Tag Archives: Symbols

Seventh Ward to Section 8( Du Bois): Blog 5



No one questions this satire (second video) or even catches the video as a satire, mostly because people associate black people with welfare and laziness till this day. These associations can stem from Durkheim’s ideas about symbolism or symbols. Many people may view a black female with the idea of the “Welfare Queen”. This intersects with the color-line, because it is known that after slavery and colonialism, people associated white with good and black with bad. If such symbols in terms of race were worshipped and stigmatized for so long, it is as if people have only ritualized them throughout their lives subliminally. For every time one sees such colorism and racism in his or her daily institution, or sees internalized attitudes of stigmata or scorn towards darker skinned person, the racist associations are even more becoming. Today many Americans deem that the use of welfare by blacks is their fault. They never think of the Tusla Oklahoma riot or other reasons behind the poverty and unemployment of African Americans. Nobody would deem that the slums or section 8 areas as shock worthy or even a problem, because for so long black people were a symbol of problems. Du Bois was a genius of his time, he used data analysis and qualitative measures to get at the heart of the “Negro Problem”, he was able to find racism, another form of oppression as the source. He mentioned that blacks were no different from once French Peasantry, probably alluding to the fact that oppression and pain projected onto one group was for the benefit of another. This pain was racism this time, not sexism or other tribal pains. We can measure the black slums by comparing them to richest the whites, and conclude that this projection of racism was arbitrary. Maybe the once Bauer and the peasants became magnificent. If sexism dissipated in the past allowing the woman to work and give American 11 trillion dollars in commerce, can one imagine the riches and the glory, as well as the solution to the Negro Problem …if Black Wall Street expanded? We can leave that to imagination, for people will deny any racism and imagine that it was other reasons that made black poor, or that even the Black “mini” Holocaust never existed. It “may” be evident that slavery or race tribalism created awful symbols of blacks, so awful that many remained arbitrarily racist. Whether it was the greedy institution or the individual, none aided the Negro in doing his or her best. “when one group of people suffer these little differences of treatment and discriminations and insults continually, the result is either discouragement, or bitterness, or over-sensitiveness, or recklessness. And a people feeling they cannot do their best” (343, Du Bois) such racism not only prevented blacks from doing their best, but isn’t obvious, if one was to be discriminated against before even work or even hated while working, wouldn’t that one end up in welfare. Many White Americans of today shake their head at welfare usage of blacks not knowing that it was that very discriminating stigma and racist view that led to the Negro problem in the first place. There are reasons why this holocaust had to kept secret, how silly and inconvenient would it be to lose so much money over racism? Maybe some said, “let them die” so that they can keep their riches, or gain cheap labor. Many black men born from single homes and welfare homes go to the Prison system later on in life. Maybe if we realize that there were real reasons by any Negro problem, we as a country could make billions upon billions of dollars, especially since the Negro is here to stay.


Post #3 on Gilman

Its interesting how Gilman brings up about gender inequality. For instance she says, “One of the first things we force upon the child’s dawning consciousness is the fact that he is a boy and that she is a girl,” she gives an example of parents buying clothes for their child depending on the gender. It’s so natural for us to differentiate gender by buying pink clothes for girls and blue clothes for the boys. As we all know, from Gilman’s time to present, a lot has changed publicly in the society regarding gender, as in people would still consider a woman a female even if she only wore pants, hanged out with more men than women, and doesn’t wear pink. However for children, I think depending on the parent there’s less freedom for a child to behave the way he or she wants to. For example some mother’s who bring their daughters to toy stores will automatically bring them to the “girly” section. However if one’s daughter wanted an action figure rather than a doll, a mother’s reaction and response wouldn’t be so pleasant as her daughter, who already made up her mind on what she wanted. The mother turning out this way is probably from being used to what generally society perceives a young girl as, when it comes to playing.

Blog # 4: Mind, Self, and Society

In George Herbert Mead’s, Mind, Self, and Society the themes of mind, symbols, and the essence of meaning are discussed at length. According to Mead the concept of “mind” is a process that allows the individual to make choices in his own course of action. In essence the mind allows the person to weigh out the pros and cons of conduct, allowing him to envision future consequences and act accordingly. The ability to control present behaviors with thoughts of possible future outcomes is the crux of intellectual behavior.
In order to achieve this behavioral control we turn to symbols. “Symbols stand for the meanings of those things or objects which have meaning.” As human beings we think visually. Although the objects, people, and things that occupy our thought processes are not right in front of us at all times, we are able to picture them clearly within our minds. This ability allows us to envision potential scenarios and rehearse our behavior before engaging in it.
Mead then goes on to discuss the concept of meaning. He defines it through a “threefold relationship” between “an individuals gestures, the response by another to that gesture, and the completion of the social act initiated by the gesture of the first individual.” It is a message being communicated to people that is understood and reciprocated appropriately. Mead explains that meaning is not “intrinsic to a given object or action”, rather it exists only when there is an interaction with a goal in mind that ends with a desired result. Only if a desired response is elicited does an interaction hold meaning.
How then can we ensure meaning in anything we do? We can try all we want to express ourselves with a goal in mind, but if people do not understand our intentions what good is any expression? Mead explains that there can only be coordination and successful interactions with the development of language in the form of significant symbols. Significant symbols “are words and gestures that have the same meaning for all those involved in a social act.” The use of significant symbols are apparent in everyday life. I personally feel that the people that are most similar to me in back round and up-bringing understand me the most. The farther I move away from those people and on to others the more of a communication gap there is. I’m not talking about language barriers, but rather to certain gestures and ways of expression. I think significant symbols lie on a spectrum and the more an individual is aware of your own, the easier it is for them to understand and interact with you.