Metacognition- Thinking About Thinking
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Track 9: The Prince who is a Pauper

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Booker T. Washington the founder of Tuskegee University was a strong individual or rather his life experiences crafted him into a mosaic of moral fortitude. In his novel Up from Slavery there are numerous instances of Booker T. Washington having to perform manual labor just to achieve an education. Washington once declared “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” This quote by Booker T. Washington is a trademark aphorism that represents the adversity he faced in life. I can relate to this struggle, but not nearly of the same magnitude. However, compared to the life of plentiful splendor my siblings have enjoyed I can say honestly I am from humble beginnings. Thus, I can appreciate my blessings, which I am unworthy of.

I grew up in a single parent household (spent school days with mom, summers with dad), which is the dominate percentage on the pie-chart, for African American children. I hated opening up my lunchbox in elementary school: the redundant cheese sandwich with various vegetables irritated me. Ramen noodles were the love of my life, I ate ramen noodles till I got sick of it. I was responsible for accomplishing numerous chores around the household: wash the dishes, sweep the floor, walk the dog, mop the floor, mow the lawn, bring in the groceries, doing my laundry, clean the bathroom, ironing my clothes for school and a plethora of household chores. I didn’t ask for much because ninety-five percent of the time the answer was: no. I am no stranger to the phrases “I am the parent you’re the child” or “children are meant to be seen and not to be heard”. Like a majority of black children I feared the switch. However, this American pauper is a prince on the British Virgin Island of Tortola.

I have lived two completely different lifestyles between my parents. On the island of Tortola, my father runs his own well established construction company, while my step-mother runs her families own hotel that has an excellent photogenic ocean view. The island of Tortola is a beautiful tropical island where most of my family resides. Living with my father and step-mother is a breath of fresh air, coming for a strict authoritative household. My father doesn’t bark orders at me like I’m a slave, picking cotton before the emancipation proclamation was established. He actually listen and somewhat (in his own way) takes my feelings into consideration. Another key factor that I enjoy there are no definite chores. They have a housekeeper, I can do absolutely, nothing! However, my brother is accustomed to this life. Hard work, struggle, and determination are not in his fifth grade vocabulary. To my knowledge he’s never had to wash dishes, or perform any sort of difficult manual labor, he’s spoiled to his core. He will never worry where his next meal will come from, or will he be able to get the new electronic device taking over the world. Although, he doesn’t understand the simple, yet soul crushing word: No.

Yesterday, as if he heard the word; no for the first his world fell apart. .He became distraught, his head dropped as we walked around the grocery store aisles. His normal exuberant happy-go-lucky attitude turned to that of melancholy, as if the cake had, been left out in the rain. In the Oxford-dictionary look up the word entitlement, and the definition should say: all children born in the new millennia. People just expect the world will hand them everything on a silver platter. My father eventually frustrated about his monotonous attitude finally expressed his rag-to-riches story growing up in a single parent home, with five other siblings. His father played no role in his life, and his struggle: having only one black-white television set, getting up to change the television because remote didn’t exist back then. Having to actually scrub his clothes clean, because washer- machines didn’t exist back then. The generally quality of life back, in his time was strenuous and exhausting. The saying parents often declare: children have it so easy now-a-days. Is actually true. I can appreciate chores now, because they have played a crucial part in building my character. I have an: if you want something in his world, work for it mentality, instead of I need it: give it to me.

The annoying: I need this, I need that, and I can’t live without out that needs to stop. My brother is happily absorbed in his other Christmas presents currently Pokémon X or Y (has them both) on his new 3DS. His tantrum (I speculate) was because of being denied a newer version of the IPad even though he already has one. This Christmas day, let’s not become irate over the materialistic needs, (shit we don’t need in the first place) but exalt in the joy of simply having each other’s company. Let’s remember this Christmas season it’s not about what object, you’ve received that will be tossed somewhere in the deep labyrinth of your household; only to never again see the light of day. It isn’t about knocking people down during black Friday, to get a cheap deal, after proclaiming family and togetherness at the Thanksgiving dinner table.  As trite and redundant the moral: Christmas is about love, family, and celebrating Christ. What’s in your heart, not, what’s under a tree, or in your wallet.

Track 8: Reaching My Frustration Point



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Be Proactive, put yourself in the driver’s seat of life and take responsibility for your life.  That was an obvious declaration in order to push my life forward, nothing will change in your life if you allow yourself to wallow in a deep sense of pity. I never did allow myself to just give up on all my hopes and dreams. I recited the quote from Finding Nemo “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming,” and continued to go with my unfailing optimism: failure is only a stepping stone on the path of success and rejection will only bring you closer to a yes, when I attempted to complete my video interviews for the group sociology project. I sang to myself just put one foot in front of the other. I continue to attempt to be proactive by applying for scholarships, getting a job, trying to save money for a car and learning how drive from a friend but all that came to a screeching halt, as it seemed I had only made a bad situation worse.

Dearest mother sent me to a college that she couldn’t afford and one that I had no interest in going. I took full advantage of the experience as best as I could. I always sit in front of the class, did my work, paid attention, got a job, did community services, joined a bunch of clubs, and took a break from all the clubs. Now, I was thinking of rejoining the different clubs and getting a second job as an English Tutor in order to save money, to buy a used car, because being trapped in Tuskegee and having to walk is not an enjoyable experience to say the least. The proactive voice in my head could not prognosticate this future. My single-parent family makes too much money. My mother supposedly capable of raising eight children on her paycheck and her son working a job wasn’t helping at all. The result is two-thousand dollars is removed from financial aid. The adjective irate doesn’t suffice my frustration, when I heard the trite statement from my parents “You don’t listen!” It was like college, was an unending torturous experience in the twilight zone. Just the thought of the self-entitled adults, whose parents could afford to pay ridiculous amounts of money, for sub-par effort from there children made me angrier than the abusive boyfriend in a lifetime movie.I hate depending on people and being a dependent to tax services was a problem.

Depending on others to me, was waiting to be disappointed. “If you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself.” It was a quote that had been instilled from a young age as a need for independence and formation of self-identity grew within; however, it was silly at the same time. In this world of travel, foreign goods, and interpersonal relationships: no person is an island and synergy was in great demand in this technologically advanced world. America would be the perfect example, it consume a large percentage of goods per year yet hardly produce anything. I often felt a glass-ceiling in what I could I accomplish due to a strong need of self-reliance. I hated above all, asking for help. This strong need of independence is what has always surfaced in the manifestation of looking for job, doing things on my own, being completely alone and partly because I didn’t know any different way to operate.

I now face two possibilities, these being that I wouldn’t be able to enroll for a semester of college and have a six-month break, where I would vigorously work to save money, for a used car along with finally obtaining my driver’s license. The other possibility is that I would be enrolled in college for spring semester; however, this was dubious as result of not being able to pre-register for my classes due to financial holds, and most likely not being able to obtain the classes I need and being trapped in Tuskegee for another semester. Definitely something I didn’t look forward too. As you are reading this it’s probably obvious which option I prefer; nonetheless, I hope for the best, yet am trying to get myself prepared for the worst.

Track 7: Reality Television

       

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    Reality television is a paragon of American the guilty pleasures, if there was anything that was a guilty pleasure of mine it would, be mint-chocolate-chip ice cream, but reality television would definitely be the runner-up. Reality television has changed the entertainment industry with both enlightening, informative, pieces of film, and damaged the entertainment industry with absolute garbage that has served as a modern roman gladiator fight, where combatants are not fighting to death, but fighting to find out the trite, question: Who’s the baby daddy? The question becomes, which do American viewers tune into: the disrespect, and moral decay of Jerry Springer, or a classical favorite of mine: The Next Food Network star.

Rock of Love, The Real World, Jerry Springer, Maury, Flavor of Love, and other garbage has served as pieces of entertainment, in my mundane life. These shows all have the same idea behind it: drama. Watching people fight, argue, scream, and yell, as a little bit of Carl Jung shadow spills out, enjoyable from the comfort of our couch. These characters behave as modern day gladiators viciously combating each other, for the prize of a man or woman’s attention as they spurt out utter nonsense about true love. The entertainment industry in some parts, has given its mind-numbing pictures that brings nothing of actual substance to its audience and that’s perfectly fine. I can’t pose an argument, against because it would be hypocrisy, as I continue to watch the drama unfold between housemates in The Real World series. Reality televisions was like the labeling on potato-chip bags to me: nobody just eats one, just like nobody is just going to watch one episode, something about this kind of reality television drags the viewer back, mesmerized by it all, giving people something to talk or obsess about.

            Even with the infamous side of reality television, there is a side that’s informative, educational and a positive experience for viewers, the Amazing Race, Dirty Jobs, and Cake Boss. Buddy Valestro deals with his family, his passion of baking, all in the same place leaving a family man impression on the viewers, while he intrigues the audience with pieces of creative work, involving modeling chocolate, frosting, wheels, and art. The product is called a cake but with secret compartments and contraptions that go well beyond, that of which we call a cake at the local bakery. Dirty Jobs as Mike Rowe takes Americans to see jobs, they’d hate to have, and laugh as Rowe has to shove his entire fist down in a cow’s anus. The Amazing Race take viewers to look across the world, in a competition to see who can get their fastest, and simultaneously take the viewer on a ride of different cultures, while are ethnocentrism serves as a judge. Finally, reality television has brought both, interesting pieces of television varying from educational, inspirational and to that of moral decay that gives future generation’s bad role models, it all depends: what do you prefer to watch?

Track 6: Baby-Momma-Drama

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If there was a subject most of American’s held strong opinions on it would be abortion. Abortion is viewed in some cases as a child’s right to live and others a woman’s right to her own body. If the argument is defined properly the writer/speaker cannot lose. Politicians speaking complete nonsense on illegitimate rape, because women enjoy the oxymoron of legitimate rape. Women on the other-hand using abortion like it’s the McDonald’s drive through, billions and billions served. Someone has to draw the line in all the madness. Questions spring up on the chalkboard of my mind, that have ambiguous answers depending on the audience asked. When do we call it a baby, when the sperm hits the egg, when it develops into a fetus, or in the third of second trimester? In what cases is it acceptable for a woman to have an abortion? Why is abortion becoming a common practice in America?

            I believe that abortion is unacceptable in almost all cases; the only case in which abortion is acceptable is when the woman’s life is in danger. Life is held in a mother’s womb. The possibilities of life are truly endless that baby could be the next Einstein, Martin Luther King, Bill Gates, Socrates, Hillary Clinton, and Oprah Winfrey. When a woman chooses to abort a baby it’s ending someone’s life before it ever began. I hold true the idea: It’s not who you are now, but what you can become. The strongest case against abortion I ever scene was a billboard, with the simple words: Your mother was pro-life. The thought festered inside of me like, a deep well had been sprung gushing open with new thoughts, a new viewpoint. I had never had a strong opinion on abortion before, but that billboard had changed my thought process.

What if I had never been given the gift of life? What if I never got the chance to live? What if I was never born into this world? Questions I think every man must consider, before thinking about convincing his spouse on aborting a child, and every woman must ponder. Though I am not a woman, and I could never fully understand the experience of PMS, or having a living entity inside of your body, I believe that life is a precious gift. I disagree a woman should not get an abortion even if she was raped, rape is a horrible experience, I agree, but life is one of the greatest experiences ever. Though life can be challenging, difficult, frustrating, and down-right disturbing, it’s through the challenges and struggles that each of us face that, makes us grow stronger and the small moments, of joy that is shared in conversation, pursing hobbies, learning new things, that makes it worthwhile. If a woman cannot afford to have the child, there is a loving home out there that will take care of that child. (or at least I hope so maybe I’m being idealistic) I continue to look at the big-picture for ever woman who’s womb is swollen, she holds the future, she holds the greatest and brightest stars inside, of her, she holds: philosophers, engineers, artist, dreamers, musicians, lawyers, and above all she hold precious life.

 

I read in my sociology book Society The Basics by John J. Macionis“A recent national survey asked a sample of adults the question “Should it be possible for a pregnant woman to obtain a legal abortion if the woman wants it for any reason? In response 42 percent said yes (placing them in the pro-choice camp) and 54 percent said no (expressing the pro-life position); the remaining 4 percent offered no opinion (NORC,2011:399). (Macionis,148). I found this shocking, that it was acceptable to 42 percent of participants to throw away another human being’s life.

 

Further Thoughts:

-Are there actually loving homes out there for children to be adopted too?

-At what stage of pregnancy is a woman no longer allowed to abort?

-How many abortions happen in a standard abortion clinic per year?