Tutor profile: Riana M.
Subject: US Government and Politics
Tell me about the American Revolution
In, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was written. American patriotism was widespread. However, two hundred years later reasons behind why the thirteen colonies wanted to be independent from England after being close allies after the French and Indian war remains debated. But, throughout their bittersweet alliance American colonists were justified in waging war and breaking away from Britain. “ On March 5, 1770, a crowd of Boston boys and men surrounded a number of British soldiers and began taunting and cursing them….Order quickly broke down” ( Doc 3) This marked the day of finally fighting back . The American colonies had spent too much time having to choose between their freedom and safety. Although, it is true that, England helped the Americans fight in war because of the threat of their safety ;Britain had shown that they had little to no respect for the American colonies. Thomas Whately an advisor to George Grenville, a British Chancellor of the Exchequer states “ We are not yet recovered from a war undertake solely for their [the Americans’] Protection… a war undertaken for their defense only… they should contribute to the Preservation of the Advantages they have received…..” ( Doc 1) This demonstrates that most of the English felt that the American colonists were ungrateful because they they reaped the advantages. Meaning, that they should be more than willing to pay above and beyond because the war was for their safety. But, it seems as if the American colonies were used as a scapegoat for why the war started in the first place. This shows, the lack of respect for the American colonies. American colonists were justified in waging war to break away from Britain because they didn’t want to have to keep surrendering their liberties without having any say in political affairs. Civil liberties that were constantly pushed to the side because they weren't being taken seriously. In, Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of taking up arms by John Dickinson states “ We are reduced to the alternative of choosing an unconditional submission to the tyranny of irritated [British officials], or resistance by force. - The latter is our choice”(Doc 5) This exemplifies the tension, the American colonists clearly feel like they have no choice but to fight for their civil liberties. The conflict that, America had with England was beyond a peaceful solution. According to document 6, the American tried to work things out with England but Britain refused to listen to their simple demands. Paine professed, “But ...then tell me whether you can hereafter love, honour , and faithfully served the power that hath carried fired and sword into your land?” ….. “ No man was a warmer wisher for a [ peaceful settlement] than myself .” This clearly, shows that waging war and breaking away from Britain was justifiable. Although it is debateable that, America shouldn't have waged war on Britain it was for the best. American won their independence it was a matter of respect. That being insinuated, the American colonies were justified in the way they fought for their freedom. They didn’t want to keep choosing between their freedom and safety. As a country, they found their own identity. One can clearly see, it was meant to be.
Subject: Urban Studies
What is environmental racism?
Environmental racism is a policy or practice that differentially affects or disadvantages (intentionally or unintentionally) individuals, groups or communities because of their race and/or class, by placement of environmentally hazardous or degraded environments, such as toxic waste, and pollution in those communities.According to Majore Carter, "race and class are extremely reliable indicators as to where one might find the good stuff, like parks and trees,and where one might find the bad stuff, like power plants and waste facilities". She insists that the good quality things meant for a good quality of life are found in white affluent communities rather than ones of a person of color.As humans we are in the era of the things that people do having an erratic effect on the environment which contributes to environmental injustice.Geologists call this the anthropocene age rather than the ones before us who cared about the earth, the holocene. The cause of this is the privatization of certain things like water and public spaces.Environmental racism is a crime against humanity. In the United States of America, there are approximately three hundred and twenty million people inhabiting the area.More than 134 million people live, work, or play amongst other daily life activities nearby industrial zones.Industries such as these manufacture chemicals, treat water or wastewater, produce bleach, generate electric power, refine petroleum, produce pulp and paper, that pose potential health hazard for the people who live in these areas. Unfortunately people of color specifically blacks and latinos live in these areas at a disproportionate rate compared to their white counterparts.Living in these industrial zones affect the quality of life because it can affect the food, air, and the quality of the water. More often than not, it causes serious health hazards for those who are living the area. According to the Federal General Accounting office, three out of five African Americans living below the poverty line are situated in areas close to toxic waste sites.According to Mychal Johnson“In the South Bronx, we have an asthma epidemic. Asthma hospitalizations are five times the national average; asthma deaths are three times the national average; and it is estimated that 1 in every 5 children in the South Bronx has asthma.” The main cause of asthma is the pollution in these industrial zones that these companies cause. I agree with what was stated in the powerpoint in class ,the federal, state and local governments, and the industries should implement the most effective strategies that reduce and eliminate avoidable environmental hazards, and adopt a comprehensive set of policies to protect workers and communities. But I doubt that they would because it makes them a lot of money. Any thing that makes someone money they wouldn’t want to help with certain situations like these. People like this tend to focus on the I.D. part of life. The wants of right now instead of the bigger picture.Corporate decision makers, regulatory agencies and local planning and zoning boards have found it easier to site such facilities in low-income African-American or Latino communities than in primarily white, middle-to-upper-income communities.Poor communities and communities of color usually lacked connections to decision makers on zoning boards or city councils.It's easier to place these things in black and latino communities because it already wasn’t in good shape to take care of in the beginning. Or to some people, people of color in general seem like a burden to begin with.I live in community district 17 and anybody can tell the difference between our neighborhood versus the more caucasian ones. For instance, the library in my neighborhood barely has any books. However if you travel to Clinton or Grand Army plaza you can tell the difference. This may not be out right environmental justice. But everybody deserves a sustainable quality of life. Life may be unfair to all but at times it's more unfair to others.
Subject: African History
How do we analyze the reasons why Achebe wrote "Things Fall Apart"?
Throughout history different scholars from around the world had many perceptions and opinions of what they thought Africa was and was to be. One, out of many opinions was that people in times before the existence of colonialism lacked agency and the ability to help themselves. They were also seen as people who had no language and were not capable of achieving anything of their own. This perception was shown in a book called ‘Heart of Darkness’.Joseph Conrad spoke of the African people as if they have no agency denying them the ability to be seen as equals with European societies. As if there was nothing worthy in Africa. Hence, why the book was called the ‘Heart of Darkness’.However, Chinua Achebe the author of ‘Things Fall Apart’ critiqued this piece of work to show what was wrong about how Conrad viewed Africa. Achebe wanted people to see that Africa was not a “place of darkness” but instead a people that should be understood within the context of their own societies instead of from the lens of Europeans. Achebe wanted to also express that “Africans had a community of their own; that African people had a culture and did not hear of culture for the first time from their contact with Europeans;that [African] societies were not mindless but frequently had a philosophy of great depth”. Achebe uses ‘Things Fall Apart’ to show that pre-colonial Africa had social, political, and economical institutions. First I would like to analyze the political institutions in the Ibo society. The Ibo society were a very religious group of people. They worshipped more than one God because they were a polytheistic society. Their governmental systems were based strongly upon their Gods. However, it was the elders who made sure that what the Gods wanted was carried out without error. It was the elders responsibility to maintain order through the Gods. The Gods were the Ibo people’s constitution. It was imperative that they did exactly what their God’s told them they should do. Gods gave their orders through the Oracles who would give their interpretations to the people. One instance in ‘Things Fall Apart’ is when the Gods gave their order for Ikemefuna to be killed. Subsequently, this act was carried out because as stated before they couldn’t or wouldn’t dare go against what the God’s have said. Achebe also mentions the Egwugwu which shares similarities to the United States Supreme Court. The Egwugwu are the nine spirits of the founders of the villages. Whenever there was some kind of issue that the elders are incapable of solving the Egwugwu would resolve the issue instead. For example, judgment ceremonies were held in an Egwugwu house to settle a dispute between two families or any party involved. Similar to a local courthouse where cases are heard. The elders of the village sat in the front rows of stools with a row of nine seats in front of them. The plaintiff and the defendant gathered in two groups in front of the crowd. The nine "spirits" then came out of the hut with masks on. The leader Egwugwu, named Evil Forest, addressed both groups and then receives their sides of the issue at hand. Then, the nine egwugwu spirits deliberate in the hut and then come out and give the verdict to the crowd. Any consensus that they come to could not be reversed. The way Achebe uses the killing of Ikemefuna and the mentioning of the Egwugwu shows that pre colonial Africa had political institutions. This eradicates the idea that Africa is the “heart of darkness”. Secondly, I would like to analyze the economic institutions and the social statuses of the Ibo society. Although they did not have a capitalist society nor did they have a coinage system, they were a agricultural society. According to ‘Things Fall Apart’ certain crops had more worth and value than others based on men and female crops. Yams were crops meant for men because it was more difficult to grow. Crops such as maize,melons,and beans were meant for women because they typically were meant to take care of the children and other household duties. The more yams and wives had a man had equated to how much wealth and power he had. This was very important in this society because the amount of work a man has done equated to his wealth. Achebe illustrates this when he uses Okonkwo’s father failures to show how hard Okonkwo had to work for everything he had and how wealthy he became. Achebe writes, "[Okoye] was not a failure like Unoka. He had a large barn full of yams and had three wives" (page 6). He was a successful "middle class" Umuofian. Achebe also noted that "there was a wealthy man in Okonkwo's village who had three huge barns, nine wives, and thirty children. His name was Nwakibie and he had taken the highest but one title which a man could take in the clan" (page 18-19). Titles are something that are earned over a man's lifetime, based on his successes. The privilege of having a title is the gained respect. Something that throughout the whole book Okonkwo strived for because his father had none. This image shows that pre colonial Africa were just as human as Europeans made themselves to be. Lastly I would like to analyze the social institutions that make up the Ibo society. Their social structure consisted of marriage, religion, philosophies, and how they interacted during social gatherings. As stated prior the people of the Ibo society are very religious. They believed in polytheism. Achebe shows how the people of Umuofia viewed their Gods by showing the fear and respect they had for them. Without religion they had no governance because their whole entire society was based upon it. In ‘Things Fall Apart’ when the missionaries came with Christianity it slowly broke down their governmental systems. It did them more harm than good because religion was the thing that unified Umuofia. In a greater sense religion was the thing that kept pre colonial Africa together. It was all about staying close to ancestral ties evidently religion was passed down from generation to generation and Christianity broke it. After this new religion arrived people no longer paid as much attention to ancestry or giving back to the earth. For instance before Christianity they believed in Ani the goddess of the earth and harvest. Many people in the Ibo society sacrificed animals to Ani to anticipate a good harvest for the year. She was called upon many times during the year to bless the crops for example for the Feast of the New Yam. It was also said that it is a crime against the earth goddess was to kill a fellow clansman.(chapter 13). The Ibo people also believe that "chi" is also closely related to their religion. Chi was an individual's personal God, which is determined by the individual's good fortune or bad fortune. The Ibo people held their chi responsible for any thing that occured in their lives. Because of this it is said that if you have "bad chi" then evil fortune will surely follow you to the grave.(chapter 3). Another God that the Ibo society believed in was Abagala. Agbala is a God that can tell the future and speak to the spirits of departed fathers from his cave in the Ibo village. Many people come from near and far to hear what Agbala has to say. Agbala appoints a priestess in the village to interpret and share his worwith the fellow Ibo people. “The people look up to her and refer to her as "god-like".The people of the village also listen to every word of the priestess, even if that means making a sacrifice.(chapter 3).” This clearly illustrates how religion shaped the Ibo’s society and gave it order. The second most important social structure was marriage and how the family operated. As stated prior, the more yams and wives had a man had equated to how much wealth and power he had. A great number of wives shows that the man is rich because it shows that he is capable of supporting and feeding his family. Since this is a patriarchal society, the men are the dominant leaders in the family. For example, in the Egwugwu ceremonies, the women are usually found more toward the back, with the men in the front. The man also lived alone in his obi. Then the wives' huts would be on his land in which the children they gave birth to would live with them. Then, there would be other parts, such as a chicken coop. The children would help work on the crops and tend to the animals. They will basically did what their father instructed them to do. The women are usually the ones who make the food for everyone to eat. The husband would be the first person to be served since he is the head of the family. It was imperative for the father to hand down whatever he has to his son. The father will usually give their crops to their sons so they can keep maintaining it. This way, the son will have something to start with for when they make a family of their own. Hence why Unoka wasn’t respected because he gave nothing to his son Okonkwo. It showed that Unoka could not take care of his family. Achebe makes sure to stress that the more crops a man has, the wealthier and manlier. When a young couple is about to get married, the bridegroom’s family gives the bride's family gifts. To impress the family, they may give them things such as bundles of broomsticks, or animals such as goats. (Chapter 8) This shows that the man will be able to support the wife and it leaves a good impression on her family if he gives them a sufficient amount of gifts. The Ibo’s philosophies introduced through proverbs were their source of wisdom. It explained teachings passed down through elders. Before a proverb was stated Achebe would use the statement “as the elders said”. Proverbs stated customs, how the family structure should be, and things of that nature. Proverbs also showed the Ibo people how to greet one another. For example,when Okonkwo wanted a favor to be done he went about it in a particular manner. "I have come to pay you my respects and also to ask a favor. But let us drink the wine first" (page 19). It was rude for the Ibos to come up to someone and just ask a favor . It was preferred that one would come to the person they have a request for and hold a short conversation, in order to catch up, before actually asking for anything. In other cultures, it is acceptable to ask someone for a favor directly but in the Ibo society it is disrespectful. Philosophies and proverbs had a lot of influence on social gatherings. The Ibo people had many ceremonies, social gatherings, and rituals that help them connect culturally, spiritually, and socially with each other. The same way the proverbs do. Out of all of the ceremonies death was particularly the most important. Whenever someone died in the Ibo village under the correct circumstances a funeral is held for them. Only the worthy was given a funeral. The after life was just as important as the time frame as when the person was alive. Ibo funerals are a time to celebrate the one who has past. A godly Egwugwu or two may even pay a visit to honor the deceased. At the end, the spirit of the departed is asked to move on peacefully.(chapter13). In closing , Achebe destroys the fallacy that pre colonial Africa is a place without their own customs and traditions just like any other. Pre colonial Africa had their own governance before Europeans came. That being said Achebe uses ‘Things Fall Apart’ to show the social, political,and economical institutions that the Western hemisphere thought Africans did not have.
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