Reviving Compton Center Blog

It has been six years since the last post, but we are back! Six years is a long time to go without posting. Think of all the things that we have missed, Paris bombings, BlackLivesMatter, Ferguson and other cases of police brutality, national same sex marriage equality, Boston Marathon bombings, Malaysian airlines disaster, climate change discussions and deliberations, ISIS attacks and the Syrian Refugee crisis, not to mention numerous natural disasters; and these events are from only the last three years!

It is a new year and a new semester, but there are many problems and issues still in the world today. In this blog, I will be discussing some of these issues. I know that I do not always have the whole story or a perfect understanding, but I am open to learning. This will be an avenue where I simply give my thoughts and relevant information that I know regarding topics like classism, sexism, racism, ethical conduct, and modes of resistance and change.

These are the topics that affect me deeply and those that I am passionate about. As a second-semester senior, I will only be giving my opinions for the duration of this semester before I enter the big, bad “real world.” I hope that this blog will be an useful tool for me, and for you readers, for thinking through some of life’s inequalities and injustices. I hope that I can share my perspective on a number of topics, and that these views can help shed light on new ways of seeing problems or new ways of understanding the experiences of those different than oneself.

With that said, let me formally introduce myself. My name is Amanda Buening, a senior at DePauw and an intern at the Compton Center for Peace and Justice. In my life I have moved many times, and have been hurt but also extremely blessed by my experiences. It has been through my many travels that I have learned how to see an experience from someone else’s eyes, to understand the struggles of the rich and the poor, the differences between the north and the south, the privileged and the disadvantaged. I have seen and felt first hand the pain of inequality and discrimination, but also seen the beauty and the strength of those in marginal communities. I cannot wait to share some of my stories with you, and hope that you will reach out and respond with stories and thoughts of your own!

Looking forward to a great semester.

All my best,

Amanda

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What adults can learn from kids?

Adora Svitak, an American born Chinese, is a child prodigy.  She started reading at three, started writing at four, and published her first book Flying Fingers at seven.  In the speech, Arora opposes the conventional view that children should learn from adults; on the contrary, she says that kids also have marvelous abilities which adults always take no heed of, that kids can similarly launch campaigns for racial discrimination, do changes for humanitarian … you name it.  Adora also proves that she is able to transcend her childish age to publish books as an adult can do.  But she shows her worry about her challenge in a adult society — adults are doing injustice to children who like Adora want equivalent social treatment.  She brings about her personal experience.  She once wrote a book, Flying Fingers, and intended to get it published.  Though she got encouragement from her parents, her pathway to let it print is not smooth.  Many print houses turned her down because they didn’t think a kid could come up with some intrigued ideas.  Finally, only one publisher accepted her works, and the outcome was, quite out of expectation, that her first book was largely welcomed among campuses.

Adora’s story leaves me some food for thought: is the mass media a platform merely for adults?  Of course not, I argue.  This video reminds me of Brian and Connie who just paid visit to DePauw.  They have the same attitudes and breadth of minds toward media as the print manager who willingly accepted Adora’s virgin book.  Adults tend to think they have miscellaneous theories and strong judgments of social issues and therefore refuse to open the windows to kids.  But adults as well fail to realize that despite the fact that children are not as rational as adults, it is such irrationality that is needed by society to some extent.  When media industries are overcommitted to adults’ world, such as political sociology, we should also target videos and cameras to kids — at least I believe that kids are definitely able to bring in new, inventional philosophies to adults’ ideology.

The Perfect Metaphor for the Unionhood

Europe has been being under the ash.  Many of my friends who are travelling or studying in Europe have vested their little irritation to me–they are stick to one place and are nearly hindered by the natural catastrophe.  However, the “nature’s awesome fury” has disclosed the European countries’ inadequacy of maintaining a unity of the EU.  The New York Times’ article “Europe Under the Ash” has reported the chaotic situation going on in the Europe.  Strikes in Greek and France, the deficiency in the British transportation dispatch to rescue tourists and soilders, the defamation of Gordon Brown in overcoming the disarray, a sudden black market in Russia’s transportation tickets, and an economic scandal propagated from the airline abeyance in Germany, the Europe is totally in uproar.

However, the article goes beyond the superficial appearance.  “Treacherous though they can be, different responses to Eyjafjallajokull nonetheless underscore, if nothing else, just how diverse Europe remains, culturally speaking, and how occasionally fractious is the unity of the European Union that ostensibly binds much of the continent together.”  The EU is not as unified as it appears and aims to be, which has been widely ackownledged.  But this news report doesn’t simply remains on the surface of delivering the chaos in the airports, but goes into the essential aspect of the disorganization of the EU body.  Yet, to some extent, this could also be a fascination to audience to make them form a certain stereotype of the Europe, so that a whole country will tend to think the Europe in this way.  Also, to take a glimpse at the picture above, people from different countries view the volcano explosion from deviated perspectives, this suggests that every country is making stereotype to others.  When such stereotype occurs in the EU, it’s a mayhem in the committee.  When such stereotype of the disordered EU is made by this news repoerter, it’s formenting the estrangement of America and the Europe.

Therefore…I find one interesting phenonmenon in American and Chinese news media in terms of the Iceland volcano.  The Chinese news agencies mainly focus on how the climate and environment are going to change after the catastrophic explosion, while America — I am not offensive– is more interested of “laughing at” the disaster.  From the New York Times to The New Yorker, there are many blogs and articles published, being “gloating at” the complicated situation in Europe.  One blog article on The New Yorker writes: “According to the Times, while trying, in a half-hearted way, not to gloat about how an eruption in Iceland caused chaos almost everywhere but in Iceland.”

Famous Quote to Ponder

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

How does this make you feel?
Does it make you want to do something? If so, what?

Traders Point Creamery

This Monday I had the opportunity to visit an organic dairy farm right here in Indiana! Traders Point Creamery is located in Zionsville Indiana and the hub carries three of its products (Chocolate milk, yogurt and a spreadable cheese). While the trip was for a presentation in an upcoming economics class, the trip certainly opened my eyes about the importance of understanding what goes into the food you eat. There are lots of differences between the dairy products produced by Traders Point and what you probably poured on your breakfast this morning. What most struck me about the farm was the attitude and general feel of both the guide and all the workers that my group ran in to at the farm. Traders Point Creamery, by being an organic farm is not only focused on sustainability but to truly be in balance with both the product they produce and cows they own. While I do not want this to seem like an ad for the company it opened my eyes to how far caring can take both a person and a business. I hope to one day be able to be fully informed about the food I eat and have the monetary status to afford what is truly best for me (a half gallon of milk is 3.50). Has any information about the food industry changed your eating habits? If so what did you learn and how did you change?

Surprise: A feminist find

While quickly printing out notes before class, an article caught my eye. Eight pages of a piece entitled: “ The Discursive Performance of Femininity: Hating Hillary”. Not being a fan of Hillary Clinton I was interested in what the article had to say. The article focused on the rhetoric in Hillary’s speeches compared to other wives of famous politicians. Essentially the article concluded that the reason people hate Hillary is because she is resistant in her performance as a politician (and wife of a politician, the article was written in 1998). Hillary embodies a strong character where she refuses to play into her gender role, norms and expectations when speaking in public. She refuses to ‘to perform femininity in the way of adopting a self-disclosing tone, for example: nurturing intimacy and domesticity. Basically Hillary acted in a traditional way a politician acts, which is historically masculine. It is disappointing to think that people do not like Hillary because of how she acts, rather than the policies she supports or public views on pertinent issues. To hate a woman because she does not conform to gender norms is ignorant, childish and disappointing in my eyes. How do you feel? When if ever is okay to judge someone and on what terms?

A conservative spin on the wage gap

On the first day of class the professor handed out an article addressing statistics relating to the wage gap between women and men.* The article’s theme is that the 70 cents to the dollar phrasing that feminists often shout about is overwhelmingly flawed. It in no way did it claim that discrimination dose not exist, but that is blown way out of portion— the success of “a good hissie fit”. The article highlights that current research finds childless women earning 98 cents to the male dollar, which surprised me. Not the fact necessarily, but that the research that exits. I reference this article not to suggest that the wage inequality between men and women in the workforce is non existent but rather the need for a critical eye when researching social issues. For a long time, personally, it made sense that a man may earn more money than a woman in the work force based on personal circumstances and to instill laws demanding certain pay rates ignores individually and undermines the population’s intelligence. My ideas however were personal, now I am confident in my opinions because they are now bolstered by scholarly work. Remember there are a multitude of sides to any issue. Hearing the voice of an adversary may better equip you to fight injustice. As persons interested in make our community, DePauw, America and the world a better place we have to have an adept critical eye. Be sure that you are as well rounded on the issue as you are critical.
*the article is entitled: “I Am Woman, Hear Me Whine” by Patricia Huasman, a consulting behavioral scientist and member of the Nation Advisory Board of the independent women’s forum.
The article was a comment on NRO (National Review Online) which is an online web-site voicing a republican and conservative view point.
More information can be found at:
1) http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:fepOJuwEbbgJ:patriciahausman.com/uploads/nroequalpayday.pdf+i+am+a+woman,+hear+me+whine+patricia&hl=en&gl=us&sig=AHIEtbTa7NwM58pSdf9CVe8XgKH6Jc62SA
2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Review_Online#National_Review_Online