Where in the World is Scott Brown?

Ever so often I have one of those, “I haven’t been posting in a while,” type posts. Well it’s time for another one! Since it’s the holiday season, I thought it was time to stop being so lazy. Let’s see how long this lasts. 🙂

My most major announcement would have to be that I got a job as a freelance writer for iDropNews.com. It’s a website devoted to all things Apple. The computer company, not the fruit. I write about three articles a week, give or take. I’ve wanted to have a real writing job for a long time and I’m thrilled to have one. It’s not a lot of money, but the experience is worth it. I’m also working as a Tobis Fellow at UCI. I’m working on my own project. It’s been tough to say the least, but I think I’m making some headway.

As always, the war on Christmas is going strong, just how we Atheists like it. Pretty soon, we are going to make you stop saying Merry Christmas. Sorry, that’s just how it goes. Instead we are going to make you say, Happy Imaginary God Day, just to mess with you.

I admit, I haven’t been doing any fictional writing (other than the last paragraph), or really thinking about it much. I keep myself occupied on other things, including Heroes of the Storm. This game is soooo addicting! It’s a lot of fun and the game is free. Just click this link: https://battle.net/recruit/5J8RWQM9KB. That will get you two free characters. 🙂

I spend a lot of money during this season. Much of it on myself, but I also like buying gifts for my family. I came up with some nice ideas and I’m sure they are going to love them. It’s funny, I’m usually pretty good about picking out the right gift for the right person, despite the fact that it doesn’t run in the family! Sure, I’ve had some mistakes, but for the most part I’m pretty good. Just had to brag for a moment there.

It’s hard to believe it’s already the holiday season and it feels like it’s going too fast. Soon it will be the new year and winter will be over. Back to the hot California weather. Hopefully a lot of rain in between then and now, we could really use it. And that’s the small talk portion of today’s post.

Anyway, I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season and that you get everything you want, unless you enjoy being disappointed. Well, I can’t help you there, unless you are happy that I post so little, if so then Merry Christmas!

Taking a Cultural Plunge

The bisexual pride flag.
The bisexual pride flag. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For my final assignment in my Cultural Diversity class, I had to take a cultural plunge. This required me to learn about a culture that is very different than mine. The cultural plunge is designed to help you learn about a group of people you know little about and to help lessen anxiety. Sometimes it can be uncomfortable to be around people you are not familiar with. This can happen with whole groups of people. For example, growing up in a homogeneous environment can make you feel uncomfortable when you have to move into a diverse environment. You may not know how to act or you may have misconceptions about other cultures. A cultural plunge forces you to adjust to a new environment and confront prejudices you may have. It’s a great way to learn about people.

My choice for the assignment was to explore bisexuality. I’m including the link to download the power point presentation:

Cultural Plunge Presentation

It was fascinating to learn about bisexuality and pan-sexuality. I really enjoyed my Cultural Diversity class as it is a reminder that we cannot trust our assumptions of a culture based on one or two people. Meaning that culture is diverse even within one group of people. We tend to make generalizations about people based on our experiences in the past. The example I use in the presentation is assuming that feminists hate men based on dealings with women claiming to be feminists. It’s not fair to paint a group of people as all the same based on meeting a few people who claim to belong to that group. This happens sometimes when tourists travel oversees. When you travel over sees, you tend to be an ambassador for your country, even though you don’t represent everyone in your country!

I really feel that the categorization and classification that our brains use to remember information does not work with people. Racism and prejudice is built on these processes. I think it’s important for us to try and resist the judgments and assumptions that we have when we meet new people. We are bound to make them, but if we question them each time we make them, we begin to train our brains to put less credibility on these judgement. Plus, this allows us to change our perspective if we find that we have made a wrong assumption.

 

Prejudice

I am struck by how powerful negative messages can be when they appease entitlement or false beliefs. Just thinking about the concept of believing in a superior religion, sex, or ethnicity feels strange to me. Biology and genetics have been used to try to prove a superior type of human, namely the white man. One can say this is out of ignorance, but there must be more to it. When Europeans first discovered the African content, they saw the native Africans as  inferior.

Religion, philosophy, and science have been twisted by man throughout history. This is why I believe it is important to be a skeptic. Even so, skepticism is not fool-proof. After reading Even the Rat Was White: A historical View of Psychology, by Robert V. Guthrie, I learned that even psychology has a racist past. Science is not protected from false ideology or false belief. I shouldn’t be surprised I suppose. I learned a lot from the book about where psychology started, an account that you do not usually find in the typical psychology textbook. In part this is because we don’t like to remember the negative experiences of the past.

I feel that the most important message from the book is that diversity is crucial to a healthy society. Now, this is not literally stated, but the book shows how science was stymied from racist assumptions. The attempt of a  lot of white scientists to “prove” the inferiority of African-Americans is likely based on their homogenous upbringing. I would hope that most people today would be appalled at such a notion as one race being inferior. When a person grows up in a homogenous environment, they can form judgements or beliefs that are inaccurate or false. That is why I think diversity is so important and why I am happy to see the U.S. population changing in a more diverse direction. Hopefully that will lead to a more diverse representation in government and the private sector.

Racism, homophobia, and sexism still exist in the U.S. and the world. However, diversity presents us with an opportunity to reduce prejudice. I think that part of why racism was so strong in this country was due to old beliefs based on white superiority. It was also supported by beliefs about heredity being stronger than environment and that European white heredity was superior to other ethnicities. The history of science is not pretty, but that is due to white men who twisted science to fit their own beliefs. Thanks to the effort of African-American men and women, psychology made an important shift away from racist beliefs. You should really read Even the Rate Was White if you want to learn more about the contribution of African-Americans to psychology.

I believe humans to be naturally progressive. Most of us want to grow and improve ourselves. While some do not like societal change, we really don’t have that choice. Society shifts and changes naturally. We can change and improve society through progressive values. What was so inspiring to me about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was his inclusive language. He wanted everyone to come together and fight against injustice. After all, equality is ingrained in the constitution of the United States, even if back then it meant equality for white men and no one else. We can decide to interpret the constitution as proclaiming equality to all people no matter who we are.

We cannot help who we are or who we love. More and more people, specifically of the younger generations, believe this. That is the hope we have to eliminate prejudice. While it may take time, I believe it is possible to live in a world without prejudice and discrimination.