Cohen Response: Effect of Blacks and Cosumerism

Posted in Uncategorized on February 9, 2011 by Joey

One of the boldest moves African-American Consumers made prior to the Civil Rights movement was the attempt and ability to control economics of a white dominant society.  This idea of, “Don’t Buy Where You Can’t Work” or “Spend Your Money Where You Can Work” demonstrated the willingness of Blacks trying to find an even  playing field within an oppressed society of minorities.  Where else can a group of people hurt a majority, but in the pocket.  As much as white America, in the early 1900s, wanted to oppress blacks to remain beneath them socially, the realization of not having them spend their money on their goods hurt economically.  The ability of African-Americans, in the 1930s, to boycott stores, transportation and housing proved to be pivotal as the early birth of the modern Civil Rights Movement.  Cohen implements the power of purchasing as “true power” and symbolic in a segregated society.  This action of becoming involved in the economic stratus demonstrated that African-Americans were here to stay socially and politically.  This can be seen as the foundation of what the Civil Rights Movement was based on for Black Americans.  This ability to mobilize as a group of individuals intellectually against economic giants led to idea of conquering the beast known as the United States Government and its States.

Race Integration in the U.S.-Crisis in Levittown

Posted in Uncategorized on February 9, 2011 by Joey

The fear of African Americans moving into white suburbia caused more than alarm for people, it caused fear.  Crisis in Levittown demonstrates the effect and commotion that a black family had moving into dominate white neighborhood.  Some of the fears were ridiculous.  Whites used stereo types that the movement of the Meyer’s family into Levittown would lead more blacks moving into their safe haven and ultimately to crime, property values dropping (loss of economic status), violence, rape and heaven forbid race mixing among the children.  No where in this documentary did any white home owner give documented proof that these hideous actions have taken place elsewhere.  In fact the majority of violence is due to the fact that whites with prejudice feelings  impose their will on all minority groups.  It is scary to think this was the attitude of many white families towards minorities of different ethnic backgrounds.  It seemed as those some of these white Americans felt that their Eden had been invaded or polluted.  I think they felt that they did not believe that blacks especially had the right to better their own life.  Because in reality for this time period, white ways of life seemed to pose better chances at the American Dream.

It’s understandable that people move to better their living conditions for their family.  I remember moving to the county when I was younger.  I moved from the barrio  to the county with my mother and step father.  His family was well to do, due to their ownership of a business.  They also had strong European features of Spanish heritage.  The whole experience of being around many Anglo Americans and Italian Americans felt odd.  I never experienced racism until this move.  Even in the schools, the only mexicans were farm labor children and a few Mexican American kids whose fathers worked at the CF&I. To top that off, there were no blacks and I was was the darkest mexican kid in my elementry school.  I remember having to prove myself to be respectful and deserving of the same opportunities in the class room and in sports.  Even the parents were   intimidating.  I remember the saying from my grandmother, she said they may accept you as a person, but they will not accept you when you intrude on their home (meaning dating or hanging out with their kids), especially if you are a trouble maker.  I think these attiudes or feelings still exist, but are not that apparent as before.  It seems to be more of an economic issue throughout the country.  I think as a so called historian, the lesson I have learned is that times change, but the actions of prior past never do, they jsu become more tolarable in certain aspects of American life.  They are lessons we still learn upon, even when we have answers to the problem.

American Dreams

Posted in Uncategorized on February 4, 2011 by Joey

 

What is the American Dream?  I tried searching for one single answer as I was reading through Brands  book.  To be honest, I could not find just one clear-cut piece of information to answer this question.  quite honestly, it was not until the end of the book that I realized the American Dream is what people make of it as individuals.  It’s the dreams of these individuals, who happen to be historical figures, that shaped the American standard of living during their specific time period or era of influence.  For example, in Brands book, all the historical figures whether they were born well to do, or rose from poor living conditions, simply did one thing…they chased their dreams.  These individuals were able to over come controversy, hardships and ridicule from the American public and from their peers. In doing so they left their legacy in American history.  Men like Truman, who rose out of the shadow of President Roosevelt and continued the dream of making the United States a world power.  Take Lyndon Johnson, he was left with a mess to clean up internationally and within the nation as the world was watching.  As times changed so did politics society and the world, leaving new problems and concerns of the American public and its most important decision makers.  One peticular change in the book really blew me away as Brands explained it.  the only reason it stuck in my mind was because I was part of that era.  I remember when Michael Jordan blew up in the American sceen and Nike became the norm for social status.  Every kid wanted to be like Mike and every kid want a pair of Jordans or where the Nike shoe with swoosh symbol.  It made realize how important issues in general society have become so ignored.  American Dreams demonstartes how American ideals have changed and how important issues have been pushed to the back burner.  It seemed that during the 1950s and 1960s the welfare of America focused around important political and social issues that changed the United States forever.  As Americans we have lost some of the luster of that cocern and have focused on commercial and consumer importance.  The dreams of Americans have changed because of time, it seems dreams are beginning to run out since most of the hope and new ideas have been lost.  This can be seen because we no longer create new ideas or ways of  living.  What’s left is only to build on what is already here, diminishing hope for a new and better DREAMS.