Welcome to Planet Irritability

Pretend it is August, the weather is almost unbearable as it is 100 degrees outside and the humidity is high. You wish you could snap your fingers and in an instant, you are home cooling off next to the air conditioner. But in reality, you are currently somewhere in the middle of Manhattan with a plethora of errands to run. You have no car and must use public transportation to get around. You walk down into the subway station, swipe your metro card, push through the turnstile and look up to see that the train you are taking will arrive in approximately 10 minutes. This is irritating, especially since the subway platform is packed with commuters and it feels like 150 degrees underground. There is no where to sit so you must stand. Perspiration begins to make its way down your forehead 8 minutes before the protracted aluminum cart is scheduled to take you to your destination. 10 minutes now seems like an eternity. You are hoping that the train you will get on has air conditioning as well as various seats available so you do not have to stand, or be sandwiched in between two people you do not care to know.

Just as the subway drummers’ performance begins to annoy you, the train arrives. A higher power has just answered your silent prayer. The light down the tunnel resembles the opening of the gates of heaven. The wind that arrived about 30 seconds before the incoming train has made its stop provides you with reassurance that everything is going to work itself out. That is until it becomes apparent that every cart is packed with people, and you now have to accept the fact that you will more than likely have to stand. Fine, as long as the cart is cool, five stops to freedom is nothing you cannot handle, you think to yourself. As the train begins to stop, you begin to see everyone crowd in front of the doors, barely leaving room for the other travelers to get off of the train. That is when you make your move, securing a comfortable spot — prepared to fight the imminent pushing and shoving quarrel that will take place momentarily.

Everyone rushes off and onto the train simultaneously. There are no seats available as you expected. But you manage to somehow grab a hold of one of the silver poles within the subway cart. You are sharing this pole with about six other individuals, with hardly any room for your back, arms and legs to breathe. The ecstasy you imagined has quickly revealed itself as some sort of purgatory. Most notably because the cart is not air conditioned, and it reeks of onions and rancid breath. Just five stops, only five stops you begin to repeat in your head.

“Stand clear of the closing doors please” is on repeat.

Individuals leaning on the door put a halt to that countdown. This occurs about four times until someone yells, “Stop leaning on the damn door!”.

Maybe that is all it took. The train doors officially close and your journey continues.

“He’s got the whole world in his hands, He’s got the whole wide world in his hands, He’s got the whole world in his hands, He’s got the whole world in his hands”.

No, not today you think to yourself. There is no way a singing panhandler is putting on a performance in a packed subway cart. You instantly regret leaving your headphones at home.

“Listen bro, when we get uptown, you know how it goes down. When shawties see the fit, they gonna feel the drip, and then we dip”.

“Yo, you ain’t ever lie bro, and that’s a snapple fact!”

Two young men converse next to you about what seems to be their plans for the night. It does not bother you too much until they both let out laughter which sounds like two hyenas slap-boxing with Mufasa and Simba.

“He’s got the itty bitty babies, in his hands” the panhandler continues.

“Whaa, whaa, whaa, whaaa, whaaaa”

Perfect timing, the women sitting down in front of you begins trying to console her baby as the weeping only becomes louder and louder. And so does the smell of a diaper which needs immediate changing. And then the train suddenly stops.

“Attention passengers, we are currently experiencing a delay. There is train traffic ahead of us. We will begin moving shortly. We thank you for your patience.” the train conductor communicates.

“Oh nah. This ain’t it bro. We only got like 20 minutes before that sneaker spot closes on 125th”

“Imma be so tight if we don’t get moving, bro”

“Yo facts bro, I need my drip for the night”

In harmony they yell, “FACTS”.

“He’s got the whole world in his hands”

“whaaaaaaaa, whaaaa, whaaaaaaa”

“Attention passengers, we are still experiencing traffic ahead, thank you for your patience”

You close your eyes and begin to mumble underneath your breath. This packed, noisy, stagnant, and hot subway cart is doing something to your soul. For the next 15 minutes you keep your eyes closed, cursing out all those who dare to interrupt your travels on such an already irritable day.

Moments later you open your eyes. You realize the train is moving again, the subway cart is less packed, and the noise level has diminished.

You look up at the automated map and realize you were supposed to get off three stops ago.

“Hello, everyone, my name is Carl. I work for a non-profit organization, and my goal is to hand out as many sandwiches as I can. Now, although not required, a donation of a dollar would very much be appreciated. As this helps to…”

And so it begins, again.

Our current media climate, in my conception, is analogous to the feeling of being on a hot, packed and noisy train. The subway system draws in many individuals from diverse backgrounds within a confined space. This sort of environment is a breeding ground for conflict. Think about it. Would you be happy being inside a small, hot and crowded room with hardly any space to breathe? Especially with people you do not know? You would more than likely become sick and tired of the individuals you are around. This is the same reason why you typically see high crime rates in big cities compared to small rural areas. It is a pretty simple concept. High population + small living spaces = more opportunity for conflict.

Today, many Americans consume media at an accelerated rate thanks to advancing technology. And since people are home “bored” in quarantine, with nothing to do, many have turned to social media to shake off the boredom bug. Being able to connect with an innumerable amount of people all around the world during a time of social upheaval does not better a society. But in actuality, is a detriment to the foundation of said society. This is simply because the events portrayed in the media are bite size depictions of real events. Since you cannot physically witness all of the forces at play which led up to the event shown to you through videos, articles, Twitter, Facebook, the news and etc, you are forced to make judgments based off of your own experience and or the opinion of the individual(s) who have put forth the information.

The internet has the ability to draw vast amounts of people into this space where the world appears smaller than it actually is. Folks in Utah have access to what is happening in New York. Isabella from London can share her political beliefs with people who live in Canada. Undoubtedly, there are many positives in being able to have an abundance of information at your finger tips. This fact is not being argued. But one must also consider the negatives. Consideration of the negative effects the internet bubble has on society is something which has been discussed by various individuals in both the past and present. But yet and still, these considerations seem to be put on the back burner in the name of “progress”.  Discussions surrounding the negative effects of media and technology often make the messenger seem like a technological pessimist. Or one who does not want to adapt to change, and wishes to go back to the bygone era of print culture. The argument I am attempting to make is not centered around throwing technology away in hopes of reliving the past. The point of this piece is to question how media and technology affects society in order to allow individuals to critically think about how the tools they use also uses them.

2020 has been deemed as such a terrible year. Due to COVID-19, the riots, political upheaval, the economic downturn, and the deaths of some celebrated individuals — 2021 can’t come sooner for many people. The flaw in this assumption is the fact that all of the aforementioned issues have always, and will always take place all around the world. Deadly viruses are nothing new, rioting is nothing new, political upheaval is nothing new, economic downturns are nothing new, and death is always a guarantee. So why does it seem like 2020 is one of the worst years on record? This is because we now live in a world where everything seems to be happening all at once. Information about these occurrences are constantly bombarding your news feed on your phone, TV, through social media and etc. This sort of information overload is not healthy for the individual. Especially when many social issues are simply out of your hands. We no longer live in a world where working in a factory, at least here in America, is a job which most Americans do. The industrial era is far gone. We are shifting from the selling of goods, to the selling of information. TV news exist solely to sell consumers information. If the news only sold information relevant to the state or city in which the news outlet is situated, the news would hardly have anything to sell you and advertisers would not find it advantageous to pay these corporations big bucks. This is why, although you may live in Texas, a shooting or a hurricane which may have occurred in Pennsylvania will be covered during the evening news. It’s interesting to see how governing officials of a particular state have based how they handle the spread of COVID-19 on data they received from a state other than their own. The spread of COVID-19 in a dense state like New York cannot be entirely compared to a more spacious state like Florida. A shooting which occurred in Minnesota for some reason now holds precedence in 49 other states where the shooting did not occur. The economic downturn in New York has now become a problem which must be addressed in Tennessee. We live in a time where events seen thousands of miles away from the individual viewing the information, appears so close, one may feel inclined to take some sort of action.

The individual is now beginning to take on the role of the news anchor. People are one video away from being angered by something which was shared to them by someone they do or do not follow on social media. A police shooting in Kansas is now indicative of a police shooting in California, although the context and intricacies of both situations are different. The way in which one set of parents are raising their child seems oppressive now that so many other children around the world can share what their parents allow and do not allow them to do. Social media is a breeding ground for drama, trivialities and amusement. Heroic acts and positivity is undoubtedly appreciated, but drama is vastly more appealing.  People are bored, and educational information which could be applied to ones life is not nearly as entertaining as the doom and gloom stories shared through media. And just like a packed subway cart, there are so many people with different viewpoints cramped together within the internet bubble. Over 85% of Americans have access to the internet. There are roughly 328 million Americans living in America, but interestingly enough, most people know the same popular dances, memes, music, and decontextualized news stories as the person who lives thousands of miles away from them.

Individuals need to begin to think critically about what they are consuming through the media. Was that information important? Why do I believe this information is important? Or is it important to the creator? Are these truly my own sentiments, or do they belong to someone else? If I do not have full context of a given situation, is it feasible for me to take action? If you choose to get on a packed subway cart, are the people around you truly annoying, or have you lost scope of the fact that you made the choice to put yourself in that environment?

What in the George Floyd are people doing?

Planet Idiocracy:

The fact that I must preface this writing by first stating that I am an African-American male is the manifestation of the issue this piece will attempt to convey. Humanity is currently sending people into space, creating advanced AI, augmenting reality, Machine Learning continues to gain ground, and oh, let’s not forget, people are rioting through city streets all over America during a pandemic. But it is for a good cause, right? If that cause pertains to the perpetuation of fanatical idealism — yeah, welcome to 2020 in America. The aforementioned juxtaposition is meant to illustrate the ridiculousness of simplemindedness. For me to believe that because advanced technology exists, most individuals should have a level of intelligence which mirrors the complexities of said technologies, is a logical fallacy. Retrospectively, to believe that the actions of an overzealous cop is somehow reflective of the majority of cops, and in the same token, definitively proves that law-enforcements statistically low and fatal run-ins with people of color are always because of racism is also a misconception.

I can hear the eye rolling already. The simpleton screams, “How dare you! The chaos is warranted. All of this injustice must stop. You are a traitor. You are a character straight out of that Harriet Beecher Stowe novel I did not read”. And then I reply with, “Cool, I guess I am doing something right then”.

George Floyd’s death has been turned into quite the spectacle because it is the media’s job to make money off of decontextualized information. Pulling on the heart strings of many individuals lacking the wits to think rationally. And we love our age of instant gratification and the dismissal of reading for YouTube, Facebook and a plethora of other social media platforms. It is no wonder why many have a proclivity to act before thinking. One of humanities most important abilities — suspending action for thought, eons of evolution and human ingenuity tossed to the side.

The aim of this writing piece is not to continue to add on to the hysteria taking place within America. But the goal of this prose is to create discourse which is devoid of alogical stances. The incident which took place on May 25th in Minneapolis is not vindication to destroy neighborhoods, fight with police, or disrespect your fellow American.

The objectivity of the situation:

George Floyd did not require a knee to his neck for what many sources claim went on for over 8 minutes. Since Floyd did not commit a violent crime, it makes it very difficult and basically incomprehensible to defend the force exhibited in the video. This is of course based upon the video clips that were released on the internet, and not based upon the full picture of the situation, which is impossible to perceive. With that said, one thing everyone should be able to admit, no matter which “side” you are on — Floyd did not pose a threat to anyone once he was handcuffed. Even if he was making it hard for the officers to place him in the police car, or became verbally insolent, a ride to the precinct should have been the outcome. But instead, Officer Chauvin made it his prerogative to go far beyond the call of duty within that particular instance. One of Chauvin’s comrades should have stepped in to deflate the situation, especially once Floyd began to vocalize that he could not breathe. Why not just act as a unified force and place him into the police van? This is a question that I cannot answer, and neither can anyone else except for the officers themselves.

The subjectivity of the situation:

Being able to draw inferences is an important skill. Inferring allows an individual to draw conclusions about a particular situation or event, particularly in the absence of tangible evidence. Pretend you are out for a run, and in the direction you are running toward you begin to hear sirens and the smell of smoke is now in the atmosphere. You decide to run in the opposite direction of the commotion because you have just inferred that there might be a fire taking place somewhere in that direction. This action makes sense because what you perceive is rooted in direct experience. But to infer or make certain judgments about complex situations based off of what you see through a screen, requires a lot more consideration than one might want to accept. Objectively, Officer Chauvin’s actions does not match the crime committed as described by various media outlets. But to say that his actions were based off of racial discrimination is a subjective point-of-view.

The reason is very simple. Only Chauvin knows the real reason why he acted in the way that he did. Observers of the situation cannot telepathically enter Chauvin’s mind, claiming to know his intent is impractical. The media has labeled, and in doing so convinced, and reaffirmed many individuals belief that Chauvin acted out of racial hate. This is not an inference, but an availability bias. Part of being human comes with taking mental shortcuts for survival purposes. The history of racism in America, and the constant coverage of killings pertaining to unarmed Black men by police is the cause of this narrow view of the situation. When we are shown cases such as the one in discussion, a thorough analysis of the situation is suspended because the data that has been uploaded to your brain tells you that probability is in favor of the cause correlating to racism.

Thinking is not burdensome:

Would you say the violent protest that has taken place because of the death of George Floyd is reasonable? Someone living in California, Texas, New York, London, people who were walking down that Minneapolis street when the incident occurred for that matter — are personally affected by this occurrence so much so that it evokes them to riot and loot? All because people of color are at risk of being killed by police officers at an alarming rate? In other words, it seems as if people are protesting and looting because they want to exemplify that these abuses of power are happening far too much, and thus they too and people they know, mainly of color, are at risk. 

This line of reasoning would make sense, if it were in fact true. First we must determine what constitutes as, “far too much”.  Let us take a look at what the statistics illustrate in relation to the number of Black citizens that have been killed by police.

*Updated on March 31st, 2020 Source Link

According to the data above, since 2017, a total of 698 African-American citizens have been killed by police. At first glance, you might believe that number is very high. But of course you must put everything into context. In order to do so, we must determine how many African-Americans are currently living in America. 

Screen Shot 2020-06-03 at 4.44.17 AM
Statistics provided by Census: Source Link

The Census data tells us that African-Americans make up 13.4% of the population. Since there are roughly 328,239,523 people living in America, this means there are about 37,000,000 African-Americans living in this country. There are single schools throughout the United States which have an African-American student body which far surpasses the total number of Blacks killed by police since 2017. In other words, when put into perspective, this idea that people of color are being hunted down by White America and police officers, at an alarming rate, just is not true. The data actually makes it evident that African-Americans have a very low chance of being killed by Whites and law enforcement. 

Since 2017, a total of 1,226 White-Americans were killed by law enforcement, but for some strange reason, this is hardly ever discussed in main stream media. Here comes the simpleton again, ready to tell me that Blacks are disproportionately killed by cops when compared to Whites, which is evidenced in the big gap in population size. To make an assumption and claim that this is because of racism is not only lazy, but extremely dangerous. A simple reason for this could be the fact that Blacks account for only 13.4% of the population, but committed only 101,150 violent crimes less than Whites, according to the US Department of Justice, in 2018. [DOJSource]

This is an appalling statistic when you consider that there are roughly 190,000,000 White-Americans compared to there being only 37,000,000 Black-Americans in this country. 

Areas like the South Side of Chicago is an exemplification as to why there is so much policing in predominately poor Black neighborhoods [1]. To pretend that these paradigmatic neighborhoods are often peaceful and low crime, and everyone there sings Kumbaya around a camp fire while the evil White man comes to murder innocent bystanders is a delusional idea.

Since Whites make-up 77.1% of uniformed officers in America, naturally, you will see more Blacks being killed by White cops.  

Race & EthnicitySource Link

Cops need to be held to the highest standard. We pay taxes in order to employ individuals who vow to protect our communities. With that said, the death of George Floyd occurred in Minneapolis, and the main stream media has put forth this premise that this incident is an exemplification of the lack of accountability within the police force around the United States.

Pretend a teacher from Arkansas decided to show movies the entire year to their class instead of teaching. And a student took a video of the teacher sitting in their chair with their feet up on the desk, while the movie played, and later on the release of this video went viral. Would it make sense that students from other schools, in and out of the state of Arkansas begin to protest and claim that education needs to be fixed now and teachers need to be held accountable? Or, would it be reasonable to say that examples of this sort should be handled on a case by case basis? Meaning, the school community reprimands that teacher since it occurred within that community. And when students from all over the United States view the video, before going out to protest, they first decide if their school environment mirrors what they saw in the video. Would this not be the sensible thing to do? Why perpetuate the actions of one educator, and make a claim that their actions are indicative of the actions of most teachers? We are taught at an early age that generalizations are not advantageous for the growth of society. But yet and still we allow the media to make rash generalizations almost without question. 

The news is not informative: 

Neil Postman was a communications professor at New York University and founded the institutions media ecology program in the 1970’s. He was best known for his work, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business which was published in 1985. Postman was a critic of television, and how the bias of this medium ultimately has an effect on the messages which it communicates. But a few quotes from one of his less popular work, How To Watch TV News, published in 1992 sums up the issue at hand very well.

“Why are there so few television stories about symphonies that have been composed, novels written, scientific problems solved, and a thousand other creative acts that occur during the course of a month? Were television news to be filled with these events, we would not be frightened. We would, in fact, be inspired, optimistic, cheerful”.

“Moving pictures favor images that change. That is why violence and dynamic destruction find their way onto television so often.”

“But film of an earthquake can be interesting even if the viewer cares nothing about the event itself. Which is only to say, as we noted earlier, that there is another way of participating in the news — as a spectator who desires to be entertained. Actually to see buildings topple is exciting, no matter where the buildings are. The world turns to dust before our eyes.”

“The television screen is smaller than life. It occupies about 15 percent of the viewer’s visual field …. This means that visual changes must be more extreme and more dramatic to be interesting on television. A narrowing of the eyes will not do. A car crash, an earthquake, a burning factory are much better.”

The main stream media can only survive if their viewership is thriving. The more people tune in to be “informed”, the more revenue they receive via advertising companies. Therefore, the content cannot be cut and dry. The information they put forth must be about drama because this is what sells. Reporting on all of the good which takes place around the world would be boring, and again, is not advantageous for the media or the advertisers. Usually, when something positive is spoken about, it is diluted by a plethora of negative news proceeding it. In addition, due to our over the top political climate today, main stream media no longer reports things as they are, but as they want them to be seen. CNN will pander to their political affiliations and liberal audience, and Fox News will do the same for their conservative audience and political agenda. Why so many individuals trust these media outlets which clearly provide them with biased information is almost unfathomable. It is safe to say that true journalism is dead. The violent tribalism currently taking place in America today is largely due in part because people cannot put away their phones, and refuse to turn off their “smart” televisions.

The George Floyd case is an example of how the media can take a situation and cause mass hysteria around the world. And the question of who benefits the most from this is rhetorical.

What is most unfortunate is the fact that on May 25th there were probably countless examples of great acts being committed by police officers and civilians. There were astounding examples of humanity working together, irrespective of race. But we are willing to allow an example of an unfortunate incident dictate the reality in front of us.

George Floyd:

I did not know George Floyd personally, therefore I will attempt to avoid making any value judgments. With that said, it is interesting to see what the media chooses to focus on when it comes to how they portray his character to the masses. For the most part, he has been described as Black, unarmed, a father, a Christian, and cooperative. The reason why the police was called on him is usually touched upon briefly and certainly is not at the center of the discussion, and rightfully so. Floyd did not commit a violent crime, and as mentioned earlier, he did not deserve to die because he attempted to purchase items from a store using a counterfeit 20 dollar bill. If anything, it is ridiculous that the store owner decided to call the cops because of this. During a pandemic, when emotions are high and uncertainty reigns, something tells you that calling law enforcement for a petty crime makes sense? Why not rip up the counterfeit bill, and simply tell Floyd to leave your establishment? The store owner or worker, in my opinion, should feel ashamed of themselves. Not because of George Floyd’s death necessarily, but because just like Officer Chauvin, they too were overzealous and half-witted.

The Hennepin County medical examiner’s office has released Floyd’s autopsy report [2].

I would suggest those who are interested should read the full report. The report lays out the injuries Floyd suffered at the hands of the officers, as well as some conditions he was suffering from prior to his arrest. According to the examiner, “No injuries of anterior muscles of neck or laryngeal structures” were found. The fact that Floyd did not suffer from a neck injury stemming from Chauvin’s knee is an important detail. Especially since many are under the assumption that Floyd suffered some sort of traumatic neck injury which in return affected his breathing. Floyd not only had an advanced form of heart disease, hypertension and tested positive for COVID-19, he also had various traces of different drugs in his system. This includes fentanyl, methamphetamine and cannabinoids. But oddly enough, many mainstream media outlets and even some “medical experts” claim that Floyd was healthy. There are many people alive right now who may look and feel fine on the surface, but in reality, they are very ill. This explains why seemingly healthy people suddenly die from heart attacks, brain tumors, strokes, aneurysms and etc, and their loved ones are left in a state of awe.

In other words, it seems as if Officer Chauvin’s excessive force acted more like a catalyst which expedited the inevitable. This does not mean Chauvin should be let off the hook. Had he simply forced, with the help of his comrades, Floyd into the police vehicle, this writing piece would not exist. The reason this information is important is because responsibility should go both ways. Meaning, Floyd should not be painted as this angel who had no hand in his own death.

You must consider all of the events leading up to his descent from Earth. Floyd may have survived had he have taken care of his health. The only exception is his COVID-19 diagnosis, as this infection was obviously out of his hands. But since he consumed hard drugs, he clearly weakened his heart, and the stress of the event was too much for him to handle. Also, had he not have tried to pass a counterfeit 20 dollar bill off as being real, the cops would not have been called, and Floyd would be alive today. And again, this does not take the onus off of Officer Chauvin. Although I will never know his true intent, one thing in my opinion is for sure, this man seemed to enjoy what he was doing. The power he had over Floyd took over him and he acted out of cowardice. But to say it was racism, and then to incite this sentiment which has caused great pain and conflict is absolutely ridiculous.

Why should business owners, innocent bystanders, and good cops suffer because two men who made poor choices in their lives happened to cross paths during the most inconvenient time possible? Now race tensions are higher, and now people of color, cops, people on the left, on the right, and etc, now have an even more skewed perception of one another. Many talking heads on television want people to believe that this video needed to be released, and that again, it exemplifies America’s dark history regarding racism. But look at what is happening? Innocent cops are being attacked and murdered [3], people are arguing on social media, and relationships are being severed due to conflicting opinions regarding this case.

There are many invisible forces which are at work and result in the outcomes we perceive. I believe the head honchos who run these media companies understand many of these situations are a lot more nuanced than they appear. But again, the full picture is impossible to sell.

Final thoughts:

The folks who are out looting and destroying their own communities should be ashamed of themselves. You are not out there to evoke change in a positive sense. You are following the herd, and your identity has been lost and integrated with the group. It is a game of monkey see, monkey do. The ultimate social media frenzy, only to dissipate once this event becomes redundant. Then the media will make an exorbitant deal out of the next “big” event they decide is politically and economically advantageous.

If you live in another state, or country, this matter is none of your concern. You too are being controlled by information being sent to you through a screen. Let the justice system do its job, and if it does not, then it is warranted to begin knocking on doors and asking questions. But too many began to act, well before more information was released regarding the case. And this has resulted in unnecessary conflict and stupidity.

Those who are protesting peacefully, it is your constitutional right to do so. With that said, I wonder if you have thought about this situation thoroughly enough. Given the statistics, and the complexity of the situation, I highly doubt it. You may be marching peacefully, but again, I would ask for what? What do you want out of our government? What kind of a law will stop human-beings from making mistakes? There will always be “bad” people in this world. Thus, you will always have bad doctors, lawyers, businesses men, politicians, and etc. These positions should be held with high standards, but one must never forget, personal survival will always override what you believe should be done for the group. One may claim they are joining certain sectors because they want to make a difference in the world, but in reality, these human-beings take these jobs for their own personal survival, not yours. And you and I are no different.

This overly emotional, and non-critical culture we have become is detrimental to the growth of America. African-Americans as well as other minority groups have a unique and great opportunity to thrive in this country. By perpetuating these sentiments, the youth will believe they have some sort of target on their back, and will use that as an excuse to not better themselves. There are far too many African-American homes lacking the structure needed in order to push the culture forward. Many cultures do not respect the African-American culture because of what is often perpetuated by Blacks themselves. Especially in mainstream media and pop-culture. Since African-Americans are only 13.4% of the population, there is hardly any room for error in terms of how as a collective, the culture portrays themselves to others. When you have too many people doing the same thing, it is hard for others to accept that not everyone from that group or culture is the same.

As an African-American male, I have had the opportunity to go to college, earn a masters degree, and find a good job. My close friends, who are also African-American, and Hispanic, have done well for themselves. And none of us come from money. My mother was a single parent and had to raise me all on her own. But I had certain values instilled in me at a young age, which allowed me to become who I am today. The simpletons will claim that systemic racism is the cause for the issues African-Americans and other minority groups face today. I advise them to let go of the script. Stop allowing people to feed you nonsensical information which emotionally may feel right, but has so many flaws logically. We are all Americans at the end of the day, and we need to strengthen our culture collectively. Stop seeing each other as Black, White, Brown and Yellow, and as American.

If you believe I am wrong, that is fine. Please tell me why. Let’s have a conversation. Open my eyes to something you believe I am not seeing. There is no need to be angry, or upset because someone has conflicting ideas from your own. America is the greatest country on Earth because we have the outlet to express what we believe, without persecution. Now are you ready to join the conversation?

Coronavirus: A few considerations for your sanity!

The Coronavirus pandemic has and will be on the minds of many individuals for the foreseeable future. All of the hysteria and panic makes sense, evidenced in the immense affect this event has had on the world. COVID-19 related deaths, school closures, statewide shutdowns, and stock-market plunges seen throughout the world has many people on edge. Everyone’s apprehension about the future is understandable; but just because an idea, event, or discussion may be intelligible, doesn’t mean it is exempt from superfluity.

It’s understood why there are many conversations being made about possible solutions to the problem of obesity in America. But if the conversation is centered around banning fast-food, or placing limits on how many UberEats orders someone can make in a day, that sort of discourse serves the same function as make-up slathered over a face full of acne. Sure, things may look or seem better, but has the root of the problem been addressed? Since the start of this pandemic, I have witnessed many people stress and obsess over the most trivial aspects of this global phenomenon. Spectating has not only been rather entertaining, but extremely mind-boggling as well.


Free Yourself from Psychosis:
The use of seat belts in automobiles within America was optional until the United States enacted a federal law in 1968, requiring all vehicle manufactures to install the device. A countless number of people died before any viable solutions were brought to the table. It appears that whenever a new technology is introduced in society, there is a period where  the allure of this new apparatus puts those interested, and the users of said tool, into a state of psychosis. Taking the time to study the possible negative outcomes of utilizing a technology is essentially negated during this fanatical moment of progress and innovation. Once automobiles were fully integrated and were used to being seen, that initial allure began to dwindle down.

This factor, along with the rise in death related automobile crashes, allowed many individuals to finally see what was always in front of them. Sure, the seat belt can be seen as the make-up which covers the hormonal induced acne, but that’s a bi-product of the infeasibility of the main solution. The main solution to curbing death related automobile accidents would have been to prohibit the use of these vehicles all together. By the 1960’s, the utilization of cars became an integral part of modern life both economically, and socially. Going backwards may have caused more harm than good. That is why lawmakers decided to grab their make-up kits back then, and why lawmakers are rushing into MAC, today. The reactions to the Coronavirus outbreak is an exemplification of the current psychosis many people around the world cannot break free from.

Spatially Inept:
When life doesn’t go as we expected it to, as human-beings, we tend to go into a frenzy over the unexpected. There arises this inclination to blame everything, and everyone around us, instead of evaluating the faults within our own expectations. As many people are on the verge of losing their jobs due to the pandemic, the blame for the rapid spread of this virus has been placed on Donald Trump, The Chinese Government, a “New World Order”, and a plethora of other unrelated factors.

The rapid spread of this virus is due to the fact that our world has decided that the ability to travel through vast amounts of space in a short period of time is important. When you’re booking that flight, getting on that train, or taking that road trip in a car, the last thing on your mind are viruses. Naturally, most will think about landing safely, getting to the hotel on time, the first beach to be visited, the grandmother you haven’t seen in a decade, and everything else that may be on your checklist. The use of these fast traveling mediums allow us to achieve our goals and help us obtain what we deem as pleasurable or important. But is this all that they do? All innovations both give and take something away from humanity, including the things outside of ourselves. Planes, automobiles, boats and trains have enabled society to achieve plenty, but these innovations also give us the opportunity to digress in other facets. One is able to get to point a and point b faster, but one is also able to transmit different diseases much faster in the process. As you travel through space quickly, everything you have brought with you, including the unseen and uninvited travels quickly, as well.

The Coronavirus has spread through-out the world as swiftly as it has because of the virus’s access to that airplane, train, boat, car, bus, and etc. Conspiracy theorists and vacuous minds alike cannot comprehend the fact that COVID-19  is not a virus which just “appeared” out of thin air. Many viruses lay dormant for long periods of time in other organisms or surfaces where it is safe enough for it to replicate itself. When you come in contact with these other organisms or surfaces, and if the structure of the virus permits it, the pestilent disease has found a new host. The individual who is not well read might believe that the sudden appearance of COVID-19 is due to some government plan to wipe out the population. Part of this assumption is due to a lack of knowledge, but another reason is a result of a lack in spatial awareness. All “news” presented to us on television, the smartphone, newspaper, and all other platforms, can only be presented to us in a decontextualized manner. It is impossible for any of these mediums to show viewers the full context of any particular situation. We cannot be shown how, where, and when this virus began to develop. The only thing the media can give us is their starting point. Or a copy of a copy of someone else’s report on the starting point.

When you combine ignorance with a deficiency in spatial awareness, it makes sense as to why many are conjuring up theories as to where this “man-made” virus came from. Information given to us through the media has an immediate feel to it since it reaches us, the public, so fast. It is forgotten or unacknowledged that what is presented to us through the media has a history, a story line, and a greater context than what we can physically see or conceptualize.


Why should I care?
Allocating time to argue over, or discuss the most trivial aspects of this worldwide pandemic is redundant. All this does is keep individuals from being able to analyze and assess their personal situation. None of us invented the car, plane, boat, or train. But we are still affected by these mediums, whether we choose to be or not. If you are able to understand how different mediums have the ability to shape our culture, environment, and ourselves, especially when tragedies strike, the event itself will be less daunting. This doesn’t mean you live your life in fear, or that you become a technological pessimist, but this does mean you formulate a comfortable understanding of your environment. This way, when something does occur, you aren’t stuck in a state of awe. You will be better suited to face the reality that is in front of you.

Rather than quarreling with people over the origins of the virus, what the president did or didn’t say, what the government is going to do for you, one needs to be able to figure out what one is going to do for oneself and their family. What emergency plans do you have in place? How are you going to use the resources you do have to help alleviate your current issue? How should you alter your habits or lifestyle in order for it to be conducive to what’s happening currently? Forget for a second your concern about where you are going to sit on the plane, what kind of food will be served, what you are going to do when you land, and research or inquire about the safety measures your airline has in place. If you or someone else is sick, and they’re boarding a plane, what safety precautions are in place to stop the spread of disease? Does this information even exist? If it does, how accessible is it? If it doesn’t, what can I do about that? It is also okay to not care, or think deeply about your environment and the objects which help to shape your experience. To live your life in the moment is to also accept that when a crisis happens, that’s just the way things are and you are fine doing nothing about it.

Now, there is nothing wrong with speculating, and being critical of our government and different news outlets. We should question the world around us and the way in which the world is presented to us. With that being said, you must utilize the facts that you have to help you draw different conclusions. Saying x is occurring because of y, without evidence or facts to back up your claim, could be dangerous. Especially in a world where everyone has an outlet to express their opinion to an innumerable amount of people. We should build on each other’s ideas, which are supported by facts, in order to reach or come close to the truth. If we feed into ideas which are based off of emotions and nothing tangible, that is a breeding ground for misinformation, ignorance, and stagnancy.

Maybe I’m missing something. Maybe I’m completely wrong. If so, how? What challenges or critiques do you have regarding what you’ve just read? Maybe I’m in a state of psychosis, awaiting a hard slap to the face.


The Mind Critique: A Reintroduction

Welcome to the reintroduction of “The Mind Critique” blog. First and foremost, I would like to express that I am very excited to begin blogging again. This form of communication is something I have always wanted to partake in, but excuses and a lack of work ethic has been detrimental to my blog’s success. That is of course, until now. That’s enough pondering on the past, let’s get into what “The Mind Critique” blog is about!

I think general consensus would agree that healthy discourse is very important for any given society. After all, language is essential in both the growth and survival of any species. A blog is a great medium where individuals can have conversations about various topics which interest them. I wanted to create a blog where individuals with varying opinions could come and have constructive discussions about issues plaguing America, and society as a whole. With that said, my main goal is not only back and forth discussion. I want people, myself included, to become more introspective about their own beliefs. The Mind Critique blog is not only a place where you come to perpetuate your own beliefs, but hopefully it becomes a space where you question your own notions, and are open to changing your own perspective on an issue or topic when warranted.

This blog isn’t an attempt to sway readers into believing or conforming to the opinions shared on the behalf of myself or others. Mind Critiquing should be seen as a tool which can be used to help us assess how and what we think about. This is in hopes of creating, not a utopia, but a society open to improvement. If you’re still a little confused on what I mean, here’s an example.

Fred is open about being a Democrat on social media. For this instance, let’s use Twitter as the media platform. Fred often tweets about how being liberal is what’s best for society because the party promotes equal opportunities, and preserves human rights. Kevin is also on Twitter, and is open about being a Republican. His tweets consist of conservative ideas which promotes the preservation of traditional laws, family structure and religion. One day, these two human-beings clash on Twitter over conflicting opinions. Fred claims Republicans are what’s wrong with the world today, and Kevin claims Democrats are what’s wrong with the world today. The conversation between the two goes from being sort of constructive, to completely destructive over a course of a few tweets. Nothing productive or positive comes out of their quarrel on social media.

What they are continuously arguing about is minuscule compared to the bigger picture. Here are two human-beings that are drawing barriers between themselves over different political views. Let’s process this for a minute. Fred and Kevin are exuding hate for one another because they feel their political stand-points out weigh something that should draw them closer together. You would think being of the same species, (Homo-Sapiens), would mean much more than being a Democrat or a Republican.

Imagine Fred and Kevin stopped for a moment, critiqued their behavior, and accessed the situation. Sharing their opinions is not what the problem is. The problem is, instead of talking to one another with respect, they chose to bash each other because in their mind, only one person is right. If Fred and Kevin’s ultimate goal were to sign on to Twitter to make themselves feel important, then I honestly believe no resolutions or impactful discourse can come out of that. But, if they mutually Tweeted in hopes of helping other people, then I believe there is value in their discourse.

The Mind Critique blog will attempt to deface ideas which seem to draw barriers between people and communities. I cannot do this on my own though, I need sensible people to help me by contributing their thoughts and opinions on various post on this blog. Again, this blog isn’t an attempt to save the world, but it is here to open the minds of people who wish to express their thoughts and are open to changing their perspective.

I believe change begins with critiquing ourselves. We stay in control of our thoughts and actions by considering the possible outcomes of each move we make. Is what I’m about to say or do going to change a particular situation in a positive light? Or will it bring forth negativity and destruction? Forget putting the blame or pointing the finger at someone or a group, let’s start with ourselves!

The Mind Critique blog will cover current events and topics bloggers want to discuss. Remember, all perspectives are welcome and needed!

This is just the beginning, lets start critiquing together!