In Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Junior’s most prominent issue is his ethnicity because it dictates how he is perceived by others and by himself. Because he is a Native American, everyone around him expects him to be poor and helpless, but also a “warrior [who] isn’t afraid of confrontation” (91). He is supposed to a defeatist future drunkard like everyone else. These racial expectations impel Junior to want to defy borders and rules that were placed upon him before he was even born. They push him to break a poverty cycle and a barrier that segregates the reservation from the rest of the world. He seeks hope and goes to “racist Reardan” but his race only causes him more problems there (56). At least in the reservation, he is seen as “just a poor-ass reservation kid living with his poor-ass family on the poor-ass Spokane Indian Reservation” (7). He is poor like everyone else, but that is part of his race. They “feel that [they] somehow deserve to be poor. […] [They are] Indian. And because [they’re] Indian [they] start believing that [they’re] destined to be poor. It’s an ugly circle and there’s nothing [they] can do about it “(13). When he starts going to Reardan however, he gets labeled as a traitor by the people at the reservation and a “Bigfoot or a UFO” at Reardan (56). “[He] Always feels like a stranger. He [is] half Indian in one place and half white in the other” (118). Being like one of the races cause each community to discourage Junior from breaking the barbaric loop that somehow has become the norm. The rules that the American government set long ago are never challenged but now Junior is receiving hate for flouting these rules. In conclusion, Junior wants to be more than what people label him as or expect him to be just because of his ethnicity.
When I write, there is a notion of freedom that uplifts me and encourages me to write more. If that freedom of speech is taken away, we lose an essential aspect of writing. So authors SHOULD be allowed to use racist language in their writing. When they create a separate world by writing, they shouldn’t be restrained by what society deems to be politically correct. If the author is writing a book based in a specific place, they should use dialect and slang from that area. That includes offensive ones, as the slurs can add depth and honesty to the overall feel of the book. If someone gets offended by the writing, all he or she has to do is stop reading. If authors exploit the ability to use racial language, it can take away from the book. An example is Mark Twain. He used it to emphasize certain elements in his stories and made them more thoughtful of time and place. In conclusion, authors should be able to use racial language; they shouldn’t condemn their own writing based on what the world believes to be politically correct.
The corridor, only lit by a single light bulb, flickered on and off. When it was dark, it hid its secrets, but on for a moment, showed its true malevolence. The air reeked with the stench of unwashed inmates. My footsteps, slow and hesitant, moved further. My hands brushed against the steel icicles as I restrained myself from looking at what was behind them. The inmates thrashed against their cells incessantly. Screams sounded distant but there they were, beckoning me to come closer. They had crooked teeth, messy hair, and wide eyes as if they were excited for their next victim. Each one seemed hungrier than the last. I looked beyond them, fearing what I would see. A human carcass laid on the ground. Flesh festering, flies feasting. The lights went off again, but for a longer period this time. I heard a grunt, then a clang. I spun around, fearing for what I was about to see. The lights turned on again. I was met with the glaring face of a prisoner.
“A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.”
— Malcolm X
For the most part, in today’s world, everybody is treated equally. Everybody has equal rights, responsibilities, and freedoms. Now visualize a time where it wasn’t like that. You were judged, segregated, split, by and from others from the time you were born to the time you die. It wasn’t something you could choose either. You were born a colour, a gender, and you were treated according to who you were, what you looked like, what you believed in, etc. My eminent person is Malcolm X. He was born into a time like that, and he decided to change something.
Malcom X, whose birth name was Malcom Little, spoke for blacks. He spoke about and for a controversial topic in a controversial time when society was against him. I admire this about him. Having an opinion different from everybody else’s, even in a light conversation, can be intimidating. Now what he did, I can’t imagine how much determination, courage, and effort it took. To say something contrary to the way society has lived for hundreds of years. I’d like to think I have some degree of that courage of “free expression”. For example, I can go up to anyone and speak my mind; complimenting or giving honest opinions to random people isn’t just something anyone can do. Another trait I share with him is our frequent relocations in our childhoods. Although mine weren’t negative like his were, they have happened nine times since my birth. He often moved due to harassment from white supremacists and other groups. Even through all that he pushed through “by any means necessary”. This can symbolize a goal I have in TALONS, which is to try my best. However, I don’t mean to go to extremes as he did. Some barriers I might have to face is some of our differences. He was a very religious person and had lot of problems, addressing religious matters. His race, cultures, and ethnic background is also different than mine. The fact that he lived in America; I don’t think that will be a problem, but Canada might’ve been different than or like America in those times. I will have to look further into that.
Looking around in the world, we can see dark-skinned people getting along with lighter-skinned people. Colour of skin doesn’t matter as much anymore. Back in time, not long ago, it was different. Malcolm X was a major contributor to the change that was brought about. Not judging instantly and putting differences aside are hard for humans to do. So, the fact that Malcolm X was able to stand up and supress the human instinct is commendable. He talked all over the world, talking to the elderly and the young, more so the latter. He spoke in universities, churches, and different communities in North America, Africa, and Europe. During his time speaking and living in general, he was faces with a lot of obstacles. When he was six his father was run over by a streetcar. It was believed that it was done by racial groups. His family became irate which influenced him to act towards his goal. His goal changed constantly throughout his life, but an underlying base never did. He believed in equality for everyone, no matter their differences. At age thirteen, his mother was placed in mental institution. This put him into a series of changes of foster homes. As a child, Malcolm X did very well in school. Some might even have called him gifted. One day, when a teacher had asked him what he wanted to be, he said, lawyer. The teacher flat-out said to have a more realistic goal like a carpenter. Having been said no just because he was black caused him to drop out the next year. At age 20, he got arrested for larceny. He was sentenced to 10 years of prison. During that time, he read a lot of books from the prison library to make up for his lack of education. He then spoke out despite all negativity towards him. He was inspired by a lot of people close to him like his parents, his wife, and his teachers. The person he was most influenced by was Elijah Muhammad. Elijah Muhammad was the leader of the Nation of Islam which is a movement organization for and of African-Americans. Malcolm X joined the NOI, but I don’t know a lot of his involvement in it. I will have to research this further.
Although all his (and others who spoke up for racism) efforts, I still wonder why racism is still being addressed today. Sure, society has come a long way, but racial acts for and against still exist. Why do they exist if we have already put that behind us? That is something I want to investigate further into.
What first strikes out at me in this scene was when Starr throws her instinct out the window and gives in to the urge to see Khalil. As she says in the story herself, her instinct tells her not to, “but everything else says [to] check on Khalil.” This highlights her as a very caring person towards the people she is close with. When Starr and Khalil first confront Officer One-Fifteen in the car, she is calm and analyzes the situation. This is one of her strengths, but I believe her compassion towards others overrules that. Before this scene even happens, Starr and Khalil were already heading home. There were shots fired at the party they were at, so I see the encounter with the police heightening their fear and urgency to get home. Starr’s fear elevates when Khalil keeps objecting the officer’s commands. It leads up to the officer letting bullets fly, brutally killing Khalil in the process. “[She] scream[s] loud enough for the both of [them].” Although one-fifteen is the major obstacle in this scene, other conflicts arise within her. Khalil’s death reminds her of another friend she watched die. It causes her pain, as in her own head, she’s watching two people she was very close with, be gone. Her decision making was a conflict as well. It overrides her safety instincts which could’ve caused her harm. Personally, I wouldn’t have done anything different than what Starr did. Seeing a childhood friend be murdered right in front of your eyes would be enough to emotionally overwhelm anyone, I imagine.
McLean first states it was Sam’s lie that ends up, “rescu[ing] his mother and father,” (139) from this I infer McLean is implying that Sam’s actions significantly increased all character’s overall happiness. He is stating that this lie positively impacted their lives for the better; this is true. There were many outcomes of this lie that make it beneficial to everybody. For Sam’s lie to “rescue” his mother and father, they would have to have troubles in the first place. For example, Dave was getting older and his well-being and self esteem was low. “All Dave saw in the light of spring were new wrinkles. The wrinkles made him worry. The worry made his stomach ache. He lost his appetite, he felt faint. Before long he was engulfed in a full-blown hypochondriacal funk” (139). Morley’s troubles lied at word. She had no time for herself or anyone she cared about. “She was so busy, in fact, that this spring Morley had no time for her garden, not time for her family, and no time for herself” (139). The first positive effects of the lie was when Dave received compliments from Carl. Carl said, “you look…great, Dave” (145). Dave didn’t know that he was ‘dying’, so when Carl said that he looked good, he had no idea Carl was talking about his nonexistent sickness. Dave did also say that ”[He’s] not contagious,” which also make Carl believe he really is ill. Another thing Carl gave him is a jar of spirulina which Dave thought was an input into everybody saying he looks great. “There was something in Carl Lowbeer’s herbal tonic after all” (153). Morley on the other hand, got a break from work. People frequently came to her house and took the time to talk to her. Morley was oblivious to the fact that they were talking about Dave, not Arthur whom she was referencing. It was not just Morley and Dave who got positively impacted by Sam’s lie, but others in the story. Like Sam himself. He got lasagna and a book from a second grader. “Jordy handed Sam a plastic bag. There was a wild mushroom lasagna and a book in the bag. The book was called Comfort in the Arms of the Angels” (152). He got two free ice-creams and large servings at that. There was a point in the story that made the readers think that Sam’s disclosure, that his father is dying, was negative. Sam felt guilty, but only for a short amount of time. He eventually succumbed to his guilt and told the councillor that it was his dog that was dying and not his father. Nobody believed him, and they thought he was mentally ill or distraught in some way. “He’s in denial. He wont even admit his father is sick. He says it’s the dog” (156). When he was about to reveal to his parents the reason for all the compliments and sympathy was because of his lies, he stopped. Arthur was healed, and all was well. When he got asked if either his dad, or dog is “all right”, he avoided the question and just said, “Yes, he isn’t going to die after all. He’s all better now. It wasn’t so bad as we thought. They gave him pills” (157). No matter who was talking to, that sentence would apply and make sense. At the end, we see that every character in the story is now happy. It’s due to Arthur getting healed, Morley’s off time from work, and Dave’s new-found morale. All the other characters have been positively impacted too. Their happiness is like a comeback football game. At the beginning the team is struggling, or in this case, feeling bad for Dave and Sam. They are emotionally torn during the game, or the story. At the end, the team wins! Or rather, Dave doesn’t die! The tables are turned, and how grieved they were before has become how ecstatic they are at the end. So, in conclusion, although the lie hadn’t been a good plan initially, it worked for the better at the end.
How your digital footprint affects your future
The mark you leave behind on the internet can have a major impact on your future. For example, when you apply for a job, your employer might search your name up. They might find your name, social media account, or other information about you somewhere on the internet. Whether they find positive or negative information can affect whether you get the job or not. Another example is college or university. They can easily check and find out who you are if you’re applying. That also depends if you get in or not. Well then you might be thinking, “How do I keep my digital footprint positive and safe?” That’s a good question. One thing you should always do before you post is T.H.I.N.K. That means you should ask yourself these questions: Is the post true? Could it hurt others? Is it illegal? Is it necessary? Are you being kind? Also, before you post, always make sure you change the privacy settings on your social networking account so that only your real life friends or people you know can see it. You should never disclose any personal information as well. This includes phone number, address, passwords, etc. If I could go back in time and change anything I did online, I would not change anything but the advice I would give myself or other students is, always think before you say or do anything online and a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if your grandmother would approve.