In this article the writer shows that majority of black Americans are deluded into dreams of becoming famous sports stars. The hailed heroes among the blacks such as the Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson serve to be a source of inspiration for these youngsters. While in this delusion, the education of these children remain largely neglected as is evident by the grim statistics showed by the writer. The statistics for that year show that the number of children graduating out of college was only 26.6%. The percentage of these college athletes making into professional sports also remains low. When these passionate young athletes, blinded by their passion to become like famous sports stars, fail to make it into sports fields they become devastated. This is because at that point in time they do not have sufficient education to pursue other careers. The majority of their time then had been wasted pursuing a lost cause.
The writer believes that for this reason it is necessary that the schools and educational institutes of the region also pay attention to the education of these youngsters. Apart from that effort should be made to promote other successful black people such as Toni Morrison and Reginald Lewis. Their achievements should also be highlighted so that it instills among the young people the desire to be like them.
Gates article serves as a reality check for people who blindly pursue a single path without having any form of contingency planning. In the case mentioned in the article, the black youngsters are so blind in their passion that they even neglect their studies. Having a degree and educational background is necessary to get into any other profession, so in case when they fail to become professional athletes they are left with no other option. The article also highlights the importance of education. It shows that no matter what you do or whichever career you pursue, it should not affect your studies. Gates also talk about a balance, that a country not only needs successful sportsmen but also successful entrepreneurs, doctors and other professionals to prosper. That it is the responsibility of the family as well as the educational institutes to give the growing child exposure in all fields. This will allow him to find his talent and pursue it, be it in sports, medicine, arts, engineering or any other field. Constant exposure to one any one kind will unfavorably shift his mind and passion in that direction, irrespective of whether he has that potential. This was the case with young blacks as majority of them wanted to be like Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson.
I Want a Wife
Over the years women have been assumed to take care of host of responsibilities in their lives. The tasks of rearing the children, cooking, keeping the house clean, entertaining the guests, attending to needs of husband and children have all been automatically assigned to her while her male counterpart has conveniently exonerated himself from these chores. This essay by Judy Brady was written in the early seventies and depicts how the society of that period viewed women. In an ironical manner the writer has sketched the perfect model of a wife that every man dreams of. Women have fought relentlessly for their rights over the years and even today this mentality still prevails among many who view women merely as sex objects or as someone whose role is restricted to the confines of the home. Many cultures and societies around the globe do not encourage women to enter the corporate world, pursue their careers and leave their homes for work. This division of labor is also seen in many Muslim majority countries where earning of bread and butter is assumed to be the sole responsibility of the man. The woman on the other hand is assumed to nurture the child, run the home and care for the elderly.
In case of less developed countries this also takes a toll on country’s resources. To study the implications of such barriers in a woman’s life we will look at the case of a country like Pakistan where women constitute more than half of the country’s population. In this case it means lack of active participation by half of the country’s workforce due to societal and cultural barriers. In such countries due to limited resources facilities of health and education are also limited. Often it is seen that after completion of professional degrees and education women they are not allowed to pursue their careers due to family pressures or pressures of the married life. Thus the country is not able to benefit from their professional experience while they have turned down another person’s chance to pursue that degree due to limited seats at the university. The poor households in these countries also do not spend much on health of females of their households as compared to males. This is because males constitute a source of earning for them while women cannot bring any cash inflow to the household due to her restrictions to get education and work. The lack of education among women also takes a toll on the health of the family as an uneducated woman is not able to take good care of her family and lacks familiarity with hygiene and other factors in nurturing of children.
In terms of women’s rights then, the developed countries are much ahead as compared to the developing countries. The various organizations of women’s rights have enabled women to achieve many of her rights which she lacked before. Majority of the employers today provide equal opportunity to both men and women while the governments around the world are also actively taking part in promoting women’s welfare and bringing them at par with men. However in cases where women are denied certain rights due to cultural and social barriers, it is a long term process as it requires a change in people’s attitudes. Thus it requires participation and awareness of people at this basic level as well. Even if government or organizations allow these rights, some women will still not be able to avail them as long as they remain entangled in these barriers.
Sex, Lies and Conversation
The prevalent disparity in the activities and expectations of the two sexes serves to increase the communication gap between them. Thus males and females tend to have different interpretations of the same social interaction due to these differences. The first step in the process of narrowing this communication gaps requires that we must understand the communication behavior of the opposite sex.
In this essay the author Debrah Tannen points out the problems which serve as a barrier to effective communication between the two sexes. Due to the difficulties mentioned by Tannen the communication process becomes a “cross cultural” communication. At the introduction of the essay the author talks about a man who publicly declares how his wife is the talker of the family. This man likes to talk publicly while at home he prefers to remain silent. This case is opposite with women. Tannen said that she inferred during interviews with her clients that the major reason for the high divorce rate in America is the lack of communication among the couples. Women want their husbands to be communicative companions and sensitive to their feelings. On the other hand similar expectations are usually not shared by their male counterparts.
The writer draws a comparison between behaviors of elementary school boys and girls. She says that these children usually tend to communicate only amongst the same sex. Interaction among girls is more proactive as they like to share stories and secrets with each other. Boys on the other hand tend to interact more physically. Interaction for them is playing sports and doing things together rather than chit-chatting for long hours. Thus conversations generally do not hold an important value among them, especially in relationships. Boys’ poor listening capabilities can also be associated with their group structures which are usually large and divided into ranks where it is not desirable to be at the bottom of the hierarchy. Listening generally makes them feel a rank lower than the speaker. The writer points out that this makes it an undesirable behavior for them.
The writer states that women often complain that their male counterparts do not listen to them while the males tend to overrule this assertion. According to Tannen, the reason for this discord can be associated to the difference in communication styles. Men usually do not usually stare directly at the other person while interacting as their attention is easily distracted by their surroundings. This was the reason that led one girl to complain that her boyfriend won’t listen, while he continuously asserted that he did. Another difference in conversational styles that lead women to believe that men don’t listen is that men usually jump from one topic to another, while women tend to talk at length about one issue. Because men’s conversation is very concise and does not last that long, women tend to believe that they do not pay attention.
Just like women, men also tend to get frustrated with listening habits of the opposite gender. Women think that sounds such as yeah and umuh are a way to show to the speaker that she is paying attention while the males might find them as frustrating and unsuitable interruptions.
If both the genders are able to understand the communication problems that exist among them they will be in a better position to improve the communication process. Awareness of such “touch points” which frustrate the other person will help them to adjust and reach a compromise.
Shooting an Elephant
“Shooting an Elephant” is a self-narration by a British policeman Orwell who was deployed in Burma during the colonial era in the middle of the twentieth century. During that time there was much hatred among the natives against the Europeans. Orwell himself had faced such hatred in terms of occasional insults and laughter by the natives. As much as he despised the local population, he remained ambivalent as he considered the British as tyrant rulers who were controlling the region without the will of the local population.
The starting point of the drama of “Shooting the Elephant” is the telephone call that Orwell receives about a mad elephant ravaging the streets of the city. With his rifle he pursues the animal on a pony which according to the natives had gone “must”.
While pursuing the mad elephant, Orwell arrives at a scene where a native has been crushed and killed by the elephant and a woman is trying to block the site of the corpse from the children. The narrator then locates the elephant which apparently seems harmless. Here the narrator states that he had become a puppet who was under pressure to conform to the expectations of the natives who had surrounded the scene. He goes on to say that imperialists destroy their independence when they become oppressive rulers as then they have to please the natives and try to conform to their expectations. To avoid becoming a laughing stock at the hand of the natives the only option Orwell has is to kill the elephant.
Orwell had to shoot the elephant three times before he finally fell to the ground. Event after that Orwell shot several bullets into his heart to relieve him of his misery so that he can die earlier, but despite that it took the animal half an hour to die.
The story of the killing of this elephant became quite controversial after that. The owner was not happy with the killing as it had cost him much. People also had opposing views about the killing. However, the killing of the coolie by the elephant had given Orwell a legitimate reason to kill the animal irrespective of whether it was insane.
This self-narration shows that while it may seem evident in this case to identify the rulers and ruled (the British and the Burmese); it is not quite the case. While impinging on the freedom of the ruled population, the rulers have sacrificed their own freedom. In order to sustain their domination they have to continuously please the natives and act according to their wishes to avoid frustration and mutiny from the locals. Their freedom is thus ruined.