Snowfall: Season Two’s Crack Era Retrospective 

Season 2 of John Singleton’s FX show Snowfall will likely detail more of the effects caused by the Crack Epidemic during the infamous Reagan Era. Predictions for next season include the main character Franklin, the rising ambitious drug dealer, and how some of his own family members will become addicted to crack (likely his father and one of his friends). Will he choose to sell the product to his own blood or a pregnant woman? Will his conscience bother him after witnessing what crack is doing to his neighborhood or will financial desires triumph over virtue? The thing is, some people during the Crack era like real life drug dealer Rich Porter (portrayed by Mekhi Phifer in Paid in Full) and others may have saw selling crack as a way out of poverty, but in the end there was more tragedy than long term success. Crack money came with betrayal from “friends”, countless enemies that wanted them dead, and the people who changed into walking zombies after using the drug. I suppose some may think a multitude of different cars, fresh fits, jewelry, and other material things was worth the tragic end…but it was not a good trade. The significance of Snowfall is not to make the Crack Era seem like a desirable/glamorous time, but it’s importance involves telling true stories from different perspectives. We see why Franklin is doing what he does, but we also see how it is affecting everyone around him in a variety of ways on the show. During the Crack Era, the dealer may not have been affected in the same way as the user or a child, but each one has an interesting story that is still relevant to reflect/analyze on over 30 years later. 

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The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons: Hypocrisy?

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (signed in 1968) is supposed to be about stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and only five nations are ‘allowed’ to have nuclear weapons…United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, China, and France.  Although it is better to be a nuclear-weapon free world, it is a form of hypocrisy for America or the other four nuclear weapon nations to not want places like North Korea and Pakistan to build nuclear weapons, but we are creating weapons with nuclear technologies/energy.  Political leaders have even threatened to ”push the button’ (use nuclear weapons) if another country that is not ‘allowed’ keeps testing their missiles.  Yet, America dropped atomic bombs on two full cities (Nagasaki and Hiroshima)…no one else has ever used nuclear weapons for warfare in history.  In my opinion, the Non Proliferation treaty is less about having a nuclear weapon free world for the future, but it is more so about power and control. It’s like: ”Yeah we can drop nuclear weapons on other countries if we have to go that far…but you guys are not allowed to build any or do what we do. Those are the rules.”  Nothing good comes from using nuclear weapons on nations no matter who is ”allowed” to have them or not. America has it’s good, but hypocrisy has always been prevalent. Destabilizing nations and then trying to ‘help’ them is one of the many problems America has when it comes to international relations. Yes, we should all help/aid other places & people if they need help or rescue…but playing/imitating the ‘hero’ is different from actually being a genuine one. The treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is supposed to be about promoting peaceful usage of nuclear energy and a future free of nuclear weapons. However, it seems as if the ‘future nuclear disarmament/elimination goal’ that the NPT claims to promote does not apply to everyone because there are people who prefer power & control over true positive change.

Positive Thought: ‘The World I Know’ by Collective Soul Analyzed

The thought provoking lyrics and perspective of the 1995 classic ‘The World I Know’ by Collective Soul is a great song/video to analyze. How I perceive this song is that it’s okay to question and feel deeply bothered with the state of our world,  but we should always try to not let this reflection prevent us from encouraging more positivity and good progression within our planet. I love this song and whenever I listen to it, the overall composition is compelling to me. I encourage all to never give up on our world…to never be comfortable or numb to the evil & unfortunate happenings that may be prevalent in our world. One of the many beautiful reasons why hope still lingers on is because this world also includes inhabitants/souls who are conscientious, good-hearted and genuinely care to implement/spread positive change. Therefor, let’s never feel as though this world is mainly full of only gloom and despair…because it is not. We all are each equally important & vital in implementing positive change, and there are people who still sincerely care for the pain/suffering others experience.  If we can’t seem to find many, then let’s be one of the light-filled souls we seek and desire. I also love how this video encourages people to never give up on life and that there is always inspiration/positivity we can grow from and contribute to.

Has our conscience shown?
Has the sweet breeze blown?
Has all the kindness gone?
Hope still lingers on
I drink myself of newfound pity
Sitting alone in New York City
And I don’t know why

Are we listening
Hymns of offering?
Have we eyes to see
That love is gathering?
All the words that I’ve been reading
Have now started the act of bleeding
Into one, into one

So I walk up on high
And I step to the edge
To see my world below
And I laugh at myself
While the tears roll down
‘Cause it’s the world I know
Oh it’s the world I know

I drink myself of newfound pity
Sitting alone in New York City
And I don’t know why, don’t know why

So I walk up on high
And I step to the edge
To see my world below
And I laugh at myself
While the tears roll down
‘Cause it’s the world I know
Oh it’s the world I know

So I walk up on high
And I step to the edge
To see my world below

And I laugh at myself
While the tears roll down
‘Cause it’s the world I know
Oh it’s the world I know

Songwriters: ED ROLAND, ROSS BRIAN CHILDRESS
© KAREN SCHAUBEN PUBLISHING ADMINISTRATION

Making America Great… ‘Again’?: Historical Hypocrisy & Modern Change

President Donald Trump claims to want to make America great…again. The word ‘again’ is a stretch, because depending on who you ask and their personal experiences throughout the history of the country…America was never great. Nevertheless, for those of us who still have faith that America can someday be great & actually reflect what it has promised/envisioned, it is obvious that hypocrisy and systematic discrimination thrives in the land of the free. The poem by Emma Lazarus on The Statue of Liberty in New York, ”the New Colossus” is suppose to stand for immigrants and refugees coming to a welcoming and compassionate/empathetic safe haven , a home for those who desire to leave or force to flee their homelands. Of course, Trump is not the first who discriminated against certain groups of people because for as long as the poem was first engraved on Lady Liberty in 1903, the poem’s message has always had it’s ‘terms & conditions’ depending on what ethnic or religious group people belong to. There is a clear long history of America showing more acceptance to certain groups of immigrants & refugees in comparison to others. Still, there are many immigrants, refugees, and forced migrants who have continued to have faith in America and want to come through the ”golden door” despite hostility/prejudice towards them . I encourage all to not be discouraged or faithless, but to continue to make our own positive marks in the world…let’s not wait on political leaders to make America (or anywhere) great. President Trump’s executive order and extreme vetting policies for Muslim-majority countries is just one of many hypocritical happenings that should not be accepted or validated if we want to make America great for everyone…not just selective groups. Over a century ago, The New Colossus was as new and promising as the Liberty Statue it was engraved on. Now, in modern times and after hypocrisy has continued to be prevalent in the U.S, it seems as if it’s the ”Old Irrelevant Colossus” because often times throughout the years…Lady Liberty is not a truthful representation/image of the actual freedom, justice, and liberty that is denied to many. However, instead of just complaining about the cons of America and hypocrisy in the nation, we should also encourage and implement positive change/actions. No matter who is in office, what awful/evil doings we witness personally or see constantly on our news’ channels…stay faithful and remember we are all equally important in creating positive change with our actions and mentalities, triumphing over negativity in the world.

 

The New Colossus Poem by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The Decision to Remain a Virgin: Others Who Are Abstinent After Teen Years

Of course, it is normal and common for people to have already engaged in sexual activity before they are well into their twenties. However, deciding to be abstinent and remain a virgin after adolescent/teen years is a choice that can often have an awkward phase/stage at certain points & times in life. Personally speaking, although I still do not regret my decision to not engage in sexual activity now, there was a time when I did feel awkward & from the ”outside looking in” in relation to some of my peers’ experiences. Now, in the present I am comfortable and at peace with my decision and here are a few encouraging words for people who are abstinent/waiting for whatever reason & who may feel awkward, uncomfortable, or aberrant. Not an overcritical perspective, just positivity, encouraging confidence, and inner peace from a personal point of view.

  • Deciding to remain a virgin should not feel like a burden. Just like the decision to have sex, it should be an embraced choice that feels like the best option for oneself. Letting people who are not you validate your choice/reasoning will only cause internal conflict and over thinking because everyone will have their own opinion/beliefs in relation to your decision. So many voices belonging to others in one head is not healthy and can delete our own unique voice/intuition. At the end of the day and reflecting, we are the ones who have to be comfortable and think , ”yeah, it is/was worth it.”
  • There is this false rationale accepted by some that implies a person needs to be with someone intimately/romantically  to feel & be whole and truly happy. Many people often correlate being single for a very long period of time with something negative or as if the person has a flaw that keeps them ”alone”. I know sex is probably amazing and positive romantic love is beautiful, but focusing on what we’re passionate about and what makes us happy can help immensely while being abstinent. There are a variety of experiences and memories, beautiful ones, that you can create and partake in while being abstinent, which will contribute to inner happiness.
  • Not everyone is abstinent for religious reasons, but spirituality certainly helps in the process of waiting for whatever reasons. If someone truly feels in their spirit that what they are doing is the best choice for them, then it will create peace and assurance which grows. When I decided that I wanted to wait and remain a virgin when I graduated high school, I asked God to help me with my choice because this was a decision that I really wanted for myself. I am only in my early 20’s, but I am no longer in the ”awkward phase” where I felt weird for refraining from sex and often contemplated how realistic it was. I hope who ever is still a virgin long after teen years, or even those who may be celibate, to keep your faith in why you’ve made your choice, create peace within yourself with your decision, and don’t let those who are on the outside looking in dictate or influence the choice YOU have to live with.

 

Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince Treatise : A Philosophy That Is Still Relevant Today

Machiavellianism, introduced in the Niccolo Machiavelli book The Prince, is a term that does not just apply to the Dark Triad subject in applied psychology. Machiavelli’s philosophies in The Prince included the belief that it is okay to use immoral/foul means such as manipulation & showing a disregard for morality in relation to personal gain and self interest. Some people argue that Machiavelli’s acceptance of immoral actions was due to the fact that he lived during a time in Rome when political conflicts and success through criminal actions were common among it’s leaders. However, this time period is not the only era where immoral actions have been common in society. As long as societies have existed, baleful actions have been used throughout history for different reasons…not just among princes vying for power. Unfortunately, it is accepted and a normal/common practice for societies to manipulate and commit evil doings toward others for their own personal gain/self interest in our world. Many people have developed a “that’s just the way it is” perspective on this detrimental behavior because it has been universally prevalent throughout our timeline so far. Therefore, Machiavelli’s philosophies are not just historic political science lessons that reflect the world he knew…but it also can be used to compare what is now, the present. It has gotten to the point where we question & categorize just what is immoral and moral depending on a society/culture’s accepted practices. I may be speaking from a bias point of view because I believe in not perfection, but at least trying our best to be morally upright and emphasizing virtue & genuine goodness. However, no matter what different ethical/moral philosophies exist, Machiavelli’s The Prince should have been a reference for what to avoid, but it now seems as if it is a repeated pattern that does not just apply to old Rome’s royal hierarchies or a personality test. Nevertheless, since the future is not yet written and the present is still unfolding, there is no universal rule that implies history has to keep repeating itself. Yet, even though we are one humanity, we are also individuals who do not share the same mentalities and belief system when it comes to virtue and morality. ..perhaps that is why treatises like The Prince and Machiavellianism seems to have been a relevant philosophy for a very long time.

More Than Protesting: Strategic Action, Effective Change

Protests are not always effective when it comes to progression/change. So, what is? To help gradually decrease police brutality, there needs to be reconstruction , change & progress  on the federal, state, and local levels of government. The reason why unfit and bad cops keep getting away with these crimes is because they are protected by policies that are flawed. We cannot keep simply protesting, being out raged on social media, and accepting that this is just how it is. Effective change means not just discussion and protest signs, but it also means strategically planning & taking action. So, let’s contemplate a few effective actions we can do that will help implement change.

1. Educating ourselves on the policies/laws already enacted and policy solutions that needs to be enforced, then demanding action from policy officials at all levels of government. Don’t complain, but then refuse to actually be a part of change. Don’t shoot down my suggestions, then refuse to try or give better solutions.

2. It’s okay to be angry, but create positive change from that anger. Saying “fuck the police” and then ranting on social media is not going to solve anything.

3. I encourage all to learn more at joincampaignzero.org, which goes into detail more specifically on the  problems, solutions, and actions we can take to implement effective change.

All in all, if we live in a place where issues like police brutality and basic human rights violations plague the land, then we all should help implement change and discuss/take actions concerning effective solutions…. Especially for those of us who complain and are angry.

Pesticides Killing Bees: Why All Mankind Should Care

Albert Einstein once said, “If the Bee disappears from the surface of the Earth, man would have no more than four years to live.” If we take a look at all of the uses we rely on bee colonies for, then this statement could be true. Monsanto is a pesticide that is killing off bees, and these little insects are responsible for so much more than some people care to ponder on. For one, bees are responsible for pollinating 70 of the top 100 crop species, and these foods feed 90 percent of mankind. Without bees, most of the foods we eat would eventually disappear. Humans cannot replace or make up for the work that bees do, which also keeps other lifestock alive as well. If bees continue to be killed off by deadly pesticides, then so will most of the fruit, veggies, grains, and other nutrition we need to live. We tend to take Bees for granted, not realizing that these little tireless workers are blessings that are vital to our lives. The solution is actually simple: ban all deadly pesticides. If pesticides like Monsanto does this to bees, just imagine what they are doing to us. Some may even argue that all pesticides should be banned from our plants, including the so called “harmless” ones. All in all, hopefully it doesn’t take Bees to go extinct for people to finally understand just how valuable they are to mankind.

Encouraging Positive Self Esteem Among Ladies

Despite what society says is beautiful or not, it is important that people feel sincerely good about themselves. I wish that more ladies would genuinely accept their beauty, and not put others down while doing so. For an example, someone who sincerely is confident with themselves won’t feel the need to give another woman dirty looks, hate on another, or give out bad energy period. I’m speaking from a female’s perspective, but it is really unfortunate to me that insecure women give out negative energy to each other, and this all boils down to how confident they are with themselves. I’m not arrogant or conceited, but despite how attractive or unattractive I am to someone…that doesn’t affect the way I feel about myself. We should not thrive off of people’s compliments or take their criticism to the heart. That is not healthy, and we will never be satisfied. This means loving our body types, our skin, putting an emphasis on inner beauty & just feeling truly great from the inside. Don’t worry about not being someone’s preference or body type, because out of all the people in this wide world….some  will definitely be attracted to you. It’s  just science & how the way things work naturally. I want people to feel better from within, and not critiquing others so harshly just to make themselves feel better. So what if some people don’t like the way you look or whatever? Love the way you look, still be humble, & don’t ever feel bad for being in love with yourself just because of society’s beauty standards! Women should smile at each other more instead of giving dirty looks. I’d rather compliment another female than to hate on her or speak negative. Uplift each other, have authentic inner beauty, and understand that true beauty is more than skin. Our true self esteem level will always come to surface sooner or later. So, let’s not be intimidated by anyone, be beautiful from within, and encourage this among other ladies. Remember, beauty is not just skin deep and being a positive person is a true indicator of genuine confidence & good self esteem.

Ancient Africa Is More Than Egypt

There is nothing wrong with people being interested in the history and culture of Ancient Egypt. However, it seems as if many people tend to focus more on one part of a continent even though there is so much rich and innovative history in other ancient African civilizations as well. What about the history of Sierra Leone, Morocco, Angola, Ghana, Senegal/Gambia, and others? Many African Americans have ancestry and lineage in West Africa, yet many do not know a lot about the history of these regions. The western civilization has put an emphasis on Ancient Egypt, often times with false & inaccurate images. So, it’s okay to be interested in knowing the truth about Ancient Egypt, but this is not the only area of Africa worth knowing about. Although I feel as though Ancient Africa is a history that every human needs to know, however as a black person, I find it interesting that many other black people do not take an interest in finding out more about the regions where some of their ancestors came from in other parts of Africa. Yet, people have followed trends in wearing Pharoah faces on shirts, and jewelry, exploiting/profiting from Ancient Egyptian culture, but many can’t tell you anything about other aspects of Ancient African society. Of course, I am interested in all areas/regions concerning History, but it is fustrasting to me that there is forgotten about history in Africa that is just as important as Egypt, but many only choose to focus on one area in a continent full of history worth learning about.