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Archive for September, 2008

1)From just reading the essay, I could guess many things. First, I guessed that he or she must be a person of at least some degree of age (about 50s or 60s) because the author is a Vice President of a company, and it is very rare for someone to become VP at young age. I also guessed that he must have lived in a diverse society because he is able to see Mr. Lee at any time in the neighborhood. His personality is most likely friendly/amicable because he says “hello” to every single person he meets. Although this statement might be an exaggerated inference, I kind of thought that the author was a man of some ambition because he makes a meeting with the founder of the company and asks directly what position he could become in his company. What I could not guess was the person’s gender and race, because anyone can be a VP and be social.

After listening to the author on NPR, I noticed some major differences between reading the essay in class and actually hearing him. First of all, he had an African-American dialect that made the article more personal to Howard White (because he is an African-American). I could associate the essay better after learning his race and gender. Additionally, his own beliefs were more emphasized in his article. He put an accent to words such as “I believe”, “every single person”, “smile” to strengthen his claims about the power of hello. My last thought about the difference between in-class and listening to Howard White is a mix of history and White’s voice. Because White is in his fifties, he has been through the Civil Rights movement (although at young age). He still knows the feeling of de jur and de facto segregation, and I think this was why he emphasized saying hello to EVERYONE. He states, “I believe every single person deserves to be acknowledged, however small or simple the greeting…I always used to say hello to the founder of the company and asked him how our business was doing. But I was also speking to the people in the cafe and the people that cleaned the buildings.” I could achieve this sense of emphasis on equality of people only by listening to White, because he is a person who does not care about a person’s race, gender, and type of job.

Howard White

Howard White

2) An Optimistic View of the World– This article, by Dan Tani, was actually written and recorded onboard the International Space Station. Just reading the article was plain and ordinary, but after hearing the sounds of the loud machines in the background and the unclear transmission of Tani’s voice, I could clearly get the feeling that he was actually in space, wearing his spacesuit, and observing Earth. While looking down on Earth, a small blue, white, and green piece of ball, Tani states that Earth is a beautiful place. We need this optimism especially today, because every nation is facing some types of economic/ political problems. Korea is struggling economically and politically as the currency rate is unstable and people are losing faith in the president. America, the most stable  nation in the world, is boasting “change” due to poor leadership and failing economy and social unrest. Thailand is in a state of emergency due to  a rebellion. Russia was recently engaged in a war with Georgia. There is a war in the Middle East. We see cases of suicide bombings everyday on  CNN. Oil prices are constantly rising. In short, the world we live in is definitely not optimistic. However, the world as a whole, as Tani describes, is a beautiful/peaceful place.

Dan Tani in ISS

Dan Tani in ISS

Black is Beautiful– Sufiya Abdur-Raham, the author of this article, is an African-American. Due to her race and complicated name, she lost opportunity to apply for jobs, and she was basically discriminated and overpowered by white-Americans with more common names such as Johnsons, Davids, Williams, etc. I liked this article because Abdur-Raham’s case relates to me and the presidential election in the United States. This article related to me because my Korean name, Keon-Woo Park, is actually harder to pronounce than Sufiya’s. When I first went to school in the United States, teachers could not pronounce my name, or they would pronounce it in an absurd way; so absurd that I could not even recognize that the teacher was actually calling on me. This is why I had to change my name to Kevin. Secondly, this article relates to the intense Presidential Election in America. One of the main reasons for why Barack Obama lost many votes is because he has a funny name, a name that threatens some Americans. His last name is Obama, which sounds very foreign (possibly Middle-Eastern) and threatening to Americans who still remember the 9/11 terror. More striking, Obama’s middle name is “Hussein,” which is exactly the same as that infamous Iraqi dictator’s name. However, I believe that minor issues such as a person’s name or race should not effect a candidate’s election. We should look at what the candidate is capable of-is he worthy enough to become president? does he have leardership and experience? These are the type of things that should guide us when we vote for a president, rather than names. Despite the fact that I believe McCain should become president, deciding a global leader by the candidate’s name seems petty to me.

Abdur-Rahman

Abdur-Rahman

Barack Obama is similar to Abdur-Rahman

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