Archive for September, 2012

iDeNtiTy: Clique on, Clique off

Posted: September 26, 2012 in pOstEd WeEkLY

Despite my strong distaste for this piece, Black Skin, White Masks, I nonetheless appreciate Franz’s overall point of becoming conflicted internally in response to outer confliction. He discusses the discourse between whom he is as a person and who he is within his own skin [color]. Franz states “I wanted to be a man, nothing but a man”(85) yet he shows this clear distinction within his own argument of describing himself as a black man, not just a man. My distaste is mainly of trying to understand fully, which I cannot, the basis of “shame and self-contempt”(88) that Franz discusses about his own identity but at the same time using “Black” as an identifier, almost giving himself the illusion that while disagreeing with the poor treatment he experiences that somehow he is not a Man, he is a Black Man. It seems as though he is assigning himself a title in which at the same time he is arguing is the problem.

 Tying Franz’s piece in with my overarching topic for this course, I see that often in the field of psychology people depend upon identifiers as means of personal recognition, but also as a social tool. We see this in the simplest form with adolescents, girls identify with girls and boys with boys. In High School individuals assign themselves both socially but also behaviorally to groups of others with whom the best match: religious kids with religious kids, preps with preps, stoners with stoners, and so on. As social creatures we depict ourselves as being a part of the whole whether conscious or subconsciously.

 To even further this identification process we can examine Female Sex Workers overall in all communities. There is a specific stigma that follows these women in relation to how they view themselves. The process of identification goes hand in hand, chicken or the egg. Is it the way that the FSW dresses that allows for others to treat her poorly, deny common respect as you would to a woman in a suite? Point being that we, society, rely on physical identifiers, stigmas, but we also become that identifier—we become that stigma that follows the identifier. This is why certain people accept certain treatment, or even expect it. Franz discusses himself as a Man, saying he wants to be a Man, nothing more than a Man, but he is identifying himself as a Black Man, Not a Man. He is giving himself the identity that has been assigned to him (not to say we can escape physicality’s), but that his cognitive social process becomes that of his assigned identity—ultimately created by himself.

In case of bordom: 2008 An exploratory study on the presence of cliques within Singapore Polytechnic.

 Fanon, Franz. 1986 [1952]. “The Fact of Blackness” Chapter 5 in Black Skin, White Masks. London: Pluto press. Pp 82-108


worth a 1,000 words.

Posted: September 24, 2012 in pOstEd WeEkLY

Joseph Dumit’s text is not only in depth but also clearly underlines the argument of what is “normal”, “sick”, and the “them” and “us” perspective through brain images (computerized tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography (PET) and chemical testing. The entire meaning of his work was to establish an argument of removing the “prejudiced, stylized representations of correlation” within the courtroom through means of physically viewing the human brain (or subject’s brain). He goes as far to use the cliché, being highly appropriate, that a “picture is worth a thousand words.”   

 Although my topic is rather difficult to relate to this particular piece, I think if we look at the visual component of segregation we can really understand the overarching theme of prejudice not solely being a preconceived notion that is not based on reason, experience, or rationale.

 There is a huge blanketing stigma of FSW that has really been difficult and unsuccessfully tarnished.  Even within the medical field many FSW (Andhra Pradesh, India) have stated that “some of the doctors, when we approach them for treatment, if they know that we are [kothis] they don’t touch us and go away from us ordering the [security staff] to send us out.” Others have even stated that stigmatization is so severe that the feel great amounts of grief and guilt. One example was from a FSW who said she felt sad from the discrimination and wondered why she had to do sex work and as a result she felt like dying. What is it about the labeling of an individual that allows humans to treat Them in such a way, to further the divide of equality and human rights?

Voices of FSW: Stigma, discrimination and violence amongst female sex workers and men who have sex with men in Andhra Pradesh, India

 Referring back to Dumit’s text it is as though he is taking Them (those with instability and often mental illness) and using brain scans to show even more so that the Them are not like Us. Although he is attempting to remove race from the situation by using PET and CT scans in courtrooms, it is nonetheless bringing more attention to the fact that we even need to do so, that we must take all aspects away from personalizing an individual to reduce them to a black and white image of their brain—only highlighted to show physical discrepancies.

Dumit, J. 1999. “Objective Brains, Prejudicial Images.” Science in Context. 12:173-201

In Weber and Fore’s piece examining four differing areas of what they call “intersecting systems of inequality” within health/race/ethnicity there is a somewhat small section titled Intersectionality and the Social Construction of Health Disparities: Case Examples of HIV/AIDS. Here is where we will focus our relation between the articles overall concept of HIV/AIDS and that of FSW (female sex workers) in the Philippines.

Related Article: A multilevel analysis of the impact of socio-structural and environmental influences on condom use among female sex workers.

Weber and Fore make a beautiful point that diseases become stigmatized. You can easily do this right now, close your eyes, and picture what an individual with AIDS/HIV looks like. It doesn’t make you racist, sexist, or anything other than someone who is the product of a socially constructed concept.

“Women were invisible in the [AIDS/HIV] epidemic. In many studies they were merely seen as ‘vehicles’ or ‘vectors’ of the disease, not its victims.”(206)

This statement leads us right into the conceptualization of stigmatizing female sex workers of the Philippines. The idea of exoticism and youthful, inexpensive sex servants is what intrigues thousands of non-Philippine citizens to bring in economic success to an illegal trade. Women, rather vehicles, of the pleasure market are not only serving the buyers of their trade but are also serving as vehicles to transport HIV to clientele. This exact concept is what Weber and Fore were attempting to bring to the surface, that women are NOT vehicles. These FSWs are not just another common statistic of a HIV positive prostitute, they are women with families and children and lives. They are the faces of the socially constructed concept of sex-worker.

If anything this small portion of the Weber/Fore article has made me think more about the background and history of the Philippines—mainly of the women’s history—then that of the statistics that represent them.

Each year organizations and groups work to better the lives of FSW and to lower their risk and the risk of others (their sexual partners and their children) for contracting and sharing HIV/AIDS.

The White House commemorates National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day with a multi-agency event to discuss the intersection of HIV/AIDS, violence against women, and gender related health disparities, and the way these issues affect women’s lives both domestically and globally. March 14, 2012.



Weber, Lynn and M. Elizabeth Fore. “Race, Ethnicity, and Health: An Intersectional Approach” Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research, 2007, 191-218.

*”gay white disease” was a quote from the Weber and Fore article in the HIV/AIDS section in reference to the common perception of AIDS in the early 1980’s within the United States.

too much.

Posted: September 10, 2012 in whatnot and hooplah

top of the mornin,

so I’m supposed to post on the Tuskegee Syphilis Study before noon and that is just really not going to happen. Being a psych major I’m extremely familiar with the study but I have to work (literally now, I am at work in my awesome cubical) so I just don’t want to churn out a half-assed blog post on something I really found riveting and emotion provoking.

I propose to do the next blog entry accordingly (on the article for my thursday class) and then over the weekend I’m going to do a post on the Tuskegee Syph. Study.


p.s. yeah, it’s Wed. Sept 26 and I totally lied to y’all. yup, never actually posted a ligit entry about the case. sorry  >o<

 Ignatieff refers to the great economic success of Asia on more than one occasion; his examples are of Malaysia who experienced economic success of the 1980-1990s and Singapore. He goes on to state that:

 “An ‘Asian model’ puts community and family ahead of individual rights and order ahead of democracy and individual freedom.”

 Ignatieff explains, in regards to the previous statement, that the Asian model is not a reality. He says that there is not a single Asian model; that individual states (Singapore, Malaysia) have developed and “modernized in different ways.” Specifically, in their differing politics and freedom within the market. The point I found to be most staggering—while the majority of the Asian Values section by Ignatieff was agreeable—was that Asian authoritarians claim supremacy over Western models [of individualism].

 I very much agree with Ignatieff’s statement that “defending individual agency does not necessarily entail adopting Western ways of life.” He goes on to say:

 “Believing in your right not to be tortured or abused need not mean adopting Western dress, speaking Western languages, or approving of the Western way of life. To seek human rights protection is not to change your civilization; it is merely to avail yourself of the protections of ‘negative liberty’.”

 The main point I really took away from the reading was that Asian authoritarians claim supremacy over Western models. What happens, for example among the women in the Philippines, when their community and family are already generationally shrouded by prostitution? It is then culturally inappropriate to remove oneself from the sphere of sex-worker as it would be a shift from the ‘Asian model’ to a ‘western model’ of individualistic motive.

Obviously, I am biased as I am a Westernized woman [being of western culture], in college, living outside of my parent’s household, and work for a University—being that I cannot think non-individualistically or as a part of the community instead of only thinking myself a part of the whole with individual motives. In my mind, though possibly ethnocentric, it seems that individualism is necessary for the whole. If women (children and men) in the flesh-trade continue to be only part of their community [and family] then generation after generation will be subjected to a way of life that involves poverty, STDs, violence, and often early death.


I suppose a question that I will need to conquer in the next blog or a separate blog will be: what is the state doing to intervene in such a vicious and repetitive cycle that is ultimately creating a decline in the well-being and health of the whole?

Ignatieff, Michael. 2000 “Human Rights as Idolatry” The Tanner Lectures in Human Values. Princeton. pp 320-349

Touch of Tide in your tea?

Posted: September 3, 2012 in pOstEd WeEkLY

“Intervention is also problematic because we are not necessarily coming to the rescue of pure innocence.” (317)

The overall concepts gathered in Michael Ignatieff’s article, Human Rights as Politics, universal human rights are broadly misrepresented and either successful or non-successful in a global scope. Most examples were of countries suffering from war and economic crisis; having rights violated by their own government; and of the impact encompassing Juridical, Advocacy, and Enforcement Revolution.

In the section, Human Rights & Self Determinism, Ignatieff states that “the rights and responsibilities implied in the discourse of human rights are universal, yet resources—of time and money—are finite” (298). Is the issue of time and money? Is that why children in the Philippines believe that by adding a little bit of Tide (laundry detergent) to their water they can avoid contracting gonorrhea while earning money by prostituting? Or perhaps the issue is that there is an enormous lack in resources, which may be a lack in money, but is more so a lack in sexual health.

Related: The threat of HIV and other sexually – related diseases  among youth in the Philippines.   

Ignatieff points out that the US States Department’s annual report of 1999 stated “human rights and democracy—along with “money and the Internet”—as one of the three Universal languages of globalization” (290). Clearly, money and the Internet are not a language that all individuals can speak. There is a disconnect in the concept of time and money and what the USSD states to be a third universal language if resources are not attainable by those in the Philippines, especially children with limited rights and education.

The issue at hand is not solely of a lack in resources, it is an over-influx of sex-tourism. While Pilipino state law and officials are making an attempt (at least for public appearance) to crack down on prostitution and exploitation of children, the threat is mainly familial, cultural, and economic.

“Many child sex workers – aged mostly from 11 to 15-year-olds – interviewed for a study by the Institute for the Protection of Children said relatives introduced them to prostitution, while others said they were recruited by friends.”

In the section, an Intervention as a Reward for Violence, Ignatieff holds a very broad and dynamic concept of there being three main failures of the assumptions or enforcements in regards to human rights being applied.

First, that “the crisis of human rights” is failing to be what he refers to as “consistent—to apply human rights criteria to the strong as well as to the weak.

Next, that there is a “failure to reconcile individual human rights with our commitment to self-determination and state-sovereignty.”

Lastly, that we have an “inability, once we intervene on human rights grounds, to successfully create the legitimate institutions that alone are the best guarantee of human rights protection.”

The Philippine Commission on Women states that “our existing law, specifically Article 202 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) penalizes and defines “prostitutes” as “WOMEN who, for money or profit, habitually indulge in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct.” Republic Act No. 10158 (March 27, 2012) which amended RPC Article 202” (

In a state where the workforce is nearly equivalent to the industry of sexual tourism and prostitution (both child and adult) on reform of law and human rights could result in resolution of such violations among women, men and children forced into selling their most precious resource: themselves.


Ignatieff, Michael. 2000 “Human Rights as Politics” The Tanner Lectures in Human Values. Princeton. pp 287-319


Posted: September 3, 2012 in Random Media.

“Project I did for my Global Issues class. I had to pick one of the 30 rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Mine was pretty much about poverty, made it about the Philippines.” –  on May 21, 2009

*stumbled across this while doing some good ol’ research, thought it was well put together and nice to look at for 5 or so minutes..enjoy


p.s. food for thought
“75% of the estimated 500 prostitutes in the “Area,” a ghetto known for child prostitution in Angeles City are children.” (Susan Pineda, of Pro-Women Action, “Scourge of Child Prostitution,” Sol. F. Juvida, InterPress Service, 12 October 1997) Many children become prostitutes because they need food, water, or other resources (e.g. shoes, clothing, shelter) and most are introduced into prostitution by a friend or by there family (forced or willing).