Fighting Inequality(ies)…

The week of January 14-20, 2017 is being utilized as a week of action to FIGHT INEQUALITY. Initiated by the  Fight Inequality Alliance, its aimed at drawing attention and focus on inequality within the global economic realm and especially highlighting the far reaching effect of poverty and general impoverishment. This is purposely to coincide with the World Economic Forum occurring within the same period in Davos, Switzerland.

fight-inequalityThe reason for this global call to action is expressed below, as per the website – http://www.fightinequality.org:

Inequality has reached extreme and dangerous levels, and has put too much power into the hands of millionaires and powerful corporations. What’s worse, a growing number of hate-filled leaders are gaining power by pretending to stand up for the poorest. But they are not champions for ordinary people and have no intention of ending corporate greed, tax dodging, privatisation of services, and exploitation of workers, women and minorities. In fact, they are stirring division and discrimination that threatens to take us back to the horrors of the past.We know it’s possible to have a society where everyone matters, and nobody is rich or powerful enough to be immune from the rules. But powerful elites and corporations won’t change a system that works for them without pressure.

Evidence to this is given for example by OXFAMAmerica which highlights that just 8 men have as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population. Source:www.oxfamamerica.org/just8.

 

Related image

Image source: Sustainable Human

Consequently this leads to disparities in income (micro) and the disproportionate economies of scale (macro) which manifest into all types of inequalities and inequalities at all levels, namely social and spatial inequalities. The capitalist mindset stemming from modern day commerce and industry have through the centuries, post -Industrial Revolution era, contributed to the accumulation and amassing of familial wealth. The wealth have been so concentrated within these hands that it is a vain attempt at extricating same except through philanthropy and endowments.

Image result for inequality definition Image result for inequality definition

The promise of wealth accumulation by those outside of these circles have had flickering success through the signing of social entrepreneurial spirits. New inventions and the technological age have opened new frontiers for innovation and thus creating new opportunities for virtual richest.

North-South debate (examining inequality on a geographic scale)

To dial back to an earlier point in the discussion though, the laissez-faire /captalist model is referenced as having contributed to the highly extractive approaches that have left many countries in the developing world reeling with the after-effects. The growth and development of many countries in the ‘North’ at the expense of countries in the ‘South’ is debated in many lecture theatres, college hallways and in social media. The main take home is that the wealth in the hands of the few have been also at the expense of so many  with far-reaching geographic impact.

So in the inequality dialogue one must examine what the global recessions – in quick succession, harsh economic climates and banking crises and such have unearthed- serious and indepth analyses at the individual all the way through household and country levels.  From a theoretical perspective it is not surprising that many of the economic paradigms of the last decades have been reviewed and are now being examined. Many of the problems of this world involving inequality for example cannot be resolved by economic means. This is as many researchers and policy analysts have determined that the economic approach have contributed to and have been the cause of much inequality. As we navigate a paradigm shift social engineers only seek to determine whether or not there are key salvageable and meritorious elements of economic models that can be utilized to assist with a re-engineering of our thinking. Inequality after all is a quantitative measure, in so much as it is able to be, used to explain the qualitative construct of the problem.

 

 

 

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Marginalization and its consequences…

fight-inequality

I have been grappling with the thought that sometimes- well meaning efforts can have inadvertently deleterious effects despite being impactful. This often happens when I am immersed in some gender related activity. I think on the ways in which many cultures still do not allow the girl child to achieve her fullest human potential. Some girls are primed only as brides and thus chattels of their male counterparts whether as a parent or later as a spouse. It is therefore important work to empower females who are so socialized or who have escaped these oppressive regimes they had been forceably subjected to.

However, observations made in the field, in other societies including mine, is that young males have, or had at some point previous, become themselves marginalized. In Jamaica girls are out performing their male counterparts in most of the indicators of human development. See below for the educational attainment indicator example in Jamaica.

Although the number of boys and girls in Jamaica is roughly equal, according to some recent statistics, 48,992 boys and 81,111 girls sat CSEC subjects, and the girls outperformed the boys in all arts subjects and all science subjects, except mathematics. More than twice the number of females (67 per cent) are enrolled in the University of the West Indies (UWI) than males (33 per cent), and 59 per cent of those enrolled in post-secondary non-tertiary education are women.

Its long been accepted that boys develop differently than girls. Strong family support is needed to nurture  the children  in such a re-socialization process so as to take these into consideration. Girls have a proclivity to learn at faster rates than most boys. The education system must, even through resource constraints, have specialized approaches to capture and retain boys as well as girls. Concurrently, there must be a demystified definition of the gender roles. Our boys AND girls must be equally socialized to realize their fullest potential  within the context of modern societies. Traditional roles have to be retooled such that there are no restrictions contained in either.

Correlation between inequality and crime

Thus, it is ironic that the men are expected to be primary bread winners and providers in their traditional roles as ‘heads of households,’ within the current system that is failing them. In previous articles I have written about the high rate of male drop outs and the large percentage of unattached youths primarily concentrated by the males in the population. With the increasingly high national crime rate and the spate of murders in St. James, data can be found to provide evidence to the underlying cause and effect, not excluding the educational attainment. It is an imperative that we do not attempt to only mitigate against the attendant results but also strive to bring resolution to the innate nature of the problem.

We watch the news and documentaries and we wonder how can people be so murderous. We also wonder how people can be so callous as to scam the elderly out of their pension and life’s savings. It is time for us to get into the belly of the beast and slay the dragon from within. We need to start to understand, not empathize, but to dissect the mindset of deviants. As stated in a TEDWomen talk delivered by Jacqueline Novagratz in 2010 we should seek to understand how someone, ‘…[can] look at other beings, human beings, as lesser than [them]selves and in the extreme, to do terrible things.’ In an episode of the series Black Market on the Vice network, some young males (including boys as young as 12) who were involved in carjacking activities in Trenton, New Jersey, stated, ” its ‘us or them,’ when we are hungry.” This echoes the sentiments by many males who hang on the corner in many inner cities or impoverished neighborhoods here- as well some hardened criminals- and those relegated to a life of crime and illicit activities.

To help to make the connection and to solidify the call for attention to neutralizing gender gaps at the socio-economic levels, Novagratz makes the following point even as she was reflecting on a female parliamentarian who was imprisoned for war crimes.

And there is no group more vulnerable to those kinds of manipulations [see quotation above] than young men. I’ve heard it said that the most dangerous animal on the planet is the adolescent male. And so in a gathering where we’re focused on women, while it is so critical that we invest in our girls and we even the playing field and we find ways to honor them, we have to remember that the girls and the women are most isolated and violated and victimized and made invisible in those very societies where our men and our boys feel dis-empowered, unable to provide. And that, when they sit on those street corners and all they can think of in the future is no job, no education, no possibility, well then it’s easy to understand how the greatest source of status can come from a uniform and a gun.

When Love becomes war…

Towards the end of the 2016 period  there was a lot of persons who seemed extra anxious to just be done with it… in some instances one cannot blame them. There seemed to have been so much that happened in the past several months, especially here on the island, which have given us quite a few scary pauses. One of the most troubling was an inexplicable spate of murders committed against women by their domestic partners. At the close of the 2016 the total stood at 24. As a woman this is twenty-four too many. As a social scientist I know that the reasons will be many and deep rooted. A writer in one of the main newspapers here offered up some suggestions as to why a man would kill a woman with whom he would have had a love relationship, at some point. Some of those suggestions were:

  • hurt pride,
  • sense of being betrayed,
  • the ‘no-other’concept -that the woman was made for ‘him’  and ‘no other’ male should get her,
  • the ‘my investment’ concept- that he has invested in her and no other male should reap the dividends,
  • the “my flagship” concept. This is where the woman through her attributes, whether by way of her education, colour, money, or beauty, makes the man look good. These things he does not possess, but because of his association with her, he looks good…and yet another reason, more often alluded to by many as the underlying cause for most domestic violence against women,
  • he deems her as his’“property”. He claims her as his own physically and emotionally. He feels that he can do with her as he wishes, even to the point of killing her.

These are very thought provoking and also insightful. I would like to add to the discussion that most human beings today operate in a state devoid of the core emotions. I engage with persons each day who are experiencing and have experienced abuse and I have surmised that too often we are so overwhelmed by life that we block out those intrinsic elements of our beings such as – empathy and love.  This suppression happens internally BOTH to the victims and the abusers. For example sometimes the victim stifles self preservation for the economic stability afforded her by being in the abusive relationship. At least on the surface of it that is how it would be perceived. Another example may be that she has low self esteem that the abuse sometimes becomes a sick, warped view of being love until it is too late. To the abuser who would have loved the woman, at some point or even during and throughout the abuse feels he loves her, he I posit, does not understand that love- in its most organic state- is not controlling nor hurtful. Love, in fact, is such that it is able to transcend human nature to dominate and to hold captive, thus enabling the ‘loved one’ to be free instead of bring any harm. Free to leave. Free to live.

Similarly,  suppression of basic human emotions happens, externally, to the ‘others’ who are around. We are able to quite easily videotape human tragedy before offering first aid. We are able to easily stay on our side of the wall or fence and listen to couples squabble and not get involve. Us, the others are able to excuse ourselves with, its their problem, I have got my own- which is so much more consuming. We have primarily become less of our brothers keeper. We have become allies in the love war.

 

Is it really the start or a continuation?…

I have been reading a lot of history and gaining background insight, context and knowledge to a lot of the meanings behind the holidays. There were some information I knew having studied European history from the renaissance to revolution. However there was quite a bit that was astoundingly new and quite enlightening. As we get into this I want to share this gem- Knowledge IS power. GET IT.

Moving forward

Many persons make new year’s  resolutions at this time. The belief, I suppose, is that new year, new beginnings. I had undoubtably also subscribed to this in the past, however I have since been reformed. I now strongly operate from the understanding that life- from birth to the grave is a process…a continuous one. Therefore each blessed year is a continuation. To see this clearly, for each birthdate one does not cap off the past and start over. So too analogously  the new year, each year, whether the gregorian calendar or otherwise, is a continuation…If you subscribe to this then you know its a matter of taking stock and realizing that it is never too late. Everyday the universe teaches us  lesson and reveals new things to us. It unfolds such that people we thought we knew we make discoveries about them. We learn more about ourselves we get to understand just how much we are able to tolerate, who we must avoid, who are true and trustworthy, who really wants us to succeed and who is watching for our downfall.Thus we must be aware.

This is an imperative as you strive to become a better you. You must shed useless situations and people. Learn the lessons and keep it moving. The pressure within must be greater than without.  Similarly, we must make choices. Choose to avoid people and situations that have no real value to your well being. You will know them, these things will  drain your energy, totally defeating your efforts and attempts at growth. Summarily, each juncture is an opportunity to sober up, opening your eyes to all truths, the greatest of which is make your life count. Whilst doing this sustain yourselves spiritually, mentally and physically. Love thyself. If you do not care for yourself then you are no good to anyone. Do yourself the favour.

Happy Independence Day Haiti!

Our sister island Haiti celebrates 213 years as the first independent black country. When you read the history of the series of events resulting in this feat you will be amazed at the tenacity and courage inherent in the people of color.

http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/History/Haiti-history.htm

However sadly, it perplexes a lot of us and often begs a common question, in relation to the current state of Haiti – why is Haiti so poor? Watch this video directed by Noland Walker.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8iwPM64DjI

To think that whole process endured for twelve years before the final result! Which brings me to a very important piece of wisdom.

KEEP PRESSING… your best is yet to come. All the very best to a better you!

Managing expectations…and fears

The results are in. You now know. What next?

I don’t know about you but this is the usual mental checklist post any test related activity. In academia, as a student, this is an innumerable occurrence. This scenario can also be applied to real life situations such as:

  • following a visit to the doctor’s office and also upon the return of  lab results,
  • at the garage when your motor vehicle is placed on the computer diagnostic machine,
  • when you are at the store after binge shopping and the clerk just swiped your credit or debit card and,
  • definitely after you have cast your ballot and you await the final counts.

Some instances are more nerve-wracking than others but nevertheless a commonality is anxiety. Nordqvist (2016) writing for Medicalnewstoday states that ‘anxiety affects a person’s whole being. It affects how we think and how we feel, and it has physical symptoms too. Anxiety resembles fear but when a person experiences fear, they know what we are afraid of. Anxiety is often less specific.’ I can relate. We all can relate. Meaning that we have had anxious moments in our lives.  It would seem that with all the environmental stressors of anxiety that it is quite necessary that we determine ways to mitigate against anxiety. I find that we need to develop ways to manage expectations as a way to accomplishing this.

Expectation (noun) is, according to the Oxford dictionary, a strong belief that something will happen or be the case. In addition to simply having a preference for the Oxford’s definition of English words I realize that this definition is often true of what we do when we have expectations. If we are to really understand, using this definition, what happens when we EXPECT we would realize that inextricably linked to this is a faith based belief system in action… if not then we need to really evaluate what we are doing as we live out our existence. Quite frankly we should not carry-on  zombie-like and comatose lives when we are breathing living beings. Introspecting on just HOW we exist must become a priority ‘spring cleaning’ action.We should take stock of not only WHAT we do but HOW we do and WHY we do the things we do. Go right back to the basics …even with the processing of our thoughts.

In so doing we will consciously be aware of what we desire and the implications, in the event that we do or NOT get what we desire, such that we will be prepared to have a healthy reaction. Back to the definition… if one holds a strong belief then commensurately one should have evidence to the high probability of said belief being fulfilled and /or manifested. The absence of tangible and scientifically proven ways of achieving the thing or outcome (object or subject of one’s desire) may make one seem … well frankly a fool…. yet if one intrinsically trust and value other ways of doing and other means of achieving then that individual frees his/herself from synthetic systems fed to mainstream society, meant to lock society into expecting particular outcomes. It is when people do not see or have the results expected – due to the society led belief systems- that there is anxiety and panic.

Thus expectation cannot be void of faith.

However misplaced faith is a pitfall to avoid at all cost. In selecting a candidate to represent you for example, as it pertains the governance of your community, country and dare I say the free world, an assessment of the person and their position on the core principles you stand for is not an exercise in futility. When you are confident in the candidate’s ability and when you are clear on what they value then you can only exercise your franchise and hope that the majority of the eligible voters do the same. Now this is within the context that the electoral process operates in the manner where it is the majority of the ‘peoples’ vote that counts. If this is the anomaly then you will expect that your candidate who will be a part of government will fight on and eke out meaning victories in the foreseeable future where it will really matter. There is no luxury afforded to wallow in disappointment and victim like sorrow. In fact it is a charge to be more resolute, to work smarter and fight harder.

Each individual must resoundingly amplify the faith that will herald the expected outcome, if not today but in the time allotted. Eventually there will be a collective and holistic realism to existence on earth.

 

International day of Democracy…late post

September 15, 2016- International Day of Democracy.

This is an interesting commemoration….I tend to believe that certain things are to be intrinsically valued by all, such that there is no need for external reminders but oh well…

There will be a lot of reflections , I suppose, on this thing called democracy today. International agencies such as the UN, multi-laterals and nations on the local level and dare I say by individuals. I posit that fundamental to this reflection on democracy should be the whole notion of FREEDOM. On a point of order I want to just insert the following as a food for thought.

Freedom and democracy are often used interchangeably, [but are thought of as not] synonymous. Democracy is indeed a set of ideas and principles about freedom, but it also consists of a set of practices and procedures that have been molded through a long, often tortuous history. In short, democracy is the institutionalization of freedom. For this reason, it is possible to identify the time-tested fundamentals of constitutional government, human rights, and equality before the law that any society must possess to be properly called democratic.

Source: https://www.ait.org.tw/infousa/zhtw/docs/whatsdem/whatdm2.htm

I want to use a recent event to examine the question- Are we free? Is there freedom of speech?Indeed are these not hallmarks of democracy?… If not what are some other cogent indicators …Are current systems, institutions and procedures democratically administered when questions can’t be asked and responses respectfully forthcoming?

The lens through which to make a brief examination – Resulting from a recent road accident, I have been without a personal mode of transit and instead have returned and taken to the public transportation…once again. You see I am totally all for public mass transit but that’s another entry. This day in particular I was travelling on an express, premium bus, en route home with my child…With such options as ‘express’ and ‘premium’ how can you not be impressed? Anyhoo, I digress…lol. At  a particular junction a very tall and stout woman boarded the bus and announced that she is here to inspect the tickets. She wore a bright yellow top with the clearly, identifying logo, etc. So for those who are not visually impaired and who are beyond functional literacy we could read and determine what she was about…mind you this was really what we had to do…because there was not much more by way of explanation.

I pause here because (1) I took offense to her entry and approach and (2) as a fairly new comer to the system I was, quite frankly, surprised and immediately mentally searched my mind as to where I would locate my ticket.I was not informed by anyone or saw said reminder anywhere that I should retain my ticket. I initially also panicked as based on her imposing stature I wondered what would happen if I did not find this daggone ticket before she got to me. However, whilst all this mental gymnastics was happening to me I heard a male voice to my rear right ask, ‘why do you want to see the ticket?’…good question right?…wellll here was the response…’well Sir you better make sure you have it.’….OMG….WTH!

I was looking quite spiffy that day, midnight black shades and all, but I was livid to the point where my words went ahead of my thoughts and out came, ‘but this woman is not professional, the man has a right to know.’ My son who almost always is embarrassed by me when I publicly defend anything nodged me with his knee (he was standing over me having previously risen and given his seat to a female). As I gave him the obligatory look, he in turn obliged with that warning look, which translated loudly into- DO.NOT.EMBARASS.ME. Well because he had to take the bus more than I, this time, I let it slide. But I was still steaming. So I made a public show of , where is MY ticket. I earned a brief stare of disgust from the [lady] Inspector and some side eyes from a few passenger standing in the immediate vicinity… by now the woman had ‘efficiently’ made her way to the back…no doubt spurred on by the thrill of the fight…saddling up and being ‘ready for this man.’

Of course she eventually got there and the man was insistent on why she needed to see the ticket, she demanded same, grudgingly reeling off the now obvious, ‘its part of my job’ line….The man (who by the way was still in his right) said ‘yes well its all well and good but answer me this- How would I get all the way into and way down the back of the bus, without first having paid at entry at the front door?’…another good question and if I may add a damn good one too!!!!…my son’s knee seemed to press harder into my shoulder here … Also by this time and in that split moment other passengers started to get angry but…at the man! especially when the lady Inspector, in her now booming voice directed the bus driver, to ‘stop the bus’ and let her call for the police to come and take this man off the bus. The man held his ground and even as the passenger next to him tried to placate him and explain that, ‘if he was travelling to the states’…I slapped my head and wondered mentally, ‘oh here we go.’…(the woman passenger continues)…’yes so when you travel and they ask you to show them your ticket, don’t you doit!?…well den is so it go ere so..same way, same thing!?’…as I thought out loud RUBBISH, my valiant male comrade lambasted her and shut her down with, ‘lady stop talk to me please because it is certainly not the same thing here, so stop telling me about when you travel!’

YEASSSSSSS!!!!!! Checkmate my good Sir!…..this post is getting too long so ‘to make a long story short’ ….always loved that phrase…the man eventually stated that he was going to show ‘dis ooman’ his ticket but it was not because of ‘giving up any right’ but as an example of bringing to an end what she did wrong. Quite so!…People the takeaways are obvious but the main thing I want to highlight is that the simple act of that man asking his question and reiterating his position..is a fundamental freedom and right. We should not be afraid to question anything or for that manner question those in authority because guess what that is what democracy is supposedly about. Individual rights. Reciprocal accountability, etc.The fact that the lady Inspector approached the matter in the way she did is not surprising and is indicative of how those in authority operate. Sadly too these simple infringements are manifested tenfold in other aspects of society. The violation of an individual’s right to ask questions becomes the violation of an individual’s  right to equal opportunities, etc. Small things have the ability to become bigger one. The violation of an individual’s right to ask questions of one public servant becomes the violation of an individual’s right to question the whole public service. The violation of an individual’s right to question simple unjust procedures becomes the violation of larger injustices…the more things change, the more they remain the same. The institutionalization of freedom(democracy) is the sum total and collective rights of citizens as governments and governing systems are,after all-  for the people and by the people.

Friday…end of the work week ‘bits and pieces’

HAPPY FRIDAY!

The work week is not yet over and for some of us it will include the weekend as well…(sigh). However just thought to post these quick shares in order to get through it all.

 

1. The ‘Jamaican’ influence. There is no dispute that as a country (and this is operationalized by the people of Jamaican descent)- Jamaica has an impactful global influence. Take this example from Nairobi, Kenya. Thanks Oral Campbell -BUPJ. However, sometimes I wish it was not for the wrong, nonsustaining, superficial reasons.

2. And here’s another one…… https://www.facebook.com/funnyordie/videos/10154059075898851/.

Shaggy’s ‘IT WASN’T ME.’ In case you don’t know here is a link to the song- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2g5Hz17C4is.

 

3. This videohttps://www.facebook.com/blakprophetz/videos/804198946290425/.

Led me to think that this can be replicated for so many other situations ‪#‎beingfat‬, ‪#‎bodyshaming‬,‪#‎beingblack‬, ‪#‎beingmuslim‬ ‪#‎beingrastafarian‬ ‪#‎beingnative‬ ‪#‎beinglocal‬,‪#‎beingyoung‬, ‪#‎beingawoman‬, #beingmisunderstood, ‪#‎notapartoftheindustrycrowd‬, ‪#‎notoneofthem‬,‪#‎beingdifferent‬, ‪#‎beingafirst‬, ‪#‎beingunknown‬ ‪#‎justbeing‬! ‪#‎stopthinkrespect‬.

Just keeping it real!