I recieved an A+ on this final paper too. I don’t think I would have posted them if I got anything less. Let me know what you think.
I moved with my mother and two sisters to O’Neill, Nebraska in 1965 from South Dakota. This is where I spent the next 14 years. These were important years because beginning as a child and eventually reaching adulthood many of my views of the outside world were being formulated. Later, after I left O’Neill those views would drastically change. These views began the transition to being more liberal when I left for Mount Marty College, a private Roman Catholic institution in Yankton, South Dakota. A few years before I went to Mount Marty College, they began allowing boys to attend. From college I ended up in Omaha, Nebraska, later moving to Phoenix, Arizona. Nebraska is a very conservative state and O’Neill was no different. I have now come to the conclusion that O’Neill, Omaha and Nebraska overall are bigoted, racist, and intolerant towards anyone who is not Caucasian. Phoenix is more accepting though it too has problems towards Afro-Americans, Hispanics and Latinos. Culturally America is changing, but the communities I came from are many years behind.
O’Neill, Nebraska when I lived there had a population around 3,500 hundred people. O’Neill is a farm and ranching community. This small town never tolerated other races. I remember a local church bringing a black family to town only to have them leave two weeks later because of prejudices and ongoing harassment within a day of arriving. The racial makeup of the city is “98.5% white and all other races combined is 1.5%.” (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000) The Latino population has grown but is under counted because of the high number of illegal immigrants. Hispanics have come to this area to work in the local ethanol plant and potato plant.
O’Neill was considered the Irish Capital of Nebraska and has an annual celebration proclaiming it so. During one of these festivals I experienced the racism that was prevalent in my community. I brought some black friends home from college with me for a weekend of celebrating St. Pat’s Day. We were immediately confronted by racisim by my own family and throughout the rest of the very short time we were there. I still remember how excited these friends were when they saw a “brother” as they referred to him in O’Neill. I saw the camaraderie of this group just because of their race.
The O’Neill community will now tolerate legal and illegal Hispanics and Latinos because there is a need for cheap labor. White O’Neill residents appear to not be concerned with how many different groups make up the Hispanic community. In the United States,
“1.2 million of 2.5 million wage earning farm workers live here illegally, according to a
study by Philip L. Martin, a professor at the University of California at Davis who studies
immigration and farm labor. That is a whole lot of cheap labor.”(Schaefer, 2006)
Many of the small communities that surrounded O’Neill hold the same conservative, exploitive views. The Hispanic community sticks to there on community and does try to maintain some semblance of their culture.
O’Neill was relatively close to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Holt County could have cared less about sovereignty. There were often stories of trouble between Native Americans and Nebraska ranchers. I learned to appreciate the spirituality of the Native American, especially the Lakota. My radicalization and my contempt for the close-mindedness and intolerance began to grow for my community in the spring of 1973 as I witnessed firsthand farmers and ranchers openly carrying their guns in hope of having a meeting with the “Redman.” This was brought about by the confrontation at Wounded Knee where hundreds of people gathered to end the murders and beating s of local Native Americans by the authorities. This was a very exciting time in American history fueled by Vietnam anti-war sentiment and the Black movement in America.
“In the first instance since the Civil War that the U.S. Army had been dispatched in a
domestic operation, the Pentagon invaded Wounded Knee with 17 armored personnel carriers,
130,000 rounds of M-16 ammunition, 41,000 rounds of M-1 ammunition, 24,000 flares, 12
M-79 grenade launchers, 600 cases of C-S gas, 100 rounds of M-40 explosives, helicopters,
phantom jets, and personnel, all under the direction of [top Nixon aide] General Alexander
Haig.”(Revolutionary Worker, 1998)
Seeing this happening around me set in motion me leaving O’Neill and moving to Omaha, Nebraska.
I found in Omaha the same contempt and prejudices I experienced in O’Neill. I accepted I was a gay man back in O’Neill which strongly influenced me leaving and completely “coming out of the closet” in Omaha. Black and Hispanics were regimented to living in poorer sections of the Omaha and subjected to obvious prejudices. Bilingual education is not unheard of but limited. The Black community always was fighting back but never has realized total assimilation. On July 24, 1969 the last major race riot occurred though much has not changed. The second longest serving and only black Nebraskan serving the state legislature is Ernie Chambers. He just ended his service by an obvious move to replace this powerful Black man with a vote by the citizens for term limits. “Some called Chambers the “second house” of Nebraska’s unique one-house Legislature. He often served as a one-man check-and-balance system to stop, slow or modify legislation supported by others in the 49-member body.”(Reed, 2008) He was too powerful and unwilling to accept racism for white Nebraska to appreciate.
Being gay in Omaha is subjecting oneself to dangerous intolerance by a very bigoted community. I left Omaha for Phoenix, Arizona where I currently live.
Phoenix is much more tolerant than any community I have been a part of. I am open about myself and the relationship I have been in for 26 years. Phoenix is also a much more diverse city. The U.S. census figures contain huge margins of error but do show the majority of residence as white, the next largest group is Hispanic or Latino with Blacks being the third largest group. I do not see the racism against Blacks in Phoenix as I did in Nebraska. The Hispanic community is considered to be the reason for violent crimes in Arizona. I believe that to be nothing more than a stereotype. The sheriff of Maricopa County which Phoenix is a part of is often shown as a racist officer targeting Hispanics. His recent attempts to curb illegal immigration by arresting anyone with brown skin prove this out.
Phoenix is more of a melting pot of race than the surrounding communities. The media reflects the community I see every day but Black culture appears to be nonexistent. I wanted to find out if what I saw as race in Phoenix matches that of someone from a different race. I interviewed Tarvis H., a black man who has lived in Phoenix many years. Tarvis is active in his community, especially his church, married to a Caucasian, and has one small boy with a little girl on the way. He was very willing to sit down with me to discuss race relations in Phoenix.
The first question I asked of Tarvis was does he look like others in his community; I was told that was a racist question. I mentioned my mother once saying Muhammad Ali was handsome for a Black man, Tarvis told me that was even more racist. I was curious if Tarvis had a problem with the gay community comparing their desire for acceptance to the black man. He did not see why it would not be similar but did say, “One thing gay people do not have to deal with is being treated differently just because of the color of their skin.”(L. Buzeyn, Personal communication, June 19, 2008)
Tarvis thought the Phoenix community itself was accepting of different races. When I asked if he thought blacks were treated better then the larger Hispanic community, he felt it was about the same. This surprised me because I have heard and seen more derogatory things about the Hispanics than Afro-Americans while living in Phoenix. Tarvis said the local community has been very good at having diversity. Any local news channel has a fair representation of all races in Phoenix.
I wanted to know from Tarvis what he thought were stereotypes the white community gave to Black people and if any were had any truth in them. He thought whites felt Black people always are, “Involved in drugs and crime, are lazy and on welfare, and most Black women are prostitutes. (L. Buzeyn, Personal correspondence, June19, 2008) I told Tarvis that was rather harsh and racist; he agreed but felt it was a stereotype that still lingers. I seemed to be more upset with those that use the “N” word than Tarvis is.
Tarvis did mention there is very little representation in all levels of government for the Afro-American in Phoenix or Arizona. He feels the Hispanic is doing better as a minority representation and thought gays were doing good too. I agreed with Tarvis about gays. I asked Tarvis what could be done differently for his community. Tarvis said, “If the Black man is being the respectable, there is no reason to treat him different, just don’t treat me unequally.”(L. Buzeyn, Personal correspondence, June 19, 2008) Tarvis ended the interview smiling, saying he wished there were more jazz clubs.
I have concluded from being born in the 50s, growing up in the 60s and 70s, and as an adult I think America is a good country but still could be better. I have high hopes of seeing a president of the United States other than white and younger than me. There are too many small communities like O’Neill left and cities like Omaha that have a long way to go to reach equality, for everyone. I find it refreshing to see cities like Phoenix recognizing the need for tolerance and diversity. Arizona, itself still has those communities like O’Neill, Nebraska. America knows what it needs to done to reach equality for all races and people but still has those that continue to fight diligently against it.
Reed, 2008, April 20 Ernie chambers: fiery loner leaves imprint on nebraska. Retrieved June 22,
2008, from Omaha World-Herald Web site:
Revolutionary Worker, (1998, April). The armed occupation of wounded knee 1973. Retrieved
June 23, 2008, from Revolutionary Worker Online Web site: http://rwor.org
Schaefer, R. (Ed.). Dean Murphy. (2006). Imagining Life Without Illegal Immigrants. In
Immigration and the United States (Racial and Ethnic Groups, 10th ed., Ch. 4 pg. 106).
U.S. Census bureau, (2006). American fact finder. Retrieved June 29, 2008, from U.S. Census
Bureau Web site: http://factfinder.census.gov/home/saff/main.html?_lang=en
I feel pretty good about it but would appreciate feedback. it didn’t cut and paste real good but I posted it anyway.
Atmospheric pollution, also known as air pollution has become a significant environmental health concern. The atmosphere is the air that surrounds the Earth, held in place by gravity. This atmosphere is made up of 78% Nitrogen, about 21% oxygen, about 1% of other gases such as Ozone and Carbon Dioxide. Because of the atmosphere, the planet Earth is able to sustain all forms of life. The atmosphere also plays a part in controlling the amount of light, heat and radiation we receive from the sun. Atmospheric pollution has become a serious problem affecting clean air, climate change, and stratospheric ozone depletion. Many of the United States cities are feeling the impact of air pollution. This air pollution is affecting our health, economies, and the environment. “Air pollution might be blamed for as many as 24,000 deaths annually in California according to scientists.” (Liang, 2008) The United States prides itself on being a leader for the entire world but comes up short in addressing health concerns caused by atmospheric pollution.
The atmosphere closest to the Earth suffers primarily from acid rain and smog. This layer of the atmosphere is what we breathe. This air is increasingly becoming dangerous, for us. The sources for these pollutants come from automobiles, buses, trucks, small engines, industrial plants, industrial fuels, wood smoke, construction, agriculture, and roadways. There are standards put forth from our government to address these pollutants that are affecting our health. When the fifth largest city in the United States, Phoenix, Arizona, “Accounts for an additional thousand deaths a year from respiratory ailments,” (Laumer, 2005) these standards are not set high enough. With these standards in place there is still a high incidence of respiratory, immune and circulatory systems being affected. The most vulnerable are the very young, sick, and elderly to low level air pollution. Wildlife and plant life is also being compromised. The Air Quality Index (AQI) is what is used to measure air quality. The AQI can help in determining the health risks there may be on any given day. We rely on the environmental Protection Agency (EPA), their mission to protect humans, to measure five major pollutants when they calculate the AQI. These pollutants have been regulated by the Clean Air Act. Protecting the health of humans is part of the mission of the EPA. Through research the most dangerous micro particles are found in automobile exhaust. These particles are named PM10s (particular matter, the 10 is a size smaller than 10 microns). These particles enter the lung alveoli that can lead to respiratory disorders. The EPA has failed in their mission. “EPA is ignoring the advice of their own staff, the advice of EPA advisory committees, the opinion of the medical and scientific community,” says Dr. Ingbar. (American Thoracic Society, 2007)
Some pollutants can be filtered out in a short time but others can linger for thousands of years. This is why our current standards must be brought into question. The standards we are using may be based on flawed scientific studies. “Studies of the relationship between acute asthma in children and air pollution have relied on ambient central-site data. Exposure error from using this data will likely diminish the accuracy of exposure-response estimates.” (Delfino, 2008)
Americans are dependent on the automobile. Most of today’s automobiles are still powered by the combustible engine. These gas powered vehicles are responsible for much of the ground level pollution in our major cities across America. “Transportation accounts for the majority of nitrogen oxide (54%) and carbon monoxide (89%) emissions in the United States. And the largest single source of carbon dioxide (28%) emissions.” (Wilkins, 1997) Some success has been achieved by the introduction of electric vehicles. These pollutants created because of and from the electric vehicle are now being questioned as a concern also. The electricity used to power these vehicles comes from pollution causing industrial plants. There also is an increase in carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur oxides though there is a noticeable decrease in carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons.
Americans are going to have to end its reliance on the gas powered vehicle as a mode of transportation. Other industrialized nations have been doing this for years. The evidence points to the fact that we can no longer count on the gas powered vehicle to travel to the store, to our jobs, or jump on one of our vast byways to visit relatives thousands of miles away.
“A large body of literature, much of it published in recent years, suggests increased risks for exacerbation of asthma and other respiratory diseases, premature mortality, certain cancers, and adverse birth outcomes from air pollution exposures in populations residing in relatively close proximity to roadways. Furthermore, several air quality monitoring studies have revealed the presence of elevated concentrations of pollutants emitted directly by motor vehicles near major roadways when compared with overall urban background levels.” (Cook,
We can be proud of what we have accomplished in the past with our cars and our roadways, byways, and highways but now we must accept the fact that those accomplishments are making us sick if not killings us. Our years of coming and going as we pleased may also be causing longer heat waves, drought, hurricanes and flooding. In the last 200 years the damage has been done to our atmosphere because of pollution. Progress has been made, but the progress is limited still resulting in “70, 000 deaths a year in the United States.” (Fischlowitz-Roberts, 2002) The time is now for a more radical mitigation plan to solve atmosphere pollution.
This mitigation plan will find critics from all sides of this issue. That is to be expected but the promise is made that our health issues that are a result of low level air pollution is going to be reduced by 80% by the year 2050. This is an all encompassing mitigation plan where every aspect of society is going to make sacrifices. Our nation needs relief much like the times the United States was experiencing in 1932. Franklin Roosevelt said in his presidential acceptance speech at the Democratic convention he will make, “use of the authority of government as an organized form of self-help for all classes and groups and sections of our country.” (Travel and History, 2008) This program will be echoing the successes of the Works Progress Administration; The WPA existed from 1935 to 1941.
The goal of this mitigation plan is to eliminate low level atmospheric pollution in steps that will be completed by the year 2050. The responsibility of the government agency currently responsible for air quality management is to work with all proponents of this plan. This goal will include reducing the use of the combustible engine to a minimum. This plan does not propose a reduction in travel for Americans. Current laws and regulations will remain in effect. Well, thought out and cost-effective measures will be planned out by the scientific community. Measureable effects of this plan must begin to be shown by 2020. The effects on the health from pollution on Americans have already been established. We do know what is making us ill and even leads to death. An ethical imperative must be the United States taking the lead in this quest. As poorer nations industrialize and grow they too will experience pollution and its adverse consequences. We have an opportunity to show the global population we care for our planet and its citizens.
The following are additional components of this mitigation plan to remove vehicles from our roadways that use the combustion engine. The combustion engine is used in cars, boats, motorcycles, pickups, larger trucks and other vehicles. There is also the two stroke combustible engine which also will be phased out. This mitigation plan does not include airplanes. By removing the combustion engine, we will reduce carbon dioxide, CO2, carbon monoxide, CO, oxides of nitrogen, NOx, hydrocarbons, HC, benzene and derivatives, C6H6, sulfur dioxide, SO2, and particles micro-particulate, 10 microns, PM10s, the most dangerous. From photochemical reaction these chemicals create smog. We have tried solutions such as driving less, putting catalytic converters on our vehicles, building a cleaner burning engine, driving hybrid and smaller vehicles, demanding vehicles be maintained, using oxygenated fuels and teaching drivers to drive more intelligently. These are minor solutions that have not improved atmospheric pollution. “The U.S. accounts for more carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel consumption than any other nation. Although the U.S. has maintained this number-one ranking since 1980, China’s emissions have risen 224%.” (Environment, 2008)
The first step will include education. Within the first four years a curriculum will be formulated and used in our schools teaching all aspects of this mitigation plan. This plan will be taught in the final four years of high school. A mass education of the public will begin. At this time training of a workforce capable of bringing this plan forward will begin. All oil companies will be nationalized. Though this may be met with resistance, we will be saving oil companies when their product no longer will be a commodity. Nationalizing of this natural resource has already begun around the world. Each oil company will give up 50% of controlling interest within the first two years and total control at the end of the four years after this mitigation plan is signed into law. Included in the first four years of this mitigation program each American citizen after reaching the age of 16 will be limited to owning no more than two cars. Those currently that have more than two cars per person will only be allowed to license two vehicles at one time. This will become active after 10 years. Instead of a yearly emission test done on cars older than five years, all cars will be tested bi-annually. New car warranties will include this emission testing. This will be under the control of state motor vehicle divisions. Companies, family-owned business, and those involved in agriculture will be allowed vehicle fleets to deliver product and services but must meet and maintain rigid nonpolluting standards. This aspect of the mitigation plan should be fully incorporated by the public within the first 10 years. Incentives will be offered to those meeting or surpassing the standards put forth by this plan ahead of schedule.
Through a program using the WPA as a model, metro transit will begin a major overhaul in our cities. This overhaul will begin in 2010 with the 20 most populated cities in the United States. All American cities with populations greater than 100,000 will be subject to the guidelines of this mitigation plan and should have metro transit via electric trains by the year 2050. Cities with populations less than 100,000 will still be allowed to use the combustible engine in transportation. This mode of transportation must meet the same rigid pollution guidelines of larger cities. Metro electric trains will be made available to a much greater extent than we find in our cities today. There will still be a need for city bus travel but these too will no longer be allowed to use the combustible engine after 15 years.
From the beginning of this plan, if a national healthcare program is not in place, all health concerns directly related to atmospheric pollution will be treated at no cost. As a nation we created this problem and as a nation we will absorb the cost of what we have sown.
Because of this plan, besides being a healthier nation, we will also be a prosperous nation. Two or more hour commutes to work, most of which is sitting idle on our freeways while our vehicles deposit poisonous chemicals into the air that we breathe no longer will be necessary. Sacrifice is the key to the success of this mitigation plan. All tiers of society will be called on to make changes to current lifestyles.
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