The Backfire Effect

The last class before we left  for Thanksgiving Professor McCoy played a podcast for us about how to convince someone of something while avoiding the backfire effect. At the time I had no idea how ideal the timing of this podcast would be. Thanksgiving for my family means my mom’s entire side of the family gathering in a tiny house, chatting with each other all while stuffing our faces with turkey and mashed potatoes. Everybody always warns that during the holidays “Don’t talk about politics”.  While I safely avoided the discussion of politics with relatives I did not avoid a Thanksgiving dispute about gun control. My aunt’s husband is a corrections officer so everyday he works with a gun strapped onto his belt. He also, by choice, carries an off-duty pistol when he is not working. This is what ultimately started the discussion. My mom asked him “is that a gun clipped to your belt”. I was standing right next to her so naturally I turned to hear his response. Him and my mom had a brief discussion about why he was carrying it. Then, I got involved. The overview of my conversation was my uncle and I arguing over if carrying a pistol in public should be legal in New York. The conversation ended up being an unfortunate example of the backfire effect.  Continue reading “The Backfire Effect”

Fortune Telling

The fact that the zombie that ultimately kills Gary was a fortune teller has a lot of significance outside of the obvious. There is enough irony and subtleties in the conversation being had before the fatal bite to create a whole other blog post, but I just keep getting stuck on the fortune teller. There are many different methods of fortune telling, all with vastly different origins, but one of the most well know practice today is Tarotology. Although there is not an exact science to reading tarot cards and there are many reasons to doubt their real power, there are still many interest aspects and meanings within the deck that can be applied to the ending of Zone One. Continue reading “Fortune Telling”

Humor In Humanity

One thing I noticed and enjoyed in Zone One was Colson Whitehead’s ability to convey humor amidst the dreariness and dystopia of the apocalypse. He implements humor in his characters through games like “Solve the Straggler” and “Name That Bloodstain!”. This helps counter the more gloomy events of the novel so we aren’t completely overcome with how depressing the story actually is. Continue reading “Humor In Humanity”

The Sullivan Principles

Today, in my International Business class, we talked about Leon Sullivan.  Sullivan was also discussed in a podcast regarding the international principles he established. The Sullivan Principles were initially established in 1977 to prevent international companies from participating in business with South Africa if apartheid was still practiced. Continue reading “The Sullivan Principles”

The Unintentional Backfire Effect

From Avery’s blog post “Persuasion vs. Awareness” I share similar feelings regarding what impact a single person can have vs. an entire group on someone’s beliefs. I believe that Avery’s statement, “The sad truth is that they may forget it within the next twenty-four hours” reveals how hard people sometimes need to work in order to affect someone. I believe the collective statement that we are working on in class has the potential to change people’s opinions about what Geneseo’s study abroad programs are about. Although the statement may have the potential to change a study abroad students view on what the program is about, I fear that it could possibly result in the backfire effect if the person presenting the material does not know how to properly present it to a student seeking to volunteer abroad. Continue reading “The Unintentional Backfire Effect”

A Critique of Lilith’s Parenting

What is striking to me is a conversation between Lilith and Jodahs in Butler’s Imago. After reading Linda’s post, I came to the realization that Butler strategically placed an incident where the reader sees Lilith’s own humanity through the parental lens. In the second chapter, “Exile,” it is evident that Jodahs has come to accept himself and his changing body. Contrary to Nikanj’s perception of the situation (accepting Jodahs for how it sees itself), it appears that Lilith does not accept Jodahs’ changing appearances:

“What are you doing?” my human mother asked. “Letting your body do whatever it wants to?” Continue reading “A Critique of Lilith’s Parenting”

Stereotypes Never Die

Stereotypes are a part of human history and will never truly go away. Every race has a stereotype that follows them through the ages, and new ones crop up with every passing year. Some of the more typical stereotypes are those that surround race, gender, culture, groups of individuals and their posses, and sexuality. It is very ignorant, naive and rude of those who mention stereotypes to people’s faces, as just because it is true of a select few does not mean it is true for all. The more common stereotypes that surface surround race, gender and sexuality with jokes against black people and the LGBTQ+ community. You would think that with the passing years, and as people grow older they would stop believing stereotypes about people and making assumptions about people without knowing them, but no dice.

Some would hope that the world would become more accepting of everyone in the future, especially when the unthinkable happens, say a possible apocalypse where you could die at any moment. Everyone across the globe would band together and try to beat their adversary without bothering with making jabs at someones orientation, skin color or demographic. But in Zone One, we are proven wrong about our assumptions of humanity in the future.

In Zone One the main character, Mark Spitz, was not born with that name, no. He was given that name as a running joke, for he is a black man that would rather shoot his way out of a horde of zombies bent on killing him, rather than swim in water. Mark Spitz in turn is a very famous Olympic swimmer that has been replaced by Michael Phelps in commonality. It is a well known stereotype that Black people can’t swim, and its true that many cannot. But there are plenty that can swim very well, (me included since I was on a swim team for 9 years), and two summers ago African american swimmer, Simone Manuel set an Olympic record at the 2016 Olympics for the 100 freestyle. Even though Mark Spitz knows they are making a racist joke, he allows them to continue with this running racist joke. He is an easy going guy, and a good Skel-killer, so if he can have a good moment with his team that brings some light into these dark days, why ruin it by not being passive about it.

Unintentional Harm

Fair warning message: I have been meaning to write this blog post, but I just have not been able to get to it, which is why you are seeing some of my recent posts about topics that were already mentioned.

Prior to reading all the blog posts and articles about medical voluntourism, such as “The Trouble with Medical Voluntourism” and “The White Tourist’s Burden,” I have always admired students that were willing to spend their summers going abroad to give their service and time to help a country that is in need of assistance, rather than spending it lounging around somewhere warm, like the beach. However after reading these articles and discussing the topic during class, I now realize how it is an issue. I believe most students are taking this English 101: Literature, Medicine & Racism class because they believe it will help them gain knowledge that they can use in the medical field. Discussing topic like medical voluntourism is important because it allows us to ask ourselves, “If we lacked the training and expertise required, would we risk harming a patient’s life in the chance of helping them?” No, right? If we would not do it here in our home country, what makes us think it is right to do it in a foreign country?

Continue reading “Unintentional Harm”