Category Archives: Social Behavior

Baby, Cuz I’m a Thug: Consequences of the “Thug” Image

Pit bulls have a bad rap. It’s a stereotype, really, and stereotyping is wrong, right?

Well, maybe not. If you are walking down the street in your neighborhood and you see two Yorkies strolling towards you on the sidewalk, you probably won’t think twice about continuing on your way past them, unless you are afraid of a couple of nips at your ankles. However, if you saw a pair of pit bulls unattended strutting their muscles in your direction, you would probably try to get away as quickly as possible without attracting their attention.
Think about the correlation between that and the Michael Brown situation: your image matters. If you have spent your whole young life trying to present yourself as a “thug” or “hard”, then how could you possibly expect the people of authority not to expect that you will cause trouble when confronted? How can you realistically say that you are being wrongfully stereotyped? The entire appeal of the “thug” image is to represent a “hardened” criminal who has no respect for authority, no regard for the law, and whose is willing to do anything, including criminally to increase their “street cred”.
“Baby, cuz I’m a thug”. Listen, if you want to wear “thug life” on your forehead as a badge of honor, then you are also going to need to accept that you are going to be stereotyped as a “thug” as well. Authorities will assume you are up to no good. Shopkeepers will assume you are a potential thief or robber. People in general will assume that you are a criminal. It is, after all the look you are going for and the attitude you intentionally carry on your shoulders.

Listen, I like the “thug” rap. One of my favorite songs in this world is “Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta”, 2Pac was one of the most talented and irreplaceable rappers of all time and I still harken back to the days I was kickin’ NWA on my walkman. But that’s where it ends for me… I don’t idolize these rappers for anything other than their talent with words, rhythms and beats. They are artists. Entertainers. They entertain me. They pump me up when I am working out at the gym. They hype me up on a Friday night on the town. They make me move when I’m in the club. But that is where it ends.

There is nothing glorious about having an life expectancy of just 20 years and five months. I didn’t even know what it meant to be a man until twenty-five, and most of these “thugs” are dying before they are legally the drinking age? Let me ask you thugs something: why is it that all of these “OG’s” when they have reached around the age of 40 or so (you know, the whole dozen or so people who make it that far in a decade) and actually given their brains a chance to mature and their testosterone a chance to level out, why is it that nearly every one of them tells the stories of how “hard” they were and the stuff they did, and then follows it up with “I was a stupid kid…That’s all I knew and it’s all I wanted…If I could go back now…blah blah blah” looking spiffy in their orange jump suits. Why? Because that kind of stuff is for idiots only. They were swept up in the thug life because they bought into the rap songs and the street cred crap. They had not given themselves a chance at any other life (and don’t even start with that “they weren’t GIVEN a chance… the whole thug mentality is if you want something, take it. Imagine if they applied that mentality to academic achievements, or cleaning up their neighborhood, or starting a business).

The problem is that black people are holding back black people. We are encouraging one another when it comes to being “gangsta” and we are chastising the ones (the few) who manage to get out of the hood and make something of themselves as being “Uncle Toms” and “Cosbys”. You know what, Cosby is right. The shame of it all is that the black community jumps all over another member of the black community like Bill Cosby or Juan Williams when they point out the FACT that we as black people will never be able to rise up in society unless we expect more from ourselves. At what point do you have to stop blaming “the man” for holding you back when you have given up even trying anymore?

As a black man, I am ashamed of the disgusting way people have reacted in Ferguson. I am not saying that the cop did nothing wrong, not by a long shot. I don’t have all of the facts in the case and I refuse to make an opinion on that. What I will tell you my opinion on is the fact that my fellow black men and women take to the streets of Ferguson acting like just plain criminals and the trash of society looting, and throwing rocks at cops. Al takes to the mic and condemns the cops and incites riots and uprisings without even knowing the whole story? Spike Lee says he “hopes” that there is an uprising if the cop is acquitted or not charged without even seeing a photo of the cop’s reportedly beaten face or reading the police report? What pure ignorance.

Let me say this: Ferguson, Travon Martin, etc., these are all examples of “Black Terrorism”. We as a people have regressed into a hate-filled, unorganized yet ready to organize at the slightest excuse, un-unified racially motivated undomesticated domestic terror organization. Without knowing all of the facts we jump to protest. Without knowing any details we assume a side and we protest. When the details come out and prove maybe there wasn’t quite as innocent a victim as we were led to believe, we going even further into denial. Then we threaten looting and riots? We destroy our own towns? We ship in other hate filled people of all colors to help us burn the very stores we patronize? We have we become? When does it end? When are we going to wake up and admit that we kill more of our own people in a weekend than any corrupt cops or mentally challenged neighborhood watchmen could kill in a decade?

We are our own plague. The “thugs” we strive to be are the rats which carry the fleas and we are simply disposing of our dead in our own reservoirs to perpetuate our own failings and inevitably to keep us down. We made so many strides over the mid 1900’s till today, and look at us now? Dr. King would be ashamed of us all watching the chaos in Ferguson. Rev. Al and Director Spike are bathing in it and turning on the tap to keep it flowing.
Call me a Cosby. Uncle this, Uncle that, whatever hateful slurs you want to throw at me because I don’t buy into your automatic hatred and excuses for acting like a criminal and rioting when you are treated like one. Black people, we have to evolve. When are we going to realize that WE are our own worst enemy? The “man” holding us down stopped being the white man years ago, it’s us. Grow up.

 

Image credited to: http://www.stltoday.com/gallery/news/multimedia/scenes-from-looting-in-ferguson/collection_be35e468-a67c-5b30-84ba-50a7384dfd62.html#4

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Here comes the Mac: The Trend of Mac Owning College Students

Being the “IT guy” for the small-medium sized company with whom I have been employed as an independent contractor for these past 4+ years, I have noticed a steady trend when setting up our network for newly hired contractors over the years: the younger they are, the more likely they are to be plopping a dreaded “macbook” on my desk. It became a running joke in the office: someone would say there is a new guy/girl I need you to set up and I would ask them “How old?” and if they responded early to mid twenties I would say “Here comes the Mac”, and sure enough, I was generally unpleasantly not surprised.

I began to question this phenomenon after some time and eventually the answer was very clear and obvious: nearly every one of these “kids” was a recent college graduate. It eventually came to be that I was hearing the same reasoning from almost every one of them “Yea, in class they really all but required that we get a mac for day-to-day use and to use the software and programs they were using to teach us, so you pretty much had no choice.”

It was that last part of the statement that particularly stuck with me: “no choice”. Soon I realized, they were right. These young, anti-conformist, anti-capitalist students were being led by the collar by their institutions into purchasing a product that they could have gotten cheaper had they been “allowed” to buy the competitor’s product, which any of us who went through college will tell you, the more money we save, the more likely we aren’t skipping a meal or two or dozen. The professors were locking the students into buying a product they might not necessarily want by using software which was particular to that operating system and then adding spoons full of the “everybody else is” type of socialist mentality and peer-pressure.

These kids were being forced to either conform or be shunned and possibly fall behind their fellow classmates. I personally find the limiting of choice in one’s life to be a bit disturbing, especially when it is done by someone you are paying! These kids pay for the education they are provided and then are told that they must participate in only one portion of a capitalist market to “fit in” with the professor’s (generally ill-informed) views of the tech market.

What I also found to be very common were the responses the young adults would give me after I asked them “why a mac” and they told me their “pretty much had to…” response when I followed up with “Well, now that you are out of college, do you still like it?”  Most of them responded with an unenthusiastic “yes” or “for some things, yes I still love it”.

Then I asked, “Do you find it as useful as you did when you were in college?” and nearly every single one has answered a resounding “No!” Most people have responded to that question by telling me how unaware they weree that the mac was so limited in software and overall usefulness in the “real world”. That’s right. The overwhelming majority of the young mac users that I have spoken with have explained to me that they have found that the mac hinders their usefulness as an employee and that if they had it all to do again, they would have chosen a pc.

The bottom line is that outside of art and sound related careers, the mac really falls short in the real world workplace. It much more expensive, less capable and less usefull in day-to-day tasks. The mac still is and for years will probably remain the artists’ friend when it comes to portable computing systems, but when it comes to everyday computing tasks, research and analysis, and software availability the pc blows the mac out of the market. The theory that a mac is less susceptible to hackers and malware has been all-but dissolved in the modern-day as well. What that theory was based on was the fact that it was slightly more difficult to develop hacks for macs than it was for pc, but that relied on the fact that hackers were unwilling to put the few extra hours in to their code because fewer people had macs so they would be able to essentially hack fewer people for the time it took them to develop the hack. Now with more and more unwitting kids have macs, you can bet your selfies on the fact that hackers are finding it more worth their time to develop a mac hack.

In the end, I would say 85-90% of the contractors who end up being hired who initially bring in a mac will come to me within a month with a brand new, 1/4 of the price of a mac pc laptop or notebook and I never see them go the other way around. There are a small percentage of the indoctrinated mac users who still swear by their over-priced “toys”, but in the end, a large majority of them finally come over to the “force” and see the light and the utility of owning a pc.

These are simply my observations based on true situations and people I encounter being a tech guy at my office. Every bit of this is my own personal opinion. If you disagree or agree, I’d love to hear your side. I am still trying to figure out why anyone aside from a Pavlovian college student would be interested in owning an overpriced and under-useful mac. By all means, respond and let me know.

About the author:

“Jim”

IT Guy/Head of Research for an independent research and resources company

Unaffiliated with either mac or pc

Uses a computer: About 9-12 hours a day

 

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The Era of Rudeness

There was a time, a time not too long ago, when people who were habitually rude were shunned and ostracized from polite society, a time when mothers told their children to show respect to other people, especially those in authority.  A time when fathers reminded their children, sometimes with corporal force, that rudeness was a quality not tolerated in the household.  This was a time when even shows on the television were sometimes booted off the air or never broadcast because the level of rude behavior was considered too much.  This time is for most, like a home cooked meal, a thing of the past. We are now the rude society, and we wallow in it. Our politicians wallow in it, our schools wallow in it, and our entertainers wallow in it.  When did this change occur and more importantly, why did this change occur?

As with most societal changes, clear beginnings are difficult to pinpoint.  Sometime in the great cultural revolution of the 1960’s a seed was sown.  Surely this seed was planted accidentally. No person or group of persons desired the outcome.  Just like nobody desired the housing market crash of 2008, it was just a consequence of certain forces set into play.  Do not mistake me.  There were many great ideas that came out of the 1960’s.  Vietnam really was a bad idea; other races should be treated fairly, we probably should not wreck the only planet we have been given, and others of that ilk are noble and honorable.  However, the same generation that gave us these benefits, gave us the shortcomings that are now manifesting themselves so viciously.

I hate to be cliché, but the baby and the bath water is highly applicable in this situation.  Instead of moderating the excesses of the time, the culture leapt to the opposite extreme.  Blind allegiance to authority is stupidity; Failure to respect any authority is anarchy.  This leads to people smashing in Starbucks windows in Oakland California and five-year old children speaking like Tony Soprano.  Finding your own way is important.  Thinking that your way is the only way, especially when you are operating on a worldview you developed in the eighth grade is preposterous. The fifties gave us McCarthy, but the sixties paved the way for people like Snooky believing they have a legitimate worldview.

Of course the 60’s was just the murky origin of this disastrous age.  You cannot hold the origin completely to blame for the eventual outcome.  At any point along the line, culture could have chosen to learn the valuable things the 1960s had to teach us, learn from the mistakes made, and move on.  Instead the circus continues.  Looking back you can see the pattern. It begins in the elite, on the fringe, people in controversial movies or in the lyrics of controversial music making statements that most people find distasteful, people treating each other in ways that would be completely out-of-place in the normal world.  Soon it finds its way to television and the radio.  Not very long after that it is in the office, and then on Capitol Hill, and then at your dinner table.  It wasn’t so long ago that people would have marched in an angry mob on the producers of some of the most popular shows on television.  It wasn’t that long ago, that people were actually insulted by music that constantly refers to women as “bitches” or advocates mindless slaughter of large groups of people.  It wasn’t that long ago that Miley Cyrus would now be out on the street trying to figure out where things went wrong. (just an example)

In the end our society, and most of us bear part of the collective guilt, decided not to stop this progression.  Maybe we are okay with the way things turned out…somehow, I doubt it.

-Red Eagle

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