Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Difference Between Love and Hate Can Be One Word, Or A Video By MatPat

This Post Was Written by 
Zachary Connell, Hunter College

Over time, throughout our world, there have always been trends and jokes that were once extremely popular, and loved by all, but have slowly faded away into obscurity, replaced by the next hot topic. Within that other world titled “The Internet”, however, a new system has emerged. Once something popular has been around for too long, it does not just disappear like it used to, the opinion of it changes. Instead of going away, it just becomes a victim of hate, instead of a bringer of joy. But when, why, and how does this change take place?
To give you an example of what I mean, take the video game Minecraft, which came out in 2010. While I cannot speak for everyone, I certainly played a lot of Minecraft in Middle School, and I know for a fact a large number of children still are playing the game to this day. On the Internet, the popularity for Minecraft had been gone for awhile, but just recently Minecraft has resurfaced, but not because people are playing the game, but because they are making fun of it, and those who do play it. This resurgence in popularity has stemmed largely from poking fun at the game’s younger audience in an ironic way. When the game was still originally popular, it was popular to create parodies of popular songs that have to do with Minecraft. YouTubers like “MineCraft Awesome Parodys” and “GalaxyGoats” have reignited the popularity by making intentionally horrible Minecraft parodies of popular songs, to poke fun at the younger audience that still plays the game, and combined, have over 450 thousand subscribers:

Undertale, another video game, has been another once hot topic to be the subject of ridicule on the net. Unlike Minecraft, whose popularity came about before the internet had gone full throttle, Undertale came out in late 2015, and once was extremely popular on every level of the internet. What are the “levels” of the internet? Well, recently there seem to be at least two distinct levels of pop culture on the internet. The first level consists of websites like Reddit, 4Chan, and some YouTube channels, where most internet trends seem to begin. The second level is… everything else. Undertale was once enjoyed by the users on these “first level” websites, and they brought the small, indie game into the limelight. Once the popularity spread outside the small internet community on the first level, they claimed that the “fandom” had ruined the game, and started a new trend about hating the game instead of liking it.

 The linguistic aspect of this culture is how the people on this first level have labeled their reason to hate the game now instead of like it. It stems from the “fandom” of the game, and how the game became popular with the “normies”. Both of these words have been used the describe the large number of people who, according to the first level users, have taken their trend and ruined it by spreading it to other websites like Facebook, DeviantArt, and Tumblr. The biggest moment that turned Undertale from a popular “meme” to the laughing stock of the internet was just one video posted by Matthew Patrick (AKA MatPat) on his YouTube channel “The Game Theorists”. The video explains how on a trip to see the Pope, he used his meeting to give him a video game: Undertale. While there was not much towards the game because of this, it is symbolic for the game’s spread outside of this first level, and into the public, and eventually, a new trend was born, this one making fun of Undertale rather than celebrating it.

The newest and largest case of internet code switching yet has taken Undertale out of the line of fire, however. Just recently TV Series Rick and Morty has almost out of nowhere to become the latest trend to be hated by these communities on the first level. The internet’s mockery of Rick and Morty, like Undertale, stems from the “fandom” it has created. The internet begun a massive campaign to make fun of both the show and its fans after the show’s fans caused a riot at a McDonald's on October 9th because they wanted a sauce that was mentioned in the show. This has caused a much larger scale backlash against the show and its fans that has become much more than a trend in the first level. 

 This leads to the potential problem with all of this hate. While jokes here and there are fine, sites like Reddit are growing every day, and this culture is spreading very fast. I believe that all of this only comes from a lack of ability to accept things you do not like. The only reason that people are hating on anything is because they cannot accept what other people might want to do with something that they believe is theirs. I think that to fix the problems the internet has, a good first step would be the try and bridge the growing gap between these two metaphorical “levels” of the internet, and let people like what they want to like without having to face hate for it. 

Is this level of negativity bad for the future of the internet?
Should trends be a game of “finders keepers” where the groups who make them keep them?
Is hating on things other people like a good thing, even if those people never see it?


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Five LOVE Languages & Communication

This Blog Is Written By
Lisan Ye

 I feel that in life one will encounter a goal to be happy and loved in a relationship whether it be with a loved one or with oneself. To get in touch with ourselves, we have to come across and face our emotions. 
Emotions are certain feelings that we experience and express through our mind or body. We can express our emotions through the usage of words or express them non-verbally. Non-verbally expressing of emotions includes letting our emotions show through our body, body language or facial expressions. Charles Darwin stated that facial expressions are universal and innate but body language may have different meanings depending on the culture.

Interpersonal intelligence describes the ability to understand the emotions of others by language, perception and reasoning. Ways in which you can tell one’s emotions is to assess their facial expressions, tone of voice, and mood. However, it should be noted that some people are better at recognizing and communicating emotions than others. Although this may pose as a limitation, it does not mean one cannot assess one's emotions. One can assess another’s emotions through communication.

Some people express their emotions either through their body language or words. I think this depends on the person’s personality - one can be an extravert or introvert and have a preference of whether to bottle emotions up or not. 

Whether you are lacking in interpersonal intelligence or if you are dealing with someone who hides their feelings/emotions,  or if you just want to better your communication in general, you can use the five love languages as a guide to help your situation. Dr. Gary Chapman says that there are five ways in which a person feels or receives love. According to Dr. GaryChapman, the five love languages include: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.

Words of affirmation are considered to be a language to express love by using words. These words are used to declare how one feels towards another. Words of affirmation include verbal compliments or words of appreciation. To me, it seems as though we do not express enough how much one’s efforts are appreciated or that one is doing a great job. 
Acts of service is said to be more valued to people who believe in the idea of actions speaking louder than words. Those who have acts of service as their type of language do not tolerate broken promises well. An example of someone who prefers a love language of acts of service would say, “cut the talk; if you really did love me, you would do something around here”.  Acts of service are things that one does to ease the burden of someone else. It usually means going out of their way to do something for someone. Words are important to everyone since that is how we communicate. Words can hurt or encourage one.

Are you one who believes in words over actions or actions over words or do you view them as equally important?

Quality time, physical touch, acts of service and receiving gifts are examples of nonverbal languages. 
Quality time is when one gives undivided attention to their partner. It is also about understanding and listening to the other partner without interrupting. It occurs when experiences, thoughts and feelings are shared between people.

Physical touch is when physical touch speaks the language. Physical touch can be handholding, hugging, kissing, or giving a massage. An act of physical touch goes with the saying about a picture being worth more than 1,000 words; a physical touch is worth more than 1,000 words for those that prefer this love language.  

Receiving gifts is not used as a language to say that one is materialistic. The receiver of the gift might be fulfilled by the thoughtfulness and effort that was put into buying and choosing the gift.

These love language rules do not apply only towards romantic relationships, but instead allow you to understand any type of relationship. 
It is important to understand what others value most. For example, knowing one’s preferred love language can allow success in a business. Business Strategist Marie Forleo says that learning each team member's preference allowed for a happy team and allowed for motivation and basically a fully functional team. Of course it should be noted that learning love languages wouldn’t allow for all problems to be solve. The cliché term "communication" is key is overused but really does have truth to it.

 If you are interested in what your love language is, you can take the following quiz!

Quiz for those who are single:

Quiz for those who are in a relationship:

What is your love language? Do you think it will be helpful/how will you apply it to your life in the future? Please share your thoughts!


Monday, November 27, 2017

The Impact of Immigration on Childhood Development

This Blog Written By 
Karla Tomala

Many individuals pass through the New York Harbor and The Statue of Liberty comes into view. For many, it represents freedom, freedom of speech, freedom to vote and so on. For immigrants, The Statue of Liberty can represent a safe haven for their family and children. As of 2016, about 60,000 unaccompanied children have crossed the border to get into The United States. These undocumented children migrate to the U.S. because of their need or desire for income while others go to seek a better life for themselves. The obstacles they face in the journey of coming to the U.S can be dangerous as well as traumatizing.
         Immigration is defined as individuals moving into a new foreign country where they do not possess citizenship. The effect of crossing the border as well as adapting to a new environment can take a toll on the child’s development. But many children come to the United States for the sole purpose of living in a different environment. Many of them flee their country because of the toxic environment they were living in. However, adjusting to a new environment can be difficult for a child. 

Children have to learn how to speak English as well as adjusting to the social norms of today’s society. The difficulties they may face such as getting made fun of because of where they come from or how they speak can impact the child. The child may start to have low self-esteem issues as well as self-doubt. Unfortunately, many children do not overcome this and it is because of that more light needs to be shined on the developmental issues immigrant children face.
         There are many situations in which children do not cross the border but instead, the parents leave their child behind to cross the border by themselves. Parents do this so their child can avoid being exposed to the dangers of traveling without legal documents. Unfortunately, leaving a child behind whether it is for good intentions or not, can still have an impact on the child. “Yet researchers have also recognized that parental migration, inherently involves parental absence from the home that can have a negative impact on child outcomes which may outweigh the positive effects of remittance.” (Zimmermann, 2015) Children are innocent minded but as they grow up without the influence of the parents their mindset can easily be turned into a negative one. Children who grow up without one of their parents have set to believe they abandoned them or believe the parent did not want the responsibility of taking care of them. Children’s lack of connection to their parents when they need them can negatively impact their mental health as well as their educational outcomes.

Social Exclusion is defined as the “inability to participate in economic, social and cultural life and in some characteristics, alienation, and distance from mainstream society.” When children migrate to the U.S. there is a possibility they face discrimination, which can eventually lead to suffering from psychological consequences. Settling into a country that is unknown to them, difficulties may arise such as learning how to balance your own culture with the American culture. “Immigrant children are more likely to experience negative mental health symptoms such as suicide attempts, substance abuse and depression which may be the cumulative result of having experienced more racism and discrimination.” (Androff, 2011) In the United States, there are policies that enforce “English Only” education, which can negatively impact children’s education performance as well as their self-esteem. Their inability to speak English can impact their social group, which can lead to social isolation. 

      As they turn into adolescents, there is a necessity of wanting to fit in with the social norms of today’s society. The want can eventually turn into a need, which could eventually control their actions. Their actions include falling into peer pressure and/ or going against their parent’s orders. Actions such as these can impact their development because they are letting others control them rather than taking control of it themselves. Carl Rogers was an American Psychologist and he believed humans have the ability to realize their maximum human potential to which he called self-actualization. Adolescents are on their way to self-actualization but if influenced by the wrong crowd they can easily lose sight of their full potential.
Many children migrate to the United States to break free from their laws back home. In order to understand the mental disorders of immigrant children, there needs to be an understanding of the past trauma as well as their current situation. By not letting children into the United States we are mentally damaging them. 

America is known to be the land of the free, the land of being able to give opportunities to anyone no matter the race, gender or ethnicity. Meanwhile, the treatment undocumented children receive says something entirely different about America. America wants to protect its country by denying access to entry to children who come to settle here because they have a dream.

Androff, K., David (2011). U.S. Immigration Policy and Immigrant Children’s
         Well-Being: The Impact of Policy Shifts. The Journal of Sociology &
         Social Welfare: Vol. 48: Iss. 1, Article 5
Constant, A., & Zimmermann, K.F. (2015). International handbook on the economics of
         migration. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Little Words, Big Rape Culture

This Blog Was Written by 

How the everyday words we use contribute to an unfortunate, everyday problem.

“Rape is not a moment, but a language.” – Prof. Pumla Dineo Gqola, author and activist

At the beginning of the #metoo movement, I noticed a number of things that brought me discomfort. First, as is common with American Feminism, women of color were often absent from the conversation. In fact, the fact that “me too” was an idea created and promoted a decade ago by Tarana Burke, a woman of color, and founder of JustBe Inc. The second was a deeper discomfort. One that I had felt before, but one that was threefold. First: I didn’t know how to be a part of this conversation. As a self-declared ally (I still don’t know whether I, or any man can ever truly be a feminist) I wanted to spread the word, again, that this was the experience of women. To remind people that too many (more than 1 in my book) women experience assault, abuse, misogyny, sexual aggression, and fear EVERYDAY. As a victim of sexual assault, however, I also wanted to share my own #metoo. I remember clicking through a few of my friends’ pages, men and women, feminists and victims, to see if anyone had “cleared” men to post about their own experiences yet, or if the subject had been broached. One male friend did, and another female friend told him it was OK. My worry was that I would, despite my best intentions, distract from a conversation about women who were victims of abuse at the hands of men, that this would seem more like a “#mentoo” than a simple show of commonality, solidarity, or shared opposition. I’ve felt this all too often as a male who has experienced sexual assault and who desires to be an ally.

That brings me to my second point of discomfort. Discussions about abuse and gender relations so often take the form of ‘Us v. Them’ where all women are on one side, and all men are on the other. I have been told that my voice is unwelcome simply because I am a man, without regard for my position on the matters being discussed, or the fact that I want to help. I understand that people need safe spaces, and I have always made my best efforts to steer clear of those safe spaces if I am not explicitly invited. I resent being painted as the enemy based on the gender I was assigned in the genetic lottery. There are so many men who wish for things to be different; some of us wish to be a part of the conversation, not just sign holders. We have ideas on bridging the gap, speaking directly to men, and even getting more men to the table, or standing next to women. That becomes difficult when men are taught that they are bad, and are put on the defensive.

Men should be offended when someone claims that women should prevent rape by not wearing certain things, or not going to certain places, or not acting a certain way. That line of thinking presumes that you are incapable of control. That you are so base and uncivilized that it takes extraordinary effort for you to walk down the street without raping someone. That you require a certain dress code be maintained, that certain behaviors be employed so that maybe today, just maybe, you won’t rape someone. It presumes your natural state is rapist.” – Unknown

The third point of discomfort is related to the second, but is more complicated. It is a question that runs deep for me. How long have I been silenced? As a boy, I remember learning gender roles. Boys wear blue, girls wear pink, girls do home economics, boys do shop class, girls spend time on their looks, boys wear whatever, girls talk about their feelings, and cry, boys “man up”. Most of these didn’t stick with me as I got older. I wear pink, and basically whatever else I feel like unless my wife tells me she’s not leaving the house with me if I wear that. I can build and fix, but I can also cook, sew, and braid hair. I was also amongst the first generation of “metrosexuals” (note the connotations of that word too).  A few things DID stick with me though; things that I think stick with many boys as they get older. 1. Boys don’t cry. This one stuck with me so much that after my grandfather passed away in my arms when I was just 11 years old, I refused to shed a tear. The women all wailed, while the men hid away to avoid showing emotion. I was stoic, and proud of it. I called family members to tell them, I called the ambulance, I covered my grandfather, I slept in his room that night. I had taken the words of my father to heart. “You are a man of the house now” he said, and men don’t cry.

I learned early on that boys don’t talk about feelings, so it would be years before I faced my emotions and realized what bottling them up meant, the additional pain it caused me. I was bullied for being a geek, abused by a babysitter as a child, lost after my grandfather, my most influential and stable male figure, passed away. Then I moved to a new country at 13 to be reunited with my mother who I had been separated from for 5 years. I was a mess, and I wasn’t supposed to talk about it. I must say, these weren’t lessons actively taught to me. My mother encouraged me to speak to her, but she wasn’t a boy. She didn’t get it. America was worse than Jamaica. Being new was hard enough, but I wasn’t in any of the cliques. I was a choirboy and a soprano, I liked purple, and I played tennis. I joined the color guard because a girl I liked convinced me to, and then I was definitely “gay”. I quit two weeks later because I couldn’t stand it. I joined the football team instead. In high school, machismo ruled. I became angry and aggressive, but also really good at hiding my emotions from teachers and my mother. Eventually they all noticed, and I joined martial arts to channel my anger.

All this time, I never learned to express myself fully. I remember when I finally learned that anger was just an explosion of other emotions. It came after a therapist tried to get me to identify a range of emotions by name and facial expression. They all seemed like anger to me. For the first time, at 25 years old, I was learning to use emotional vocabulary. It was like learning a new language. I had to learn to think differently, process my situations, and break down the things I was feeling piece by piece. The process made me angry! As Colin Beavan put it “the fact that we are taught to suppress so much leads to expressing only that which overpowers us—like fear, anger, and aggression.” This was my case for many years. This is the case for many boys, who then become men, who are faced with being the enemy, and unable to express how they feel. This is compounded by adult male fraternity, alcohol, and adulting. THIS IS NOT AN EXCUSE! I say this to point out that, like many other things in our society that lead to pain, strife, and division, there is a fundamental, systematic flaw. The way we raise our men is broken, and making ALL men the enemy only pushes the broken, confused men further into the abyss, and the ones who have managed to climb away from the edge, closer back to it.

"While female sexual empowerment is an important factor in the struggle to end rape, it will not succeed without corresponding shifts in how boys are taught to experience sexuality and gender.” – Brad Perry, Yes Means Yes! Visions of Female Sexual Power & a World Without Rape

It all starts with the language we use; “boys will be boys”, “man up”, “boys don’t cry”, “locker room talk”, “sissy”; these words all enforce a problematic male culture and stereotype. This language is all part of what Jackson Katz calls the “Tough Guise”. To be male is to be tough, rash, aggressive, unfeeling, dominating… bad. Some men try to live up to these stereotypes, other men become victims of them, others still spend their lives trying to shake them. Other language like; “girls play hard to get”, “tipsy”, “smack that a**”, “beat the p***y up”, “c*ck block”, “c*ck tease”, even language we use in seemingly innocuous conversation like “hit me up”, or “shoot me an email”, serve to normalize violence both in our everyday lives and our sexual experiences. It has become customary for us to use violent language. We have literally internalized and assimilated violence into our speech. In turn, society has become desensitized to violence. How can we expect to teach people that violence is bad when we speak violence?

One of the most interesting things that I noticed after the emergence of the #metoo hashtag was that men started using #metoo or other hashtags like #HowIWillChange, #ihave, and #IDidThat, to admit to improprieties, and to pledge to change. While some decry this as distraction, men covering their asses, or men “performative wokeness”, I did see one interesting post from a female friend. In it, she described being in a relationship with a young man who, seemingly due to depression, lost his desire to engage in sexual intercourse with her. Upon bringing her dilemma to her friends, she was repeatedly told things like “Look at you! You’re gorgeous! What guy WOULDN’T want to have sex with you? Something is wrong with him.” Emboldened by these statements, she eventually guilted, and coerced him into sex. She used the #ihave to highlight how sometimes we do things that we don’t realize are sexual assault, or consent violations. This resonated strongly with me. How easy is it for a few simple words to change the way we perceive and act? How much would change if we stopped using language that enforced the “tough guise”, the male-female enmity, and rape culture? I a member of what is know as the “burner community”. We attend events and form a community united by the 10 Principles of Burning Man. In recent years, consent has become a large ongoing conversation and is being considered an unofficial, but equally important 11th Principle. Though many people in the community greet by hugging, we now encourage asking “Can I give you a hug?” before greeting someone. Of course, the consent education goes way beyond this to what we describe as “the enthusiastic yes”. I realized how this kind of education, could change the way we interact daily, and I have tried to introduce this to my daily life in the “default world”.

I hope one day soon, we begin to teach men and women that it is OK to express their fullness. To share in the pain, and join in opposition without distinctions. To both acknowledge our intersectionality, and learn to put them aside for the common good. Until then, I just hope that we learn to have conversations about how to get there by using language of unity instead of division.

#metoo, #HowIWillChange, #ihave, #IDidThat, #toughguise, #burningman, #woke, #mentoo