spanish speakers. If you are a bully remember words don’t kill, but people do! So if you are using your words to kill you are a murderer. 

   
 

Social Me: Free Love & Acceptance by Bri Alexander

Hey Guys and Gals! This month on Social me, we will look at the concept of well-being from a more abstract perspective: free love and acceptance. What does it mean to love? Furthermore, what is free love and how does that relate to the concept of acceptance? In our society, we have the definition of love that is plastered on our television screens, blasting our radios and spread throughout our books- but, what about other, non-traditional types of love? Instead of recipes and exercises, today I am going to take you all inside an exclusive interview I had with two people part of the LGBT family, the new revolutionary type of love. As they attest to what it is like to experience a different type of love and how they feel, it is with the highest hopes that a new definition of love and self-acceptance can be sparked and understood.  

Interviewee 1: Damien Moody
1. How do you identify yourself and when did you realize this?

I am a gay black male who has sex change plans. If I can fully remember……I was between 6-9. I had a strange attraction to men but hid my real sexuality for many years due to judgement and also the verbal and physical abuse because people knew and thought I was gay. I also met a lot of Homophobic bullies.

2. What was/is the hardest thing about your experience with identifying yourself and how do/did you cope with it?

The hardest thing I ever went through was the abuse I endured from bullies at schools I went to as well as the drama I suffered because of my oldest brother. He used to bully and abuse me mainly calling me gay slurs and threatening me.

I just suffered the abuse for years until I was old enough to fight back and stay away

3. Are you proud of who you are and is there any person/thing in particular that currently inspires you?

I am very happy with who I became and I will be happy with my future as well. My biggest inspiration is Rupaul.

4. What is some advice that you would give to others in the process of “coming out” and accepting him/herself?

Don’t let anyone stop you from being you. Rupaul say all the time ” If u can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love someone else?” No matter what…… You cannot love or accept anyone before you love and accept yourself. I don’t care if your gay, bisexual, bi-curious, transgendered, transsexual…….you must be you and do not let anyone stop your shine. I been through abuse, bullying, suicide attempts and so much more and survived putting God first. You can do it to and prayer answers every question you have.

Interviewee 2: Keyana Smith

1. How do you identify yourself and when did you realize this?

I identify myself as a lesbian and I realized this when I didn’t like talking to boys or when they did not interest me. When I dated my current girlfriend and I felt comfortable with myself.

2. What was/is the hardest thing about your experience with identifying yourself and how do/did you cope with it?

This was when I was comfortable with myself but I knew my family wouldn’t like it, so I thought that I would take my life. I was thinking that I didn’t want to let my family down so I’d rather take my life before I do that.

3. Are you proud of who you are and is there any person/thing in particular that currently inspires you?

I am very proud of who I am and my girlfriend inspires and lets me know every day that I need to be proud of that.

4. What is some advice that you would give to others in the process of “coming out” and accepting him/herself?

That you should come out and love yourself. People are going to talk about you but the best thing you can do is be you. Never live for someone else because of how you think they will react because at the end of the day you have to make yourself happy and live for you.

 A special thanks to Damien Moody and Keyana Smith for their bravery in sharing their stories. Sometimes, it is the most difficult thing that is the most instrumental. There are a plethora of people who struggle with the choice of whether to express their real, true love for self and others. This month and all months we at Save the Charms encourage all individuals to be open-minded and defy society’s attempt to define love in the one-dimensional context that it often appears.

Here are a list of websites that offer support for acceptance and the process of identity formation:

http://lgbt-social-group.meetup.com/cities/us/pa/philadelphia/

http://www.cision.com/us/2011/06/top-10-lgbt-websites-and-blogs/

http://www.itgetsbetter.org/

  

Locked Out of the American Dream by Aliya Garfield

The Philadelphia School District is failing the city’s children. It is so sad to see that politics are proving to be more important than educating the kids who should be of the highestimportance because they are in fact the future of the city. Continuing on this path will only lead to the annihilation of the black community. This can be easily done by destroying our greatest resource, our youth. Although they are deemed ‘minors’ this title does not accurately describe the youth’s position is society. In all reality the young people are the most important socially and majorly influence all innovation and progress. It sickens me to observe how youth especially poor or black and extra especially poor and black youth are stereotyped, brutalized, and miseducated.  Miseducation is one majorly successful tool that is used to keep the extermination agenda cranking on like a well-oiled machine. I am disgusted with the injustice that is being done to our precious children. Our rubies and our diamonds, are being thrown in the gutter and shown every day just how little they seem to matter in the great scheme of things. 


Mother is the first teacher for most children but pretty early in life we send them off to the care of others for the sake of education. The promise of the “American Dream” tells us to go to school and get a good education, go to college, get a good job, work hard and you will be successful. That no matter where you started in life you have the ability to move up from there and education is the key. But why does is seem to me this formula for success isn’t exactly set in stone? For some the American Dream is one come true but it’s just a pipe dream for many others. A good education is not the same thing for every student. In fact going to school and getting a good education is not the key to success for all studentbecause some students go to school and are unknowingly given a different key, miseducation. 


Consider the state of Philadelphia public schools. I think it was my 2nd semester at CCP that I learned about something called the school to prison pipe line. While some would lead you to believe that this is simply a trend that is the result of strict school policies and zero tolerance rules weeding out so called undesirables it is actually a system that is designed to put our kids on this path to prison for profit. We need to be aware of this system that targets and criminalizes poor and black youth at as young in age as possible and sets them up early forlife in the judicial circuit. Philly schools provide fertile breeding grounds for the fodder to sustain this pipe-line. 80% of the students in the Philadelphia School District are eligible for free/reduced school lunch. This eligibility is an indicator of the extensive levels of poverty in Philadelphia compared to the state average eligibility rate of 43%. Philly is 46% black and more than a quarter of the city’s population is below poverty. Compare this to our close neighbors of Bucks and 

Montgomery counties where the black populations are both less than 10% of the total populations and the below poverty percentage rates are even lower than that. As you ponder these numbers does is make any sense as to why our county jails are a massive complex where individuals can receive their sex change hormones, methadone and HIV meds while watching cable no problem no cost. At the same time schools are finding it hard to afford basics like janitors or a nurse and kids are dying from things like asthma attacks. 


It seems backwards to me that Philadelphia schools spend less per student than a lot of other school districts in PA but the city still claims such a major budget deficit. The federal government provides money for education generally at or belowa rate of about 20% of the total budget with the state and local governments each being responsible for about 40% of the budget for a particular school district.  Meaning it is up to Philadelphia to provide for its children but instead Philadelphia spends millions on a new skate park and plans for a new LOVE park. And there are those that would say one has nothing to do with the other and that I don’t understand the way money is budgeted and distributed. Let me say I would agree that I don’t understand because how could anything be more important than correctly educating the leaders of our future? Don’t tell me there is no money for schools when there is still money being spent elsewhere. Today classrooms have become a place where students are conditioned to pass tests to get a little federal money while the state and local governments,who are supposed to provide the bulk of the cheese, come up way short when it comes to Philly kids.


Instead of taking care of the kids and giving them their best chances a heavy burden is placed on their backs. The federal government sets national standards that states must meet in order to receive federal funding for their school districts. The imposed national standards are so far reaching that they have a major impact in each individual classroom. Much more of an impact than the actual money that schools get from meeting these standards. I don’t see this as fair. The city wants the students to operate on a portion of what should be the budget well enough to make AYPTrying to meet federal standards while being cash strapped is like running in a track meet with a leg cast on and starting in the parking lot instead of at the starting block with everyone else. What makes it worse is that the standards apply a one size fits all approach to education without taking into consideration all the different factors that contribute to a child’s success on a standardized testThe standard on which these test are based are not our own. The design calls for certain groups to fail. 


All of these elements contribute to the miseducation off minority youth. In Philly many groups, black, Hispanic, Asian, poor, urban, special needs, disabled and English language learners, can be considered minority. Something we all need to keep in mind is that together these groups are the majority compared to those who actually benefit from the miseducation system of white supremacy. If we want to change the realities of miseducation it is necessary to create a system of alternative education. It is important for the black community to fund,build, staff and operate our own schools for our own children.Relying on America’s public schools to educate us has left the black community in peril. Without immediate intervention the future doesn’t look to bright at all. 


We as a community have to stop trusting others to give our kids the right key to open the door of success. Otherwise our children will continue to fall prey to pipe dreamsSchool to prison pipe dreams. It is up to us as mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, babysitters, mentors and friends to guide and educate the younger generations. It is also important that we put plans into action. 50 years from now there is no reason for this topic to still be a discussion or idea. Black community schools have the potential to be a reality tomorrow if we stopped buying Jordan’s, Michael Kors, Chinese food and McDonald’s today. If we are locked out of the American dream by design it is well overdue that we create our own dream to live.

Education: A Positive Externality Turned Negative by BreC

Introduction

The Economic Price of College Failure, is an article about colleges failing to deliver an efficient education to students, which hinders their transition into the corporate world. A study was performed in 2005 on students enrolled in four year colleges; from this study the book Academically Adrift was produced. It was realized students who independently studied had a higher rate of succeeding in the professional world, than students who went to class on a daily basis. Incoming freshman in the class of 2005 graduated during the time of the recession. This study showed that, these students were more likely to be unemployed or underemployed after graduation; because their colleges failed to give them the proper education. The purpose of this article and book was to show that colleges are failing society by failing their students (Carey, page 1)

Education is a positive externality. The reason being, when a person is educated the assumption is they have the power to be more productive than an uneducated person. Productivity in regards to education is measured by the quality of the job a student can receive. For example, if a person has a college education, they are more likely to seek a corporate job; rather than an underpaying job. This means that person will make a higher salary. In return, this person will have a higher purchasing power because they will have more money to spend on goods and services. Spending stabilizes the economy because it sends money back into it, and limits government interference. However, education becomes a negative externality when, the education received is not efficient, and the students who are thought to be able to handle corporate jobs under perform. 


Government Interference 

College education is heavily based on critical thinking. Being able to pass a test just simply means, that a student has the ability to remember information for a period of time; however, this does not correlate with performance. Normally, students focus on passing test rather than truly retaining the information. Therefore, governments should force colleges to change their curriculum. Instead of grades being based on testing it should be based on performance. The government should make the college experience correlate to the real world. Instead of professors teaching their students materials, and their students being tested, they should be made to apply it to real life. For example, if an accounting class is Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. A lecture should be given on Monday; this way professors can be sure the students learn the new concept. On Wednesday, students should be made to go to a site (an accounting firm), and apply the information they learned from the lecture in real life. Lastly, on Friday, it should be a reflection. During the reflection, students can discuss their successes and failures, and professors can give them solutions to the failures they had. At the end, students should be required to submit a portfolio. This would ensure students fully understand, and can apply the material they are learning because they would be putting the material into practice. Eliminating testing would give the students the ability to retain and apply information, rather than just temporarily remember it. 

Governments should also make college education free, or more affordable. When students are at a point where they can go to college; they are either discouraged because they cannot afford it, or overwhelmed with how they will pay for it. Many college students pay for their own education. When a student does not attend class, a teacher automatically penalizes the student instead of trying to figure out the problem. The student could be working to pay for college, and be physically burned out. If college education were made free it would lessen the load placed on students, which would give them more energy to devote to their studies. It would also encourage students to apply to college instead of automatically thinking they cannot afford it. If the model of college was changed to learn and apply, and college was made free students would receive the maximum benefit of the college experience. Which is, students would be able to take what they learned, and apply it to real life. 


Conclusion

Education is only a positive externality when the education being delivered is efficient. If students cannot take the material they learned from college, and apply it to a job, colleges have failed their students. Instead of focusing on how well a student does on test, the college model needs to be changed to learn and apply. The reason being, if students are applying the material they learn in class to a field of their choice, by the time four years is completed they will have a greater experience in this field. This means entry level jobs can be eliminated, and college students can automatically receive a higher salary once graduating. Also if college was made free or more affordable, more students would be willing to attend. Ultimately, the more skilled workers an economy has, the more stable the economy. The goal of college should be to maximize the number of attendants and maximize efficiency because this strategy will ultimately stabilize the economy in the future. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work Cited

Carey, Kevin. “The Economic Price of Colleges’ Failures.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 02 Sept. 2014. Web. 16 Mar. 2015.

 

Are We Living the American Dream? by Tieshay Skinner

America is supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave, so why is it that many still dream of freedom? The mighty Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of a world without segregation, discrimination and racism. As an American people have we accomplished this dream? If Dr. King were here today would he be satisfied with President Obama being a representation of his dream come true?

In today’s society the problem of race has been swept under the rug with hopes of ignoring it completely. We cannot ignore the fact that racism still exists. Although we may have a Black President, it doesn’t mean that the problem of the color line has been broken. If anything, it has become a barrier, a barrier between social class and professionalism. Many Young minority lives have been taken due to racial profiling. President Obama as a symbol of our nation is only a small sign of progress towards breaking the problem of the color line. It can also be viewed as a distraction from the ever present issue of race. More so, a distraction from the ultimate goal, the American Dream.

“The problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line.” W.E.B Dubois prophesied this problem for the 20th century and it has carried over into the 21st century. Race continues to divide our people and our nation. The color line is also the double consciousness of being an African American. Being African American requires you to be conscious of what it means to know and distinguish your own culture from that of the dominant culture. W.E.B Dubois said “ An American, A Negro, two warring souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings, two warring ideals and one dark body whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”

America is the land of dreams. Immigrants migrate here dreaming of a better life. Even Americans dream of a better life. We all want the “American Dream”. What is the American Dream? Is it prosperity, money, financial stability and wealth? Is the American Dream really attainable? The American Dream is the ideal that everyone has an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination and initiative. Better riches for all and equal opportunity for everyone according to their abilities. If this is the American Dream and we still have the problem of the color line, is it really attainable? How can we have a dream that visualizes equal opportunities based on abilities when we have racial profiling? I don’t believe such a dream is attainable when America struggles with equality. Equality understands race is not equivalent to proper treatment; but human beings, despite their race should be equal. As long as the problem of the color line exists, how can we achieve the American Dream?

Value the Past by Aliya Garfield

It is said that those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it. Notice the quote says doomed rather than fortunate. It is not a good thing to have to cycle repeatedly through the past but that is exactly the case. The problem is we don’t know our history. ‘Blacks’ and other so called ‘minority groups’ are held down by a system of oppression whether you want to believe it or not. This system has painted a rosy picture of “Americans” and a negative and often shameful history of blacks and others. The way the system works is the power group feels that they deserve the privilege of being in the power group for no reason other than that they are a part of the power group. This message is received from parents and is passed down the generations and is manifested in the patriarchy, white privilege and nepotism. The same thing is happening on the flip side with the oppressed group. Oppressed people internalize negative myths about themselves and pass that negative thinking and the negative effects of this thinking to their children. This is manifested in lost identity, self-hate and group hate, low self-worth, as well as assimilation to power group. All these things each come with their own sets of issues that are super effective at perpetuating the system. The only way to stop the confusion is to bust the myths and educate ourselves and each other. Instead of continually perpetuating the confusion learning our past and leaving our piece is of grave importance. Everyone has opinions and ideas about what we need to do in order to make changes or up our status in The United States as the black community. Well I say the first thing to do is learn yourself both individually and as a whole community. Studying the past helps you see patterns in the present guiding you on how to deal and maneuver. People who pay attention to history are not surprised by black men being shot down in the street and their white murderers walking away with no sweat off their brow. This has been happening and will continue to happen if everyone wants to act stunned every time they hear about it on the news. The shock is being stirred up by the media when in reality this has been the norm in America since before the first Fourth of July. Slave laws are on the books in the colonies as early as the 1640. More than 100 years before 1776 slavery was an institution in what would become the United States of America. “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Beautiful words written by Thomas Jefferson that he did not apply to the people of his time that looked like me or my family members. Any country that can claim all men to be equal in the first line of their Declaration of Independence and at the same time sanction the institution of racial slavery is deceitful in its inception. This country never meant to include us as anything other than a silent labors force so don’t make the mistake of thinking the value of black life should have gone up in American standards just because of the civil rights era. It is time to recognize what is going on here so we don’t have to repeat it.  Don’t be a passive critic of life. Document your stories, the stories of your elders and help your children start their chapters. Teach them to leave their piece of history. This is important because this is how the future children will know what we did and how we lived and dealt with our problems and what were our successes. By creating primary sources that document our time our progeny won’t face the issues of only learning half a revised history. They also won’t have to deal with being forced into a box. When you don’t know yourself you believe the labels forced on you. All of this can stop the cyclical pattern of oppression. When all the negative myths are abolished we can work to together as a community without having to grapple with all the effects of oppression. This is the Black history month challenge, learn your history that the revisionists don’t want you to know. For the month of February I pledge to give up all the hours I would have spent watching reality tv to studying, writing and sharing with others. By putting a higher value on history I am committing to change. How will you commit to change?