Tuesday, May 2, 2017

America in Cuba ?

In today’s studious thought we are going to explore Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Not literally, but through the lense of a historian and an insider. Guantanamo Bay is US military territory in Cuba that hold prisoners of war, in other words detainees. Detainees are often people from countries such as Afghanistan that are involved in the war, they are either deemed dangerous, suspected to be involved with terrorist activities, or someone valuable that has answers for the government. Usually being a detainee is not a good thing. Guantanamo Bay is particularly known for holding detainees involved in 9/11. These detainees are considered high value, and sometimes they experience cruel treatment and other violent tactics used to get answers from them. These few detainees aren’t the only ones that experience this treatment.
The Geneva Convention, established in 1929, states that torture is ban along with “cruel treatment” and “humiliating and degrading treatment” . Detainees captured in the war were taken to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Although the location is in Cuba, it is US territory. Many wonder, if it is a US territory are the laws the same ? Do they still apply for prisoners in Guantanamo ? Are the prisoners treated the same as US prisoners ? The answers is now, but then there is the question why are they not treated the same ? After all they are in US prison, therefore I believe they should be treated the same as a US prisoner in America. Just because the location is different, that does not mean the laws change. Both locations are still under the constitution. Even though they are powerful prisoners, they should still have the option to be protected by the laws. Then we are left with, who should make the decision about punishing Detainees ? and how do we distinguish punishments for US prisoners compared to detainees ? Unlike regular US prisoners the fate of a detainee is left in the hands of the military, even though  they have the opportunity to go to trial. Therefore the decision maker for their punishment should be the highest ranked officer in the military at the location, or the president.
When I talked to my friend, she agreed with me and said the detainees should be treated like US prisoners. She said they should be treated the same because they are held on US territory. Although they are not US citizens they should be given the same legal rights as a US citizen. She also expanded on the idea of how some detainees are actual criminals, while others are being held just because they are deemed suspicious although they may be innocent. To avoid things like this from happening she said the treatment the detainee receives should be decided by the highest ranked officer at the prison where they are being held, they should only receive the treatment if it is needed.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Switching it up: Japanese in America

Today’s studious thought is going to be a little bit different compared to what it usually is. We are turning a new leaf, and we are going to explore the history of Japanese in America. To start I thought I’d begin with Japanese Internment camps. After the bombing on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the government became suspicious about the Japanese people that were already in the country. The US felt as like they had to protect themselves not only from the people outside of the country, but also inside their country as well. This caused an issue within the US, and it was handled by various strict rules and later internment camps. The executive order 9066 enforced a strict curfew on the Japanese people and forced them to move into new areas. Japanese Americans were forced to sell all of their belongings, and move into camps.

Many wonder if this was the right thing to do to the Japanese Americans, because after all they earned their right to be citizens of America and the new circumstances stripped them of their basic rights. In this case it was a matter of national security against the civil rights of citizens. There was no balance between the two. Japanese Americans were forced to sell their belongings against their will and move into facilities without running water, or the basic necessities they had before. Although the government was trying to protect the American people in the process they hurt some of “their” people (the Japanese Americans).

Racial prejudice has a big part in the way the government treated the Japanese Americans during this time. They did earn the right to be called American citizens, and just because they were Japanese they were deemed suspicious and their rights were taken away. Moving Japanese Americans into internment camps violated their constitutional rights to work, form a home, and live as they please. It also violated their right to due process, because they were removed without a hearing. While the government primarily focused on Japanese Americans, just because of their race, they ignored the fact that there were German, Italian, and more that were disloyal to America.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Jim Crow Today

The Studious talks about how Jim Crow is still alive and well at present...

Although the civil rights movement is over and segregation is “gone,” the vicious past of the Jim Crow era still haunts us today. Whites had to find a way to still have control over African Americans, and they were able to achieve this through government and legal discrimination. To start, segregation was a strategy, through the government, that made it easy for whites to openly show their hatred for African Americans and the true inequality in society. African Americans were always considered the inferior race. This carried on into voting, with various poll taxes and literacy tests. It continues into housing, and segregating neighborhoods. All the way down to the Supreme Court, which had declared in the famous Dred Scott case that African Americans were not citizens, but property. This also led to the unfair trials that were determined by all white juries. You may have thought that all of this was over after the Civil Right movement, but this system was carried into modern day -- although it may have not been made as obvious as it was back then.

There are many different ways that African Americans are secretly, or blatantly, discriminated against in today’s day and age. In order for this Jim Crow system to be continued whites had to think, How could we still have control ? The only way African Americans could be treated as if they were slaves again was through making them criminals. This is the start of the new type of power, mass incarceration. By being a criminal you were 100% put under control of the government, and its strict rules. This started with the War on Drugs in the 1980s. This war was directed towards African Americans, and lower class communities, “ghettos,” that were primarily occupied by minorities. As a criminal you lose almost all of your rights, and you are dehumanized by the system just like a slave. The number one right you lose as a criminal is the right to vote. This is a big way that mass incarceration has become effective, and given more control to whites. Along with the right to vote this takes African American out of the court system, which enables there to be all white juries. Criminalizing African Americans gives the excuse to say that they are unfit to be on juries. Finally, by using the system of mass incarceration it maintains the image of African Americans being criminals in the eyes of the people, and promotes the long living dehumanizing stereotypes of the race.

Thursday, February 16, 2017


Today’s studious thought is about colorblindness, not colors on a rainbow but skin color. Skin color has determined so much for a person since the birth of this country. It has put a label on how you’re treated, where you belong, and who is superior. Colorblindness mainly started after the Civil Rights Movement. African Americans just wanted to be treated equal, and this was not the case. “The age of colorblindness” started with the War on Drugs in 1982. This was the era of many arrests of African Americans because of small offenses for drugs, specifically the street drug crack cocaine. During this time the drug was very popular, and the government used this as a way to arrest African Americans and convict them for small crimes involving drugs. This brings us to more modern day crimes such as getting pulled over for road violations or getting stopped while walking just because of looking suspicious. This is where colorblindness comes in. This is a fight that many African Americans face daily.

Colorblindness attempts to mask the racial caste by looking past race. Although color blindness might seem to be a good thing, it has its problems. It ignores the problem of racism as if it is not there. It does not get rid of microaggressions and stereotypes of genders. Looking past race knocks down one door of discrimination, but leaves others open.

When I asked first asked my sister about her thoughts on color blindness she thought I meant actually colors, but after I explained it to her she had a different response. She expressed to me how the world should be more colorblind because at the end of the day we are all human and our skin color should not define us. I also asked her about how colorblindness should be brought into the justice system. She said “You should face consequences based off of your actions, and not the color of your skin. Wrong is wrong no matter who you are or where you’re from, and you should be brought to justice for what you have done.”

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Common Understanding

      Today’s studious thought expands on the idea of control of the supposedly inferior race, African Americans, through the government. There are a series of major events that all involve the rollercoaster of racial history. The beginning of this rollercoaster was chattel slavery. This was the idea that slaves were not people they were property. They did not have rights as citizens and then this brings us to the civil war. This was a taste of “freedom” given to slaves because it was the emancipation of slavery in the south. Next came Reconstruction, because southern whites were unhappy with the idea that slaves were now citizens and not property. Because of this new found freedom given to slaves the government needed a new way to control them, and they achieved this through the black codes. The black codes didn’t last for long because they were so ridiculous, so the government created the Jim Crow system named after a very famous minstrel character. As the people started to realize what type of system the Jim Crow tried to create, the civil rights movement came about and freed the African American’s throughout the country from the harsh rule of the south. This was not the end of the control the government had over African Americans.
    You may ask yourself, what did these events solve if there are still problems now? Although they granted African Americans the right to live as citizens in this country, there was still the issue of being inferior to the white race. As Alexander states “for them, racial bribe was primarily psychological” (Alexander, 2). This is the underlying issue. This idea was planted inside the poor whites, not only in the south but all over, and this created the strong divide between the African Americans and whites. No matter how close African Americans were to whites they were always inferior, and this is why no matter how many laws are put into place it cannot beat the psychological mindset that is implanted in white people.

The Start of the Separation: Racial Bribing

The Studious thought today is all about the beginning of the Jim Crow system. If you don’t already know, Jim Crow is the system of segregation used throughout the U.S after the abolition of slavery. The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander, breaks down how this system started and how it is embedded in our laws. It all starts with the racial bribe. In the 17th century, poor whites were indentured servants, little better than slaves, and did not have the same opportunity as higher class whites. This created a bond between poor whites and African Americans because they both had the same issue. As a result of this unity between the two races the government felt threatened. They wanted to find a way to “racially bribe” the whites by giving them what they wanted to separate the two groups. By doing this it gave the whites the superiority that they are “supposed” to posses over African Americans. Racially bribing always made sure that African Americans and whites were never equal, although in some ways they were. It gave poor whites the superiority they were able to claim just because of the color of their skin. Wealth was no longer the wedge between people (races). This system created the idea even if you were a low class white American you were still better than an African American that was either equal to you, or above you in terms of wealth and status. It continues to show throughout history when it comes to voting, public spaces, owning land, crime, protection of the law, jobs, and education. Because whites were unhappy with the new freedom granted to African Americans, especially the right to vote, they decided to impose qualifications of being able to vote. Most of these qualifications were well out of reach for most African Americans during this time. There were things such as poll taxes and literacy tests put into place by the government to stop African Americans from being able to exercise their right to vote. Although poor whites would not be able to reach these standards, because they were white these things did not matter.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Implicit Associations and Confirmation Bias

Today’s studious thought will be about confirmation bias and implicit association. These two topics are very relevant in the world today. Confirmation bias is having selective thinking to support your thoughts you already have on a certain topic. For example if you don’t like spaghetti and somebody else does, because you don’t like it you will find anyway to look for something that supports why your view of spaghetti is right. Implicit associations are the psychological study that expose the correlation between a person’s automatic association and representation in their memory. After learning about these topics I took an IAT (implicit association test). The test was actually very fun. I took two different ones. The test asked various questioned. It started with your preferences, then personal information, and then a matching game.  After taking the test I began to think. Where do I see this in history ? I see confirmation bias in Jim Crow laws. A great example of this is the Scottsboro boys case. Although they were continuously proven not guilty, because of the way African Americans were viewed the court always found a way to punish them in some way.