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Monday, February 1, 2016

Tanya Torp question

Post your questions by 12 Noon on Wednesday, February 3.

Remember to include context to connect your question directly to one specific reading/source (of the 3 provided by Tanya Torp) or to frame a question about how 2 or 3 of the sources speak to similar issues.
source #1
source #2
source #3

17 comments:

  1. Source #3: Moral Lens. The way that the Reverend ties the government's history into religion is very intriguing. He educates a congregation of people while speaking of God and what it truly means to be a Christian. He says that Christianity is not oppressing others, specifically African-Americans. Now, I'm wondering, has Christianity always coincided with white privilege? Did white privilege always play an essential role in Christianity?

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  2. Sources #2 & 3: When Finley states "to change the community, you have to change the composition of the soil," I feel this relates well to Barber's discussion of moral dissent. Barber discusses how immoral people are in today's times with their "power" over others. After hearing Finley talk on food deserts and how he attempted to fix the food issues in his neighborhood, I feel as though people with "power" are immoral and are the reason Finley struggled with this garden. Therefore in my opinion the soil cannot change if the people do not check their morals first. However is it evident that in primarily African American neighborhoods those that feel they have power are attempting to change the "soil" with a negative belief?

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  3. In Ron Finley’s Ted Talk, he focuses on what a food desert is, how it hurts people, and what he has done to change his community. A food desert is when people live in an area that is hard to buy affordable or fresh quality food. Food deserts don’t lack fast food restaurants however. With the lack of access to nutrient dense food, people rely on fast food and poor quality food because of the easy access, and that is when obesity rates rise. People in food deserts are dying of curable diseases. Ron says the city he lives in is home of the drive thrus and drive bys, and that more people are dying from the drive thrus. This is happening all over America, and affects 25.6 million Americans. That seems like a high number to me. Ron has begun to make a difference in his community. He decided to plant gardens on city property between roads and sidewalks. The garden is open for people to help nourish it and to supply their families with food. He is equipping the community with nutrient dense food and education on how to grow healthy food. However, not all food deserts have someone who’s willing to plant gardens and educate the community on healthier options. Obviously there is a link between food deserts and fast food restaurants, which are large industries that make big bucks. Is the US government/policies really that corrupt to allow for fast food in certain areas because they know the profits will be high? Are they corrupt enough to harm the health of innocent people to keep profits high in the disease/medicine area? Tying back to Rev. Barber’s speech close to the end about how evil we really are, I guess I answered it myself.

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  4. In the ted talk “A Guerilla Gardener in South Central LA,” the speaker talks about how the city would not let him keep his garden on the strip of grass in front of his house. There are millions of concrete strips like that across America that are kept in place simply for aesthetics. Many Americans also have front, back, and side yards that are, again, kept only for aesthetics. The lawns are mindlessly sprayed with chemicals to keep them green in the winter and are hardly thought about other than when the homeowner has to mow. I can’t think of another place, other than America, where the lawn/grass enforcements are so strict. Why is this? Why aren’t we utilizing this abundance of land to help feed those without access to fresh food?

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  5. I liked how Rev. Barber said, towards the end, that now it is our time. It is definitely our time; others have already stood up to corruption before, why should we ignore it and stop now? I want to reference both Rev. Berber's speech and the TED talk right now, because these men said things such as "do it yourself" and "there's a reason you're here for," and I truly believe that I was put into this earth, born and raised by an incredible woman with the purpose of making a change.
    In the TED talk, Finley is basically applying that saying of "give a person a fish and they'll be satisfied for a day. But teach them how to fish and they'll be satisfied for a lifetime." The government fails to do this, though, because that system wouldn't monetarily benefit them. So, as a result, we get food stamps, food deserts, poor people who cannot even afford a house--people who seem to be stuck in a hole, but there is no way out because they are not taught that they can use their legs to climb up. I don't want to read another essay about obesity in the U.S, nor I want to hear another report on how unhealthy people are. Of course people are dying of malnutrition; I would if I lived off hamburgers and sodas 24/7. There are so many wonderful and delicious dishes you can make with veggies and stuff you grow in your front yard, you know. Nobody will know that, though, if the government and big companies take all the land and make more parking lots or plazas or whatever--stuff that we do not even need. There are starving, homeless people in this country! But no, let's go build a hotel or put up another McDonald's and in the mean time, let's go feed some children in Africa to hide the fact that we refuse to help our own people (don't get me wrong; they need help too). I don't really have a question about the talk in particular; I have more of a question for myself: how can I patch up some wounds in the life of some strangers?

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  6. Reverend Dr. Barber asks his congregation what kind of Christian takes away healthcare for those who need it simply because they don't like an African American leader and this stood out to me. So often, religion is used by the conservatives, the naysayers, and the oppressors but you rarely hear a politician pushing for social justice or equal rights use "because it's the Christian thing to do" as as defense for their viewpoints. Why is religion so often used to try to take away the rights of minorities and women but rarely used to justify needs based aid, healthcare, and the like?

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  7. Ron Finley's TED talk really resonated with me--its such a simple solution, but it's not something everyone readily accepts. Even in Lexington, even at Transy for that matter, there is access to gardening space where you can grow your own food so cheaply, but so many people don't. What would it take to change the cultural norm of buying all your food?

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  8. The article "Doctrine of Discovery" made me feel ashamed to grow up in this country. We have racial injustice so firmly embedded in our governmental policies and culture, and every day we try to act like these things don't keep happening. To what extent does our elementary education have the capacity to "whitewash " this nation's bloodstained past, and how can we illustrate for children the idea that racial injustice is alive and well? Can we even go about doing so in a sensitive way?

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  9. Just like Caroline, one of my favorite statements regarded the statement that "to change the community, you have to change the composition of the soil." This is so evident everywhere in the world, regardless of the actual soil you step on. The soil can be not only literal, but also a symbol of the thoughts and processes of a culture. In order for change to happen, the nutrition feeding the roots (which in our case would be children) must be provided on a level of positives rather than the stereotypical negatives and thoughts that have plagued the community to be viewed as it is now. Thinking on this, a lot of issues with racism are still present;however, they are much better than what they were in the sense of upcoming generations compared to the older generations that went through the repressions/recessions and other historically relavent events.
    In this class, we should look at the community as our own garden, and we should be the farmers, "sewing" (ha ha!! get it?) new and improved seeds in a soil that we have tilled. This is a wider implication of the talk.
    In terms of the actual issues being mentioned, we go towards the question of actual "soil"-- why can't there be more access to the necessities of society for all? Why is this still an issue? Why does oppression still exist even though the soil is changing? How can we further this "garden" and preen our crops? Is there something that we can do as individuals on both sides of the garden fence? How does this relate further to our own Transy community? beyond?

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  10. A lot of what Rev. Barber proclaimed in his speech on the moral lens of Justice have been thoughts and sentiments I have shared recently. From the dissent towards the immorality of the privatization of schooling, to the unjust rebuking of healthcare, and wage distributions, these issues and positions adamantly resonate with me because they seem to be the only solace available in a society that is often bleak for many of us that do not enjoy its benefits. I think that his message makes matters like this clear for people to understand that many of the injustices occurring in America are not bipartisan issues, or essentially limited to issues of race, class, or education, but fundamentally issues of morality. I think that when people view issues through the lens of an economic agenda they can often dismiss the reality that policies and practices consequently affect the lives in which are involved. Morality becomes a subsequent factor of voting, behind prohits and development, while real people suffer, and in some cases die. I am often taken aback by how frequently morality is lacking from the forefront of our actions in the self-proclaimed “greatest nation on earth.” How long will politicians be able to hide the morality of their actions behind the farce of policy before we as a nation decide that we won't stomach it anymore?

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  11. Reading "The Doctrine of Discovery" did not make me feel ashamed (as it did Trent). It made me feel angry and helpless. But then I got to the end, where the author is careful to say that what we should NOT feel is helplessness, that each of us has the ability to change things (lives).

    He ends with 4 steps to getting involved. I've already taken 2 of them. I am appreciative of the step-by-step suggestions for involvement, against helplessness and futile anger (I am not at all opposed to useful anger). But I continue to wonder why our nation needs so much time to be ready for a Truth and Conciliation Commission (in 2021--a year that feels light years ahead of us), at the same time that I wonder whether we'll be ready in 2021 or at any other point of our history...

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  12. I agree with Trent that it feels disgusting to have grown up in a country founded on "whatever land you find that are not ruled by Christian Rulers, those people are less than human and the lands are yours for the taking."

    The fact that we are, at large, so resistant to publicly acknowledging the history of white supremacy is a huge problem. People often have the belief that THEY aren't racist, so they're not doing anything wrong and therefore aren't responsible for changing. "However, in a nation that is systemically racist, anti-racism is less about personal racist attitudes and more about a willingness to change the system." Even if you aren't a major perpetrator of racist violent acts, continuing to not do anything is not going to be part of the solution. Staying neutral helps oppression more than the oppressors. I've often wondered how to crack the attitude of defensiveness around the issue..."I'M not doing anything wrong so why are you talking to ME?"

    It's the same kind of attitude people took when Black Lives Matter protesters interrupted one of Bernie Sanders' rallies. People responded "he hasn't done anything to you" and "why aren't you interrupting someone who's actually racist?" The idea is that the potential for change must be embraced by more of the "neutrals." It's not a matter of attacking only those who are obviously keeping hateful systems in place. It's about targeting those who are more willing to listen and rise up against those hateful systems.

    2021 does indeed seem light-years away, and while we have had small changes take place throughout the years in terms of civil rights, I am continually astounded by how much racism we are still A-OK with as a country. At the same time, I think about how much time I haven't spent trying to change anything, and I can understand a bit better why we're so stagnant.

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    Replies
    1. (Mostly referencing "The Doctrine of Discovery.")

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  13. I think it was you who mentioned the piece to me, Tanya) but I have recently read Thomas Mertons' "Letters to a White Liberal" where Merton mentioned that one way to combat racism and injustice is to have a societal overhaul that strays away from materialism and to focus on "people, not profits". Do you feel like urban gardening will assist in this change? I personally believe that the " re-wilding" of cities with beneficial and natural resources such as home grow food will not only assist the various animals that reside in the garden but make cities more of a humane place to live (there is another Merton passage from 'Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander' where he absolutely slams the contempt city environements breed

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  14. Something I've heard countless times that the more trees and greenspace there is correlates to more healthy and safer communities. I always consider well manicured lawns long drives leading up to houses shrouded by large old trees as a signal of wealth but when you actually physically talk about the disparity between communites and their greenspaces you start to recognize how often america is defined on how well manicured you are and your lawn. I like the idea of creating a more natural space through gardens and community projects. The norm is to go to the market to get food, it seems that your lawn should be a manicured space, this has to change, how much land is completely non utilized based off of a market where the norm is to consume from farms that are on an industrial scale is disgusting. Ron Finley is right in what he is doing, he's not just embedding himself in spaces, but embedding food as well in food deserts. An interesting form of protest against our norms of space as clean and manicured or trashed and decrepit which is predominantly a connotation to poor and marginalized communities.

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  15. Similiar to comments above, reading the doctrine made me feel sick and angry at the fact that so many people are a part of a system that is so hurtful and inconsiderate, myself included. I know it is easier to do nothing, when doing something seems so impossible because the world is so cruel.

    Hearing Ron Finley talk about his work after reading the doctrine was really interesting. I think it brought up something that I struggle with understanding. I see a lot of people do a lot of good work with food justice and safety for people in Lexington, so I wonder a lot about what kind of work I want to do to be helpful and mean something.

    Does the kind of work that Ron Finley does, and others more locally, make the systematic injustices mentioned in the doctrin any less? Does it discredit those words, or does it just ignore them? Should that time and money be spent in another way to break down the system, or in doing those things is that actually the biggest revolt you could be doing, like Finley mentions?

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  16. The conversation about green spaces really made me think about the pit downtown. It used to be a green space. How could we have utilized it in a more constructive, productive, helpful way? What opportunities have we missed because of the now gaping hole in our community?

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