U.S. and the World - F Block

About this class

This is a survey class in U.S. History, which is organized thematically. 

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by ecarey on February 11, 2016
Vermont Commons School
Elliot Carey 2/3/16 Race relations over the past hundred years have changed drastically, for better and for the worse. What America has seen as a nation of many diverse groups of people is inequality, social injustice, and overall apathy. This is not including however the great triumphs made in order to correct these grievous mistakes by individuals, groups, and movements.

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by Ceilek on February 11, 2016
Vermont Commons School
We all would like to believe that racism has been dealt with and that the civil rights movement paid off and solved the issue. However, looking at the news recently provides a glimpse into reality and shows us that in truth, that it could not be further from the truth. Instead, we see a world where white supremacists work in the shadows and where we teach our police officers that black people are more likely to commit violent crime. Because of this, police brutality against people of color is one of the leading issues facing our society today.

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by gfastie on February 11, 2016
Vermont Commons School
It is not my place, as a privileged, white, Vermonter, to speak with any authority on race relations in the United States. Racism can be a tremendously personal issue, and I have no real personal experience with it. I can, of course, see statistics about racial disparities in arrests, in wealth, in callbacks from jobs, but I cannot speak to the experience of being black in America. Interestingly, it may have been easier for someone in my position to understand the plight of African Americans 50 years ago than it is now.

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by rysenior on February 11, 2016
Vermont Commons School
I think Black lives still face racism today. Anywhere in America, officers will be more prone to frisk and or arrest black citizens over whites. Black will be convicted more often than whites. And blacks have more of a chance of being racially profiled in work, or just walking on the street. Not a whole lot has changed since slavery, but there have been some major leaps. Civil rights was an enormous jump towards equality. Racism began to go under the radar, and Black people began to feel more equal to a white person.

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by SlowSlothIsSlow on February 7, 2016
Vermont Commons School
      Race equality has improved in America. Most equality has been on an upward trend in America. However improvement is not a finished solution to a problem. We still have plenty of issues to work through as a country, even if they aren’t quite as blatant as they might have been 100 years ago. While we are on the road to more equality, we haven’t quite figured out what exactly equality means, and what is socially and politically most correct. There are obvious inequalities and profiling instances today, that were clearly not just fixed up perfectly by the Civil Rights Movement.

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by Camel on February 7, 2016
Vermont Commons School
The evolution of the Civil Rights movement today has taken a turn towards violence and upheaval of authority. The major difference between the early Civil Rights movement and today’s is the early movement had defined goals. During the Civil Rights Movement, much of the earlier attention was towards the right to vote; however, the movement today has shifted to distributing attention on many injustices surrounding racial tensions.

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by Lasker on February 4, 2016
Vermont Commons School
Alex Lasker Mark Cline-Lucey Social Studies 2 February 2016 Racial issues have always existed throughout history, being bad enough as to one race enslaving another. These tensions and issues have been fought, and denounced by multiple different races. The biggest movement in the United States history is the Civil Rights Movement, which lasted nearly ten years. The movement started small, then grew to be big enough to influence laws regarding segregation and racial oppression.

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by Ben Maksym on February 4, 2016
Vermont Commons School
I feel that issues of Race in America continue to be relevant, even since the civil-rights movement. They may have vanished from the public eye after legislation was passed to help people of color and to reduce their daily struggles, but they are certainly still relevant today, as has been shown on many occasions. For instance, the shootings in Ferguson and New York bear a striking resemblance to shootings carried out in the pre-civil-rights era south, where blacks were often threatened and killed with few to no repercussions against the murderer.

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by jakeweissgold on February 3, 2016
Vermont Commons School
Jake Weissgold Mark CL MUSH February 2, 2016  

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by EhindsVCS on February 3, 2016
Vermont Commons School
Race relations has taken a huge step forward since the civil rights outcry of the 1960s, and although there is still much to be desired if we want a world of true racial equality, the progress that has been made is still something to be admired. An entire societal overhaul has taken place, and in only 50 years we have altered the societal norm for race relations from one of rigorous segregation and dominance, to one far closer to equality and integration. The civil rights movement that we studied made some great progress.

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by Storm on January 15, 2016
Vermont Commons School
The United States of America is an amazing nation that continues to lead the world through the complex geopolitical problems that we are faced with today. As a strong economic and political world leader, we have become the role model for developing nations attempting to give their people the same freedoms and opportunities that Americans have become so accustomed to. This is why it is so important to work harder than we ever have before to better ourselves as a nation, because what we change will set a precedent of improvement around the world and inspire change.

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by gfastie on January 13, 2016
Vermont Commons School
Our union, one held together by the principles set forth in the constitution, is divided by fear. We exist as a nation because after the American Revolution, each state agreed to come together on principles of liberty and freedom. The union has never been perfect in the pursuit of these values, but we have always persevered through dedication to these values. Our country has strayed furthest from these values in times when fear has overcome our principles, and history has never failed to remember those times as faults in our collective judgement, from Jim Crow to Japanese internment.

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by gfastie on January 13, 2016
Vermont Commons School
Our union, one held together by the principles set forth in the constitution, is divided by fear. We exist as a nation because after the American Revolution, each state agreed to come together on principles of liberty and freedom. The union has never been perfect in the pursuit of these values, but we have always persevered through dedication to these values. Our country has strayed furthest from these values in times when fear has overcome our principles, and history has never failed to remember those times as faults in our collective judgement, from Jim Crow to Japanese internment.

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by I Don't Know on January 4, 2016
Vermont Commons School
Neoliberal free trade is a net positive for humans across the globe that are living in poverty, but is a negative for people who are living in developed nations. The 14.8%(1) of people that are living in poverty in developing nations would benefit the most from free trade, as the goods become cheaper making it easier to live off of less money. Free trade would be good for developing nations and countries so that they are able to grow their consumer class as goods would be cheaper and more available.

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by lpierce_ on December 11, 2015
Vermont Commons School
Free trade is one of the most difficult global issues to take a non-biased approach to. In a perfect world, free trade would work to benefit everyone, for a net gain. Any disparity in capital traded between countries would be eventually offset, so no country would have a clear-cut advantage. For example, Chinese manufacturing would eventually flood our market, but our money would flood their economy, lowering the value of their goods. In this perfect world, everyone experiences lower prices.

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by Ben Maksym on December 11, 2015
Vermont Commons School
In general, I believe that Neo-liberalism is a net negative for the world as a whole. It causes massive fluctuations in the world’s economy, increases poverty in developing nations by helping to foster competition and monopolies, and is, for the moment, really only working for the benefit of the United States, and even then only for the benefit of a small few. Menial workers still have to worry about production being outsourced overseas for cheaper pay, while those overseas have to worry about degradation of their lives and values and not being able to feed their families.

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by JWolf_802 on December 11, 2015
Vermont Commons School
Throughout my time at VCS, specifically in Mark’s classes, the idea of globalization has been a major theme. It has always been referred to as something that continuously is growing and we should support in order to be global citizens. However, this has been one of the first drawbacks to globalization that has been brought up. For the first time, global connections are questioned and often viewed negatively. While the personal question of, should the lives of developed nations be valued at treated better than others?

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by Lasker on December 11, 2015
Vermont Commons School
Trading across the world has shown to be helpful and unhelpful in multiple ways throughout history, trading provokes innovation and peace deals between countries and nations. As well as ensuring that countries gain resources that they cannot easily produce on their own. The downside of trading is the loss of jobs in countries, since importing and exporting certain materials can make a job held by someone obsolete, due to the cheap and more efficient use of importing and exporting materials and resources.

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4 years 9 months ago

Hi Spiderman,

Thank you so much for your comment. I completely agree with your thoughts on intersectionality and how that adds to the complexity and intensity of the issue. I think that while difficult, the best possible solution to this is equality on all fronts. You mention gender, and gender is obviously a huge contributor. I thought that the article you sent me was very interesting; I was definitely previously aware of the way that gender and race combine to make discrimination far more common for people that fit into certain category combinations, but I didn't know much about the specifics that the article offered. I would be interested to see how people also identifying as LGBTQ might feature into similar statistics. I don't personally know any numbers, or much about how that adds to a combination, but I would guess that it would similarly intensify already present issues.

Amira

4 years 9 months ago

I see where you're coming from, but does there have to be a single leader for the movement to make an impact? There are many different voices speaking out from across all backgrounds, and the role that social media has played in raising awareness and rallying people has been monumental. This page of the Black Lives Matter website talks about misconceptions about the movement, and number 2 discusses the idea that the Black Lives Matter movement is leaderless:

http://blacklivesmatter.com/11-major-misconceptions-about-the-black-live...

A point they raise that really stuck with me is that when we look for "leaders" we often look for old, wise, heterosexual, cisgendered men. But a strength of the Black Lives Matter movement is that they have so many strong leaders. Is it really necessary to pin a face to the movement? That seems to me as though it would narrow the movement far too much--without a specific face, whenever I hear about the movement, the first things that come to mind are the injustices surrounding black lives in America (specifically I associate it with Freddie Gray).

That being said, I see some middle ground between our two views--more publicity for the leaders that are in place would show outsiders the varieties of leaders that exist, and perhaps more collaboration could be reached. I see what you mean about wanting another MLK for Black Lives Matter, but I would say there are many MLKs for the Black Lives Matter Movement. What do you think?

4 years 9 months ago

Thank your for your comment. I liked your description of the color blind argument being passive, and I completely agree with that. I'm interested to hear what you, as a resident of a big city like Baltimore, think are the main issues that can be seen every day. I think it would be interesting to compare our experiences living in Vermont and Baltimore.

4 years 9 months ago

Hey thanks for the questions. It's obviously a very complex solution and many places will require many different approaches. However, the war on drugs seems to be putting many addicts in prison on first or second offenses. A strong argument could be made to send these addicts to rehab instead of prison, because in many cases it is vastly cheaper and will rehabilitate them back into a productive member of society. In terms of prevention, education creates a natural deterrent, but there should be more debate whether recreational drugs should be legal or not. Thanks again.

4 years 9 months ago

I think today much of the movements we see that influence our steps forward are not in fact movements so much as they are legislative actions pushed by a group of politically active citizens and the politicians they collaborate with. Movements like black lives matter and other protesting groups are what we tend to notice because that is what the media tends to cover and distribute to us, however I think that most of the changes we see today come from within education systems, and the changing culture towards race is more a result of individualized changes and activism rather than a movements push for change. Riots, like the ones that happened in Baltimore, tend to stem out of police killings because of race, and also out of unfair judicial system decisions, such as the Trayvon Martin case. The riots are a manifestation of the anger and frustration that blacks and whites across the country feel.

4 years 9 months ago

I think that the Civil Rights Movement never ended, however it has changed and it became the Black Lives Matter Movement. Even after the Civil Rights Movement ended, people of color were still at a disadvantage, and this makes the movement unable to end since their is still racism present, we can see this in many statistics, and personally I believe that we most likely will never achieve equality, since we refuse to give up some power.

4 years 9 months ago

Your idea that racial inequality is brought about today by people refusing to talk about race. People need to talk about this and i do believe that people in the black lives matter movement and Ferguson racial inequality bring this issue more to the front of peoples attention. A lot of the time people are scared of these movements and therefore they do not know exactly what to expect from angry black people. this is called internalized racism and it is the biggest issue, IMO.

4 years 9 months ago

Your idea that racial inequality is brought about today by people refusing to talk about race. People need to talk about this and i do believe that people in the black lives matter movement and Ferguson racial inequality bring this issue more to the front of peoples attention. A lot of the time people are scared of these movements and therefore they do not know exactly what to expect from angry black people. this is called internalized racism and it is the biggest issue, IMO.

4 years 9 months ago

I really like your point of view, you pose a great counterpoint. I would go further to state that because there is no centralized leader in the Black Lives Matter movement, there is no focus for outsiders to see. I wonder if there was a "Martin Luther King" of the Black Lives Matter movement, if there would be more unification and strength for effective change. Thoughts?

4 years 9 months ago

I completely agree that shutting down the border and denying all refugees acceptance to the country would not solve the issues of terrorism at all. You also make very good points about how the objective of terrorism is to cause fear. What I don't understand about America today is that we are so scared of foreign terrorists yet not at all afraid of the dozens of mass shootings each year caused by American citizens. We need to reform our gun control policy.

Vermont Commons School

  • Modern US History in a Global Context

    This class will explore history and global issues since 1945, with a goal of seeing every issue from multiple perspectives.  Students will write frequent, short opinion pieces that I would love to have them share with students around the world.

About the author

I am Upper School History Department Chair at Friends School of Baltimore. I teach Modern World History, U.S. History and electives. I am passionate about connecting my students with others and moving conversations beyond the walls of the classroom.

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