Monday, June 1, 2015

Chipotle says "No" to GMOs

As of April 2015, Chipotle is officially the first fast food restaurant in America to ever use food that is non-GMO, (meaning genetically modified). I believe that this major step Chipotle took will begin to also change other fast food corporations, especially because Chipotle is so popular; you can find one pretty much every where you go in America.

On their website, they have a great motto, or slogan, for their campaign: "Food with Integrity. G-M-OVER IT." If you read further down, Chipotle's mission statement lays it all out on floor, explaining that they "are on a never-ending journey to source the highest quality ingredients we can find. Over the years, as we have learned more about GMOs, we've decided that using them in our food doesn't align with that vision." In my opinion, this seems like a slap in the face to all other fast food restaurants in the nation. It's as if Chipotle is saying that because they've stepped up their game to better their food for the people, none of the other restaurants care enough to change their decision of ingredients for the health and safety of their customers.

On Chipotle's website, they do a good job informing the public about what GMOs are and where you would find them, and about the health and environmental impacts it has, but there are three specific statements they decided to pull out that enhance this idea that Chipotle has set a very high bar for other fast food restaurants.
1. Scientists are still studying the long term implications of GMOs.
2. The cultivation of GMOs can damage the environment.
3. Chipotle should be a place where people can eat food made with non-GMO ingredients.

I believe Chipotle made a positive change to their image and food, but again, there's this idea of always needing to improve things, always continue to set the bar higher and higher. Yet again, this is an example of the American ideal that the more you improve and work harder, you'll be more successful and make more money. What I'm struggling with is that is this a positive or negative to live by?

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Keeping up with the Age of Technology

Forget about your neighbor "the Jones'"; it's all about Keeping up with Apple now. Their desire to constantly and rapidly change the world of technology has made it almost impossible [for me] to keep up.

I have the iPhone 5s which is only a year old, and now there's already two different new models that have come out since then. It feels like everytime I upgrade, something even bigger and better and newer comes into play just moments after, and all of the sudden my skimpy little iPhone 5s is irrelevant. Of course this ideal makes complete sense as a part of the American ideal that constant persistence and improvement by working hard will pay off in the end. If you follow this path, it will lead you to success and riches. This mindset has been cemented into the brains of Americans and then applied to basically the entire country.

The most recent technology craze has been the apple watch, but I sincerely don't see the point. Yes, it's obviously cool, very sleek looking, and has got some awesome "techy" features like sending someone your heartbeat or even just having everything at the swipe of your finger tip. My question though, is what purpose does it serve? If you have to have your iPhone with you when you use the watch anyway, doesn't that defeat the purpose of the whole watch, hands free, shpeel anyway? I respect apple and a lot of their products,  but to me the apple watch seems like a luxury that is allowing for us to have even shorter more reserved encounters with one another.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Addressing Race on the Bachelorette

Up until two weeks ago, I had never seen The Bachelor or Bachelorette before. I was incredibly skeptical about watching it because the idea of a man or woman picking their "soul mate" pretty much based on looks doesn't seem like a genuine way to meet your husband or wife. Side note: another weird thing, to me, about the show is why do you have to be on tv to find love? My friend told me that not everything is judged by looks once the show gets past the first episode, so I decided not to judge the show's appearance because not only would I be a hypocrite, but also a ton of people seem to love it so why not give it a shot.

This week's episode shocked me, because one of the contestants during an interview commented on the fact that he felt he was only on the show because of his race. He said that he was concerned there was no connection between him and Kaitlyn, and that he was only being kept on the show because he was "the minority guy that fills a quota". I found him addressing this idea on such a widely watched show to be very interesting and unexpected. He, of course, was kicked off because of his rude attitude, and drunk talking behind Kaitlyn's back, but thats beside the point. On a show that is predominantly based on a persons' appearance, the idea of race comes up a lot, especially with the Bachelor/Bachelorette, because having an all white cast negatively affects their viewership.

A former Bachelor contestant, Sharleen Joynt, said "I have some sense of the apprehension that comes with feeling like you're in the ethnic minority, and certainly no one has ever given the 'bachelor' franchise any awards for diversity." As you can see, from this quote, the show does not have an interest with portraying diversity, rather wants to appeal more to the idea of drama to ensure the show is indeed interesting.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Circle of Media and Poverty

After spending the past week in AS learning about social classism, I stumbled upon an article by Charles Blow titled "The President, Fox News and the Poor," that seemed to fit perfectly with this topic.

President Obama spoke on a panel, at Georgetown university, that discussed poverty, where Obama stated his opinion that the media, mainly Fox News, has a tendency "to suggest that the poor are sponges, leeches, don’t want to work, are lazy, are undeserving." His main issue with this idea is that it's become more and more popular over the past 40 years.

A huge problem with generalizing the behavior and attitude of poor people, is that it allows for people negatively stereotype that poor people don't have any money because they don't work hard enough, when this is not the case at all. This assumption is mainly to blame the media for; you don't see them advocating narratives of hardworking individuals trying to make ends meet for their families. "Very rarely do you hear an interview of a waitress — which is much more typical — who’s raising a couple of kids and is doing everything right but still can’t pay the bills," says President Obama.

I completely agree with Blow when he says: "There are people across the income spectrum who are lazy and addicted and want something for nothing. But it’s unfair and untenable to pretend this is the sole purview of the poor." When the media shows stories of  poor people saying they want just want a free Obama phone, (explained in the article), that's not how most people of low income people act. But the more their viewers see stories like this, the more they believe it's true. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Debate on Affirmative Action

The ongoing debate of affirmative action in higher education is a very tricky subject, because both sides are greatly affected whether it's taken away or not. There needs to be a way to find a "happier" medium and find a better solution than discrimination.

One major issue that have people against affirmative action is that colleges are required to have a certain amount of minorities enrolled at their college in order to maintain a more diversified campus. In other words, they must fill quotas for students who may not necessarily be qualified the most qualified, which takes away the opportunity from students who most likely a better candidate for that particular school. A student should not get accepted into college simply because of their skin color; there are many more important qualities in a person that should be considered rather than whether that person is minority or not. An issue with this though is that "affirmative action is seen by many whites as nothing but a fancy term for racial quotas designed to give minorities an unfair break." (This was said by Peter Katel, author of an in-depth report on affirmative action.)

While some people feel that it allows for minorities to have an "unfair break" getting into college, when non-minorities have to work twice as hard, it makes me think: would minorities get accepted into college nearly as much with out affirmative action? With out the law to push colleges to achieve a more diverse school, who knows who they would actually accept. Some schools currently don't have affirmative action, and some do, so thats why I look forward to continuing my research on why this happens.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Chocolate Core

Coming from a predominantly white neighborhood and highschool, I have been very interested with the idea that upperclass white people tend to stray from poorer, more diverse neighborhoods, to escape from possibility of living amongst black, Latino, and other ethnicities. (I say this sarcastically, but there is proof to back this idea.)

I was reading the book, "The Coming White Minority", written by Dale Maharidge, where he provides interesting statistics that explain, one of many theories discussed in the book, why white people, specifically in California, had moved away from diverse neighborhoods into more upper class gated communities. 

Maharidge offers a good example to explain what white flight is. He says that, "in the East and Great Lakes region, whites do not like living near blacks. Detroit is the epitome of this detatchment: it has a central urban black community living in wretched poverty surrounded by suburbs filled with whites who have fled." The best image he offers is: "it (Detroit) has a chocolate core surrounded by vanilla, as one study described it." 

It's interesting phenomenon that doesn't make a lot of sense to me. It may be naive to hope one day everyone will live together and not care who their neighbor is, but it doesn't stop me from wishing for it. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Rise in college tuition...why?

When I say college tuition, you say insanely expensive! Yes, I know this is not exactly new news, although recently I've been questioning why a college tuitions cost so much. I believe that everyone deserves an education, and the fact that money is the main reason why some students can't go to college makes me feel sick.

From the NPR segment, How the Cost of College went from Affordable to Sky-high, Sandy Baum, a woman who spent most of her career studying trends of college tuition, said: "It's not that colleges are spending more money to educate students, it's that they have to get that money from someplace to replace their lost state funding — and that's from tuition and fees from students and families." When we pay for college, we're not only paying for the actual education, but the experience at that college as well. (Don't forget housing, and books, and meal plans).

"If over the past three decades car prices had gone up as fast as tuition, the average new car would cost more than $80,000." This was said by Paul Campos, writer for the Ny times, and his statement seems to make quite a...statement. Campos believes that increase in college spending is correlated to the rise of the "percentage of the population enrolled in college" as well as the "constant expansion of university administration." 

Overall, the cost of college has become increasingly expensive over the past 20 years, and shows no sign of stopping. It's even changed in the gap between my brother going to college, and me going to college, (3 years). At this rate, there's no way our society will be able to thrive in the future, when a majority of America won't be able to afford a college education