Introduction

During the course of our program we were required to keep weekly blog posts about various subjects and our interactions in real life while educating others. The following are the weekly blog posts for the 10 weeks I was in the internship. The subjects are sensitive and I hope no parties are offended by my words.

Week One: Reflection

This weekend my suitemates and I hosted a Super Bowl party. The people who were in attendance, about 14 in total, were racially diverse; the majority were black but all shades and colors were represented. Wings were served in an open buffet style and it was pretty much an all out free for all. After the food was gone I began to notice that what was once a mixed party became seperate gatherings in the different rooms of my suite. This happens most of the time when we celebrate things but what happened this time really made me take a pause.

      I went to smoke a cigarette with my asian friend; we just lit up on our balcony instead of going downstairs. At this point all of the people in the main suite, which was in view from the balcony, were black. This friend, who I have known since freshman year,exposed to me for the first time that he has racist feelings; he was making a spew of racist comments that were suppose to amuse me. This was an experience I have faced before but for it to happen with this friend who I never had an inkling of knowning he had any racist feelings really took me back. I then remembered when Judy was saying in the retreat that sometimes people will let you in on their secret feelings once they become comfortable. I think this is the scariest realization because its almost as if people can act just to put on a show but in reality still hold ill feelings; I think its comparable to how my own parents support the LBGT community and accept my gay uncle, but also make it clear that I am not a part of that community.

      Overall, I think this class will be an amazing experience and I look forward to the discussions to come.

Week Two: “Don’t be a statistic”

We’ve all heard the term “Don’t be a statistic”, especially those coming from Black and Latino communities. This always confused me; what part of being Latino meant that I had a better chance of dropping out of high school or getting a girl pregnant? I guess the roots of this are in the actual statistics about our community, which may be the reason my parents have warned me of the reality of things. I am then insisted to not be a statistic as if what I am expected to be, in the eyes of society at least, is nothing more than a criminal. 

We can only hope for a day when the statistics are more favorable but until then I think all of us should take personal initiative to at least make a dent.

Week Three: “Wait, Im white?”

This weeks discussion of privilege was definitely much more of a learning experience than our other meetings; while I have heard of privelege before I was not well versed on the matter so I had to do a little bit of listening before being able to contribute anything of value to the conversation. Nonetheless,  Ive made some realizations and now looking at it I benefit from far more priveleges than I anticipated.

First of all, I think all of us are priveleged by having access to an education. Regardless of our personal situations, just the fact that we can be apart of this program and attend this university makes us better off than most.

I also benefit from the color of my skin, which I learned from an early age; going out with my mother, who is dark skinned, and my father, who is light skinned, were two very different experiences. While I was aware of this privelege, I never really considered myself part of the white community. Even so, I cant deny the benefits I recieve due to my complextion.

While these priveleges are more obvious, I think the privelege of being an able bodied male is something that I take for granted. When we watched the video about the things those with disabilities have to deal with there were things I expected but somethings, like getting in and out of bed or using the bathroom, were situations I never even considered to be a problem. The same goes for the video of the matriarchal society; while I expected the rape scene (which is actually sad if you think about it), I didnt expect the cat calls to be so prevalent

Week Four: Major-shaming

Our discussion of SES and class really got me thinking; I think here at stony brook, atleast in my personal experience, the hierarchy is in which major you choose to discipline in. This is inherently related to SES and as its well known that the pre-med student is more likely to prosper and be respected by his peers while a major like sport health science is considered the “easier” path and arent compensated as well for their work.

I experienced this first hand when, like many other students, I came here wanting to be a doctor. That quickly changed when I realized how competative it would be. After my freshman year, I switch majors to Economics. From that day, the way I have been percieved is so much different than before. People assumed I was a genius and hard working when I said I was pre-med while the connotation Economics brought about was lazy and settling for less.

This also intersects with race and sex as well. My roommate is a psyche major, a discipline that many girls undertake, and he told me he gets flack from his father and actually had to take up a second major, biology, just to please him. Another situatuion would be my friend, who is asian and expected to major in a hard science, engineering or math, majoring in Art; not only are they being judge by their parents but they are being judged by their peers, many of whom took the path they were expected to.

Side note:

I wanted to make a comment on upward mobility. I come from a place of privilege but almost all of my close friends here werent so lucky. Even so, I feel like many of them will make more money than me over their life times.

One of my friends comes from extreme poverty, but with help from merit scholarships he is able to attend SBU. He currently is a biochem major on the premed track and has a 3.92 GPA. There is nothing getting in the way of this kid, his will and determination cannot be stopped and it is truly something I envy. He is in a position where acceptance to a top medical school is all but guaranteed (and with a 98% average pass rate of med school, that 6 figure pay check is almost secured) while I will be sending my applications to graduate schools with my fingers crossed.

Not only have I seen this with my peers, but my parents are also examples of “rags to riches”. My mother and father were both born into extremely impoverished families and they were each “the one that got out”. My mother, specifically, went from homelessness at 22 years of age to a member on the board of directors of a corpooration in 25 years. This never would have been possible were it not for her grades and work ethic, and I believe those two things have such a big determination on how far you make it in life.

With that said, I am aware that many communities do not have the same access, or quaility, to/of educational services which gives those with access to those services an upper hand. Regardless though, in my opinion, there are avenues to success that many choose not to take.

I know I said some pretty opinionated stuff so feel free to critique my thoughts

Week Five: Losing Friends

Since the program started Ive been talking about everything weve dicussed in class with my close group of friends. This week I tried to focus on religion and sparks flew. I never knew some of my friends were so passionate about their religion. We are a group of 8 with a mix of different sects of Christianity and me, a nonbeliever, so naturally there were disagreements. I brought up the idea of how all religions could coexist if we could all just get along and the unexpected happened. Instead of agreeing with me they had polar opposite opinions; they believed their sect was correct that everyone else was wrong. It was a shouting match for like 5 minutes but after the dust settled it was agreed that I stop bringing up controversial conversations. I have a feeling they put up this wall due to the sensitivity of the topic but I hope I will still be able to use them as my test dummies.

Week Six: Rape and Abortion

Week Six: Rape and Abortion

Discussing relationships with my group of friends, we came to the topic of pregnancy. My friends, while agreeing that woman should have the right to have an abortion, believed the man should have some say in the matter. They said that in both cases, where the man wants to keep the baby and the woman wants an abortion and vice versa, the man should have atleast some say. I countered their argument with the fact that the woman is the one who sacrifices 9 months of her life to deliver so the decision to keep the baby should ultimately be hers.

They responded with something that really got me thinking. In the case where the woman wants the baby while the man does not, should the man be legally responsible to provide for the child emotionally/financially?

Havent really made up my mind on the subject so I was curious about your thoughts

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Another topic we discussed is the way men are viewed when accused of rape. We have two aquaintances here at SBU that have had rape charges brought up against them that were later dropped when the accuser addmitted to the false aqcusation. Had these “victims” not admitted to their fallacies it could have very well meant that innocent men would have been sent to jail with the only evidence being the first hand account of the accuser. While we all acknowledge that this is not the most common occurence, it does happen (http://jonathanturley.org/2013/08/20/virginia-woman-falsely-accuses-man-of-rape-and-sends-him-away-for-four-years-before-recanting-given-just-60-days-in-jail-to-be-served-on-weekends/).

So heres my question to you guys, do you think that it is fair for a man to be jailed for rape without any forensic evidence?

Disclaimer: I realize this is a sensitive topic so my apologies if anything triggers or offends you