Sunday, 30 November 2014

Depression and Recession

The Great Depression 

Homeless shelter in Chicago, 1930

This picture shows a shelter for homeless people during the Great Depression. We can see that poverty was an issue at this time as there are more people than there are beds in this shelter, making some people sleep on the floor. This suggests that homelessness was a problem as this time as shelters were made especially yet they did not have room to accommodate the large amount of people that needed to use them.

The Recession 

Homeless shelter in New York, 2013

This picture again shows a homeless shelter, however this photo was taken in the recession. We again see many homeless people taking advantage of the aid given but there seems to be more beds in this shelter than we see in the earlier one. This could just be the angle of the photographs or it could show us that more facilities have been built to help the homeless problem. In this photo nobody is sleeping on the floor which tells us that homeless shelters are now stricter than they seemed to be in the 1930s. I know that homelessness is still a big issue in America and therefore I do not believe that the empty floors would be down to having less people using the shelters. 

Overall, there is a clear resemblance in both photographs which shows me that the issue of homelessness has not cleared up since the great depression but instead has grown during the recession. 

Depression and Recession

The Great Depression 1930
This image shows men seeking work in an employment bureau in Los Angeles during the Great Depression of the 1930s. After the Wall Street crash, finding any job was difficult in America at this time and almost 19% of the country was unemployed.

The Great Recession 2008
Similarly, this image shows people queuing up in New York in 2010 waiting to attend a jobs fair. The images i have chosen show that little has changed over the years and people are still as adamant to find a job and build their way out of the recession.

In both cases, finding a job was the main priority and due to the high demand many didnt mind what they work as as long as they have a job.

Friday, 28 November 2014


The Great Depression:

This image shows that during the 1930's many people who were unemployed found it very hard to get food and that The Great Depression hit the U.S hard, and had a huge impact in people's lives. The amount of people that were out of work during this time shows us that it was not necessarily the individuals fault, but the unstable economy of the country or even the government.

Recent Recession: 

Helping the homeless in New York City (2008)

This image shows that during 2008 (and still nowadays), people were homeless and most probably unemployed. This is because of the recession that hit the U.S in 2008 which made many people struggle financially, struggle to find jobs and were generally a lot worse off than before 2008. 

The differences between these two images include the severity of the recession because in The Great Depression image there are a huge number of people who are homeless and need food, whereas in the 2008 image there is only one person on their own, showing that homelessness is less of an issue in the 21st Century.

Another difference in the two images is that during The Great Depression there was help from the government as well as private funding, whereas in the 2008 image the man is on a random street in New York City and not with other homeless people getting help/food. The fact that ordinary people in the community are providing support for this man shows that unlike the 1930's, in 2008 the government won't and doesn't offer any support like funding for food banks or welfare/benefits.    

There are similarities between the two images as the first one shows people of many different job industries and it is not obvious whether any of them have education or not, but because the numbers of unemployed during this time was so high, it must have affected a range of people, including people with education. And this is interesting because it provides us with an understanding that in the 1930's it didn't matter so much if you had an education or not because The Great Depression was so great. The same thing is the same for the second image, because the homeless man seems to have books, and possibly an education, showing that even in the 21st Century even with an education you won't necessarily get a job in the recession and it does affect a wide range of people just like The Great Depression. The only difference though is the amount of help you get from the government.

Both images show that not every single person in the country is employed or able to provide for themselves, with food and/or shelter. However, judging just by these images, they show that in modern times unemployment and homelessness effects individuals rather than The Great Depression which effected a mass amount of people such as families. Both images are also anti-social as they both question the ideology of the American Dream.


Monday, 24 November 2014

Success and Self Improvement - Michael Oher

Michael Oher

Oher and Family
Michael Oher is living proof that the ‘American Dream’ is still alive. Oher was one of twelve children born into a broken family; his mother was an alcoholic and drug addict whilst his father spent prolonged periods of time in prisons for various different reasons and was then murdered. At age 7 he was put into foster system and was passed from family to family as well as spending time living on the street. He went to 11 different schools within 9 years and had to repeat first and second grade.

The turning point in Oher’s life was being taken in by the Tuohy family at 16.  They got him back into school and adopted him at 17. Excelling in American football, he played on the varsity team in high school and got multiple scholarships for college. In 2006 his life was detailed in Michael Lewis’ book The Blind Side describing his life from foster child to college football star this was later turned into a film.

From college until early 2013 he was a left tackle for the Baltimore Ravens but more recently has signed a $20 million dollar contract to play for the Tenessee Titans. After the Super Bowl XLVII, Oher told ABC News that "I came so far—from nothing to a Super Bowl championship," Oher told ABC News. "I'm in shock right now."

He has even written an autobiography called I Beat The Odds: From Homelessness to The Blind Side and Beyond.

Michael Ohers success expresses the idea of the American Dream positively and somewhat mirrors the success on Ragged Dick. Both Dick and Oher had a bad background, living on the streets with no one to look out for them however it seems that Dick had to work much harder for his success compared to Oher. Oher came from nothing but used his talent to get ahead where as Dick had to work hard to get not as far.

The American Dream

Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey is an example of someone who has experienced the 'American Dream'. I chose to write about Jim's personal experience as some of his early life mirrors Richard's lifestyle in Ragged Dick. Jim grew up in poverty similarly to Dick so he had to work in a factory after school to provide for his family who at the time lived out of a Volkswagen camper.

Carrey's success came when he performed a gig at The Comedy Store and a comic signed him as an opening act for the season. This led to a film career as he grew confidence in the performing industry.
Jim Carrey now has a net worth of $150 million which is extremely impressive after you learn about his poor childhood.

It is obvious to see the comparisons of childhood poverty between Jim Carrey and Dick in Ragged Dick however, Carrey had a family that he had to provide for whereas Dick had no relatives so he had to completely fend for himself. The other main difference between the actor and the character is the professions they both went into. Jim entered the entertainment profession whereas Dick tried to be as practical as possible and go for a stable counting room job. Although it can be argued that the job was given to him rather than him going out and searching for it so this profession could have been different under other circumstances.

Both Jim Carrey and the character of Dick prove that anyone can be successful with hard work. Jim Carrey is also an example that the 'American dream' is still accomplished today and that it is not just an idea of the past.


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Success and Self Improvement

This website uses the notion of The American Dream positively because it argues that it is still alive today.

"I had parents that believed deeply in this concept and instilled in me- and each of my five siblings- that nothing was unattainable if we worked arduously, courageously and with conviction,"

This shows that the image of success it presents is similar with the book Ragged Dick, because within the book it talks a lot about the importance of hard work and how hard work can make you successful. Also, because the story line of Alger's book is about a poor boy who you could consider having no hope at all in succeeding and living The American Dream, which mirrors what this website is saying- that nothing was unattainable.

This website is very similar to Alger's image of success, because the book seems to have many meanings of what success is and what the idea of The American Dream is. This is because Alger's book suggests that the image of success is not necessarily financial but more about character, which is similar to the websites idea of The American Dream "Could we as a nation have lost touch with what makes us so distinctly "American?"".

"The incredible stories of the Scholars counter any national skepticism about the American dream in a powerful way." This shows that the image of success it presents matches with what Ragged Dick presents because the website is not just talking about Alger's notion of The American Dream being real, but it's actually proving it by mentioning scholars achieving The American Dream, which is similar to the book because it mentions how education is such a great importance in order to succeed and to accomplish The American Dream.

"After emigrating from Vietnam to the United States in 1991, Nathan Nguyen, a 2004 Horatio Alger National Scholar, and his family faced significant financial hardships. Through passion and perseverance, he was determined to help his parents achieve their American dream while pursuing his own path to success. In 2006, two years after receiving his scholarship, Nguyen established Instrumental Savings, a music help center, which Music Inc. Magazine dubbed “the new future of the musical instrument industry” and by the age of 22 he was a millionaire." This is an example of the notion of The American Dream being used/shown positively which matches with the book Ragged Dick because it shows a person who is financially worse off (like the character Ragged Dick), who through hard work, passion and determination was able to achieve success and live The American Dream.

The only difference in the way that success is presented in the website and in the book is that the book doesn't just focus on the values of hard work, but also luck as well. Whereas the website focuses on the hard work element of achieving success "and by the age of 22 he was a millionaire." 

However, the website does show that success isn't just about money and wealth, but also about you as a person "These are just two examples of the many exemplary Horatio Alger Scholars who worked hard to achieve their goals with integrity and perseverance." This shows that these people worked hard but they also had integrity and perseverance, so this is similar to the way Ragged Dick presents the image of success, because they both include the idea of self improvement, which is needed as well as hard work etc. in order to succeed and to live The American Dream. 

Another difference in the way that the website and the book present the image of success is that Ragged Dick has a lot of different ideas about what success is and what The American Dream is. Whereas the website has a much more straight forward idea of what the image of success is and how The American Dream is defined as well as how you achieve it.


Monday, 17 November 2014

Pro and Anti gun control websites

Anti-gun control (

This website is aimed towards LGBT people and it provides information on why someone from a sexual minority should have a gun, as well as information on where in the USA they have chapters of their group. This website states; “The more people know that members of our community may be armed, the less likely they will be to single us out for attack. Join us today. It is your RIGHT.” This shows that the main reason for the creation of this website is to promote the idea that if LGBT individuals are carrying guns then those that wish to harm them will be less likely to target them. It also suggests that if some LGBT individuals are carrying a concealed weapon those that wish to hurt them won’t know which individuals are carrying and which are not so they will be less likely to attack anyone just in case.

One of the main focuses of this website is to provide a place where people who want to arm themselves can go to find out about Pink Pistol groups in their area where they can learn about gun safety, how to get a gun, gun laws in their state, and how to shoot.

This group isn’t heavily involved with any specific political party, but they do promote certain candidates if they feel they promote LGBT rights and their rights to own weapons. They are also not associated with the NRA, and are classed as an activists association.

This website states how it is wrong that you can take so long to be checked to see if you can own a gun to then be denied the right to. Thus, suggesting they are anti-gun control to some extent.

Pro- gun control ( :

This website aim is to change people’s perspective of guns and provide people with the right information on the risks of having a gun in the home, as well as this it also aims to influence and change gun laws to increase the background checks needed for someone to purchase and own a gun. They also aim to hold the gun industry accountable for gun injuries and deaths, such as changing companies so that they have better rules in place so they do not sell guns to dangerous people. I personally feel that this is a better approach than the previous website, which wanted to reduce the background checks so potentially more dangerous people could own guns.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Pro-Gun Control Vs. Anti-Gun Control

Website Comparison

This website is aimed at mother, defending their right to buy and use a gun where necessary. They reinforce the fact that guns are dangerous and should only be used in specific situations; defending yourself, loved ones and specifically children.
When you first look on their website you can tell that they aren’t such an extreme group however on closer inspection they have phrases and promote books with lines like this, “…learn how to anticipate, prevent and handle threatening situations … and then teach your kids.” Guns are dangerous although this group basically says that it is ok for children to shoot a gun as long as they have been taught the right way and how to be safe doing so.

Similarly, this anti-gun website is created and aimed at mothers.  In contrast however they do not believe it is right at all for children to hold a gun and that it is time for “gun sense in America” in order to stop children in particular being hurt and killed from guns. ‘Moms Demand Action’ was founded after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School where a man walked into the school and shot 20 children and 6 staff members dead.

Overall, I wouldn’t agree with the open carry of guns however I think that it is right that people should be able to buy them for recreational use or as a form of self-defence, not necessarily because it is the 2nd amendment though. Personally, I think that being able to buy a gun in the same place as you can buy cereal is wrong and they shouldn’t be so heavily advertised and that there should be stricter policies about who can buy a gun (getting a proper background check on the person beforehand). Although the proper use of a gun may be useful for self-defence or hunting, I don’t think that it is right for children to be able to shoot one and that there should be an age limit on who can use one (either 18 or 21).

Gun Control Website Comparisons

Pro-Gun Control Website -

This website represents the 'Everytown for Gun Safety' movement. The aim of this group is to try and stop gun violence through background checks when buying weapons, stopping gun trafficking and by stopping guns being sold in grocery stores.

The website includes many stories from survivors of gun violence, by including these stories it shows readers how dangerous guns can be. A donation page is also found on this website which allows people to 'save lives' as the website says. This is implying that without the help of this group, many innocent people will be murdered with guns. This idea is supported by the statement at the top of their page which says 'Every day, 86 Americans are killed by gun violence.'

Guns are only shown in a negative light on this website. It focusses on tragedy's that have occurred due to guns and how they are too dangerous to be treated as a common item.

Anti-Gun Control Website

The National Rifle Association is an organisation that 'works to defeat restrictive gun control legislationto pass pro-gun reform legislation, and to educate the public about the facts concerning gun ownership.' This is the opposite to 'Everytown' as they work towards gaining more gun rights and freedoms. 

This website tries to encourage people to become members of the association through advertising perks such as discounts for shops and even insurance. This can be seen as buying peoples support for the rewards it gives. The website also promotes special events such as gun shows, conferences, speeches and competitions. This shows guns as something exciting that people should go and see, not something to be afraid of.

Although this website is promoting anti-gun control, it also talks about how gun safety should be taught properly and that it is important to have correct education in place.

Overall, I do not agree with the idea of guns as I believe they are very dangerous. This has been proven with the many deaths that are caused by the weapons. However, I know that many people do keep them in America and I therefore think that everyone who owns a gun should be accurately trained and they should know the gun safety rules.


Pro-gun control and anti-gun control

Anti-gun control website (Listverse) click here.
This website discusses ten arguments against gun control and against stricter laws preventing civilian weapon possession. Two of the ten arguments stood out to me most, the first being argument number three.

Argument three discusses how something like a gun prohibition law would be similar to the 18th amendment (January 17, 1920) which prohibited the production, transportation and sale of alcohol within the United States. This Amendment was wildly un-popular with the public even though it was very popular in congress and lead to a phenomenal increase in crime rates, (because people simply carried on producing and selling alcohol) as well as an increase of deaths from people brewing their own moonshines and poisoning themselves. Not to mention the gang related crimes increasing, as the website mentioned gangsters such as Al Capone thrived on controlling the importation to entire cities and became extremely rich very quickly. I agree that if guns were prohibited or stricter laws were put in place we would see an extremely similar situation, and a definite increase in gang wars related to weapons trade.

The next argument that stood out to me was argument two and it was entitled 'Laws do not apply to criminals'. In the argument it states 'Laws against murder and violence do not apply to those who intend to die whilst killing as many people as they can.' This is the simplest way to put it, criminals do not care, a criminal will always break the law but a civilian (otherwise known as law-abiding citizen) will not which leaves the civilians without protection for their homes and families. I am not saying that every criminal owns a weapon but they are easy to obtain in America and if gun control laws were brought in I believe the black market for weapons would increase to almost wholesale size making it even easier for criminals to obtain weapons.

Lets move onto the pro-gun control website (The Progressive Cynic), click here.
The second amendment is this websites first port-of-call. The second amendment is said to be the gun lovers 'catch-all defense to their right to carry any weapon that they can get their hands on'. Now I understand the point that the pro-gun control side is trying to make but it just seems a bit of a feeble argument, it is used as a catch-all defence but that is no reason to impose stricter laws. The website goes on to discuss the fact that in it's most literal and law-abiding sense the second amendment does not allow the 'individual, un-attached American' to bare arms. Though surely as time progresses the constitution has to be taken literally within modern limits and factors as now their is a national military rather than separate militias for each state, the second amendment says that the members these militias have the right to bare arms, but whose to say that everyone cannot be part of the militia within their state as in it is almost an open militia.

To sum this blog up, for me gun control laws are adequate and are what they should be. I don't believe that any form of further gun restrictions or prohibitions should be enforced but I certainly do not believe that gun laws should lessen, though it wouldn't hurt for schools to introduce gun education talks and/or compulsory weapons training for anyone holding certain weapons.


Saturday, 15 November 2014

Pro-gun and Anti-gun website comparison

This website looks at both the pros and cons of gun ownership, showing that gun control and guns in general are good and bad that have positive and negative effects in societies,

The title suggests that pro-gun controls are needed because it says "adults" and doesn't mention children, so guns from this point of view are considered dangerous.

However, the fact that there are seven cons and pros to gun-control shows that neither pro-gun or anti-gun control is right or wrong.

Pro-gun control website:
This website focuses on the point of view that guns within the U.S are dangerous, "50 children and teens shot every day in the U.S act now" this shows that they are trying to get across to the public that even though owning guns is a right, it is a dangerous right which has consequences and has a negative impact on the society because the guns are 'wiping out' the future generations.

It also has the argument that among African-Americans, guns are the number one killer of them "Gun violence is the #1 killer of African-Americans ages 15-34 act now" this shows that the point of view of pro-gun control is not to restrict people of their rights but to protect people from gun violence.

After watching the YouTube video on the website, it seems that many of the people who are involved in the pro-gun control website and coalition had been affected by gun violence personally, either by family or friends. So their point of view on guns and gun violence is going to be in favour of gun controls as deaths could be avoided if there were no guns.

 Anti-gun control website:
This website focuses on the view of the second amendment and making sure that they preserve and defend it. They also see gun ownership as a freedom issue rather than a gun violence issue. Because the main focus is on freedom and the second amendment, this point of view suggests that guns aren't dangerous and do not cause violence.

Throughout the website, the majority of the responses as to why you should join Gun Owners of America is mainly because of the right to keep and bear arms and not other reasons such as to defend yourself if you become in danger, or to hunt as a hobby etc. Although you could argue that by stating because of the second amendment, does mean these other reasons to own a gun, this website also suggests that other than this reason owning a gun is not vital.

However, this point of view is about the important rights of Americans which are important and have been rights for many years. And the fact that it's not just about guns it's about the meaning of owning a gun and the freedom to do so.

There are many statistics showing that deaths by gun violence suggests that guns are dangerous and that having pro-gun controls would be better and the best solution of reducing deaths by firearms. However, the other point of view is maintaining American values and rights which without them the right to bear arms wouldn't be an option in the first place. Anti-gun control points of views does also 'follow' the Founding Fathers thoughts on controversial topics such as gun control. "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin.

In my opinion I do not agree or disagree with either, because they both have reasons for and against that point of view. 


Monday, 10 November 2014

American Liberty; Common Core

This video is about the threat to American liberty that 'Common Core' is creating, but the reason I chose this as an expression of American liberty is that, Dr. Pesta has the freedom of speech and the liberty to debate and argue against federal decisions and projects without being oppressed by the government.

So what is Common Core?
"The Common Core is a set of high-quality academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA). These learning goals outline what a student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade. The standards were created to ensure that all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life, regardless of where they live."
Dr. Pesta argues that these standards are not high enough, and that they are actually impeding the children's learning.  Throughout the video he always has the American flag behind him which to me is extremely powerful as it shows me that even though he doesn't agree with the federal government he still has a love for America, which begs the question, does freedom come from government or is it a part of the American ideal that the government can't tamper with?
Furthermore Dr. Pesta quotes many statistics particularly of education and this also shows liberty and the freedom of information that all Americans have access to. Dr. Pesta is also the Academic Director of the FreedomProject Education ( again the ability to create and direct a project specifically designed to question and negate a federal scheme shows a specific liberty that many countries don't have, even countries that claim to have such freedoms and liberties.


Sunday, 9 November 2014

American Liberty

US Presidential Elections 1789-2012

I have chosen a video which shows the results of the Presidential Elections from 1789 to 2012 as an example of American liberty.

I chose this for two reasons, the first being that the right to vote shows the freedom American citizens have in being able to choose someone to represent them. The second reason that I chose this video was because it shows the gradual increase of the different states being able to vote. This shows how there has been an improvement in American Liberty from 1789 to the present day.

There has also been an improvement to American Liberty over the years as you can now be any gender and race to vote where as before when voting was first introduced you had to be a white male. In 1869 African American men were given the right to vote in the Fifteenth Amendment however the 'grandfather clause' was created so many black men were not able to utilise the new law. Women were given the vote in 1920 by the Nineteenth Amendment.

Some Americans are still not entitled to this liberty of voting as an age restriction means that you have to be eighteen to vote. This has been put in place as it is believed that anyone younger would not understand the government system properly and therefore their votes would be unsuitable. There is however some people that believe the vote should be lowered to the age of 16 with the argument that teenagers are responsible enough to drive at that age so why can't they have a say in their future.


American Liberty

Emma Watson UN Speech:

Emma Watson's recent speech at the UN promoting the ‘HeForShe’ campaign is an expression of American Liberty. She is a feminist standing up for gender equality and the campaign aims form males to be advocates for ending the inequalities that women and girls face globally.

She expresses her right to the freedom of speech (the first amendment on the bill of rights) but from this has come a lot of controversy; people either readily agreed with everything she explained or didn’t agree at all.

In her speech she highlights that feminism isn't just for women and isn’t about ‘man-hating’ which has become more recently associated with the term. Instead, feminism is about gender equality; so men shouldn't feel pressured to be ‘masculine’ just as women shouldn't feel pressured to be ‘feminine’. 

Emma Watson's message has clearly been received from some but her target audience was aimed at males also. The letter, from Ed Holtom (15), is the view of one boy who quite clearly agrees with Watson and the ‘HeForShe’ campaign. Quite different to this view, some would argue that the campaign is harsh towards men or is simplistic to assume that men have not been involved in work towards gender equality simply because they haven't been 'invited'.
Watson isn't the only female celebrity that is standing up for feminism, for example Beyonce is also very influential. However, Emma Watson may be one of the first that addresses both males and females.


American Liberty

American Liberty:

I chose this video because it is an expression of American liberty.

The song is aimed at all patriots who are not afraid to stand up against tyranny, the U.S government and Americans in general. When the song is aimed to the U.S government, it is about Americans standing up to the government and that the U.S government is a government of the people, by the people, for the people. The song is also stressing the point that the government won't and can't control it's citizens.

This song has so many complexities to it because it raises political issues and it is aimed at the U.S government and Americans and 'warning' them about the government and what it's doing to the country e.g. that you are being 'controlled' by the government.

"We the people, we're going to fight, for our rights". This in itself is an expression of American liberty because the people don't have to be controlled by the government and by fighting for your rights, includes having liberty. In the song it refers to "we have the right to..." which again relates to the rights, and in the Declaration of Independence it states "certain unalienable rights".

"Here they come, they're coming for your guns". This is related to the 2nd Amendment within the 'Bill of Rights' 'the right to bear arms' which is an aspect of American liberty, as it is a right for Americans to 'keep and bear arms' as it 'shall not be infringed'.

"Are you ready to stand?". This in itself is an expression of an aspect of American liberty, as it shows that you are free to stand up and do something about the government. Also, in the Declaration of Independence it states "it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing it's powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." and "it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

The second part of the video emphasises how much the government controls the people "control our tongue", "your free to do what they say" and "control our thoughts". You could argue that this part of the song questions whether it is an aspect of American liberty and whether the rest of the song is relating to the ideology of American liberty, especially as 'liberty' refers to so many different things including individual liberty.

"1776, does it ring a bell?". This is an expression of an aspect of American liberty because 1776 is when the Declaration of Independence was written and when the United States was free from Britain. Within the song they are using this sentence as a 'reminder' to the U.S government that in 1776 the United States had changed and that the government cannot control etc. the American people. "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it".

"Soldiers away from home". This is an aspect of American liberty because the soldiers that are away from home are fighting to protect American liberty, however some may consider this an ideological idea of American liberty, as there are other reasons that soldiers are away from home.

 "We have the right to speak". This shows an aspect of American liberty as in the 'Bill of Rights' the 1st Amendment states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

You could consider this song as somewhat having an ideological take of American liberty "I love Arizona, State of the free". This is because technically all of the States are 'free' because they are all United.

This song in itself is an expression of American liberty because it shows the exercising of American rights.

I found this video really interesting.

Grace La Traille


Monday, 3 November 2014

Chuck D

Carlton Douglas Ridenhour (Chuck D) was born in Long Island and grew up with both parents being political activists. Whilst at school, Carlton was interested in hip-hop music so he became involved in making flyers and co-hosting on the school radio station. It is by doing this that he met Bill Stephney and Hank Shocklee who he created Public Enemy with. 

Public Enemy broadened the hip hop genre to white audiences as it was previously seen as a black music genre. Chuck used his new audience to become a spokesperson for the black community writing lyrics such as "Some ask us why we act the way we act without lookin' how long they kept us back" in 'Righstarter (Message To A Black Man)'. 

Chuck D said in the past that "Rap is black America's TV station" however he seems to change his mind later on in his life as he says in an interview that "rap music is the world wide religion of people 25 and under, and we have to watch the King James version" This shows his view that rap music can be for both black and white audiences but people only see what the internet and the TV allows them to see. Their views on rap music are decided by the media.  

Chuck D is currently touring with Public Enemy around the world and he still continues to speak up for black Americans and how they are treated. I think that Chuck D is a great example of a successful African American who isn't afraid to stand up for his race and try to improve stereotypes that black people are given. 


Journal Article: Thorpe David and D Chuck, "Chuck D" BOMB, no. 68 (1999): 41.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Race: Barack Obama


Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 4th 1961. He was a civil rights lawyer and teacher before pursuing a political career. Obama is the 44th and current president of the United States and the first African American to hold office. [1]

Being the first African American to gain presidency would suggest that America has moved forward and that ‘race’ is a historical product that is ever changing. However, during Obama’s campaign to run for president, there was a lot of controversy as to whether or not he should play on his race (and whether he did or not is still highly disputed among some). “Many African Americans said that, in order for Obama to win election as President of the United States, he could not bring up race during the campaign” in order not to alienate many white liberal constitutions; although the fact that he did this would suggest that racism is still a large problem in the US.

The journal article goes on further to illustrate, although Barack Obama has made history in being the first African American president in the United States (and that is progress in itself), that he is not “acknowledging the black ancestral struggle that preceded him and which in many ways opened the doors to his rise in American politics”. Obama has ran campaigns for and promoted ‘Change in America’ however when compared to someone such as Martin Luther King and other African American activists, it would be hard to bring something like this about without bringing up race. This makes you wonder whether or not the US will ever be fully equal and without racial discrimination, even in light of the political breakthrough of Obama becoming the first African American president.


           Journal Article: Asukile, T, The Barack Obama New Era: Race Matters More Than Ever in America, The Black Scholar, 38(4), BARACK OBAMA 2009 (WINTER 2008), pp.41-43, Published by Paradigm Publishers, Article Stable URL:


Beyoncé Knowles is an American singer raised in Houston, Texas. She was originally a member of a girl group called Destiny’s Child, but she went on to create her own very successful solo career. Currently her newest album holds the position of the most downloaded album on iTunes, with 828,773 downloads. Beyoncé performed at President Obama’s second inauguration in 2013, which shows just how known she is, as she was asked to perform at such a prestige’s event to such a large audience. 

Beyoncé is part African American and part Creole, and despite this and her being a women she has still won 16 Grammys, made the Forbes Top 10 list of entertainers and earned an estimated $350 million as of 2014. This all shows how peoples view on race have changed as in the past an African American/Creole female singer would not have been able to gain this kind of popularity and success. Beyoncé’s fame is an example of how society’s views on race have changed since the past to allow someone of Beyoncé’s heritage to have such a successful career.

Beyoncé has also had a positive impact on many people as Beyoncé has sang of female empowerment and at the recent 2014 VMA’s she sang in front of a large sign saying ‘Feminist’. She then went on to describe the meaning of the word, this is a significant event as it shows an African American women proudly stating how she believes in equality.

To conclude, I believe Beyoncé is a great example of how an African American/Creole women can be treated in today’s society compared to the discrimination she would have faced in the past. Due to the changes in the views on race Beyoncé has been able to reach the level of stardom she has achieved.


Oprah Winfrey

Who is Oprah Winfrey? says "Billionaire Oprah Winfrey is best known for hosting her own internationally popular talk show from 1986 to 2011. She is also an actress, philanthropist, publisher and producer."
Oprah Winfrey is a household name in the US, and even in England. Even if someone doesn't really know what Oprah does they usually know she is a African-American woman. It is this link that Oprah has with race which adds such significance to her success.

Forbes have given Oprah a 'self-made score' of 10 (10 being absolutely self-made with no wealth coming from her family inheritance) and as of 1/11/2014 her net worth is at $3 billion. 

Oprah was born 10 years before the Civil Rights act of 1964 took place, this act made it illegal to discriminate based on race and gender as well as other factors, so for the first 10 years of her life as an African-American female discrimination was more than legal, it was the done thing. Following the Civil Rights movements through the mid-sixties this opened a huge number of opportunities for black people and women and it meant that Oprah was able to go onto University which is an option that just 20 years before she may not have had or it would have been a black-only University.

From University Oprah gained recognition on a Radio show from which she was asked to host A.M. Chicago for 8 years and she then went on to host her own TV show, The Oprah Winfrey Show. So why does Oprah have an influence on race in the USA? It's possibly because she has proved to so many African-American's that not only has an African-Americn 'made it to the big leagues' but she is a woman also which shows that this white male dominance is a thing of the past. Anyone who says that problems in race haven't changed much in the past 60 years I would ask them to look at Oprah Winfrey and tell me that racial equality hasn't changed dramatically for the better.

Another question to ask is has Oprah contributed to racial equality?
Yes I believe she has, Oprah is one of the most influential women in the USA and just because she hasn't been the leader of any political parties against racism does not mean she hasn't changed peoples views on race. In fact she has managed to change views on race right in their living rooms on their TV sets.

Race issues are ever changing but it is easy to say that someone like Oprah has had a positive impact on the way race is viewed and dealt with in popular culture and society.