Friday, July 1, 2011

Issues in Israel

I took a trip to Israel right before our class began and saw some interesting things relating to racial and cultural conflict. With all this conflict, Israel handles the diversity of religion, race, and culture well within its borders. I ate at many Arab restaurants where our Jewish tour guide would talk about how he served in the Israeli military with his Muslim friend from the restaurant. While there is so much hatred against the Jews from other Middle Eastern countries, most Israeli Arabs are content in coexisting. It will be interesting to watch the future of the Palestinian conflict and see if they are able to come to an agreement and coexist as other cultures have within Israel's borders.

Amy Winehouse's website hacked

While the world seems to be progressing on topics of racism and issues with homosexuality, this article gives a good example of those taking on a radical perspective of the two. Singer Amy Winehouse's website was hacked by an African American homosexual group. This group rants about how the internet is run by "The White Devil", and how groups like this one plan on taking it back. With all that is going on with marriage and homosexuality, this is an interesting method of getting your name out there for the cause.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Diversity and Nonprofits

Diversity is a major issue within the nonprofit sector. Problems consist of the makeup of the leadership within organizations being predominantly white. Also, through a quantitative study I noticed that Latinos were underrepresented on the websites of 12 nonprofits, 6 being local organizations serving a large percentage of Latinos. Nonprofits are handling diversity well though when it comes to the absence of stereotypes, and good job on placing different races in different roles as employees, volunteers, leaders, and those being served. Overall, nonprofits seem to be dealing with the topic of diversity better than most organizations and groups out there.


Chapter 5 of Cosmopolitanism deals with the subjects of agreement and disagreement. One example deals with the First Amendment, and how it is possible to agree on what to do without agreeing on why it's right. He goes on to talk about how some might not agree with the Muslim faith and the building of a mosque, but agree that it is allowed. Another example involves the Israeli Palestinian conflict. He talks about how the problem is not that these sides disagree, rather that they both agree strongly in their belief that Jerusalem is a holy city. Therefore, agreement can still lead to conflict. He finishes the chapter stating a major point of the book, that conversation is not to persuade but to get used to a certain idea and to understand it better.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Images in Video Games

Through a study of the most popular 10 games for each six consoles including computer in 2001, topics of violence, racism, and sexism all had interesting reoccurring themes. Half of all games used either contained serious violence, or used violence as a significant part of the plot. Also, no punishment was given for killing in any of the games, and instead a reward normally ensued.
Looking at racism, the study showed that out of the 53 heroes in the 70 games used, 46 were white. Also, most minority characters were in sports, wrestling, or fighting games.
Sexism has a more glaring role than racism in video games, with females being severely underrepresented. Females are most likely to be portrayed as props or bystanders instead of player-controlled characters. Also, the typical female is not representative of an actual female, with a very disproportionate body, exhibiting large breasts, a very skinny waist, tight clothing, and showing lots of skin.

Marriage and Coding

I just began listening to Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink on CD in my car, and heard an interesting example of a coding analysis used for married couples and whether their relationships would last or a divorce was in their future. In the study, couples are asked to discuss a topic within their relationships for 15 minutes. A code of 20 different emotions, such as defensive, contempt, and criticism, are given to both the husband and wife for each second of the conversation. The man who created this analysis has a 90% accuracy of predicting whether a marriage will last or not. While it is an extremely tedious and meticulous example of such an analysis, I thought it was a good example of what is possible through coding.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Senator Harry Reid

There was another story in the article about Democratic Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader and an Obama ally. According to Reid,"In 2008, Obama could succeed as an African-American presidential candidate partly because he was "light-skinned" and because he didn't speak with a "Negro dialect"". While he was defended by black leaders, who regarded him as a decent man after the comments, it is surprising that one of the most important political figures in our country would make a comment like this, knowing that he is a public figure and and must watch what he says. Just reading something like this and thinking about what is going on with Representative Weiner's scandal, it makes you wonder who has really been elected to serve our country. Representative Weiner's ability to put on this mask to gain voter support is interesting when looked in comparison to who he really is.