Why My Parents Are Embarrassed Of Me

Why My Parents Are Embarrassed Of Me

Dear Mom and Dad, I'm sorry.
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I’m a failure. This thought constantly ran through my mind - sometimes making an appearance. I was confused because these weren’t my own words nor my idea of myself. This idea of being a failure stemmed from external factors, such as parents and previous classmates. Though, this wasn’t an idea explicitly expressed, it was nonetheless expressed even if it was unspoken.

Having attended private institutions since preschool, it only seemed fitting that I’d go on to an Ivy League or private university, such as Stanford. After all, this is the main reason why parents enroll their children in such rigorous, academic environments at such a young age. Unfortunately, I did not meet that dream for my parents. I was an outlier.

A handful of my classmates, many of whom continued onto high school with me from the pre-school, now study at Georgetown, Stanford, Brown, Princeton, Yale and Berkeley. Sometimes I wonder as to how I fell behind and, perhaps, even out of the main sequence.

Out of high school, I attended a private Catholic university in San Francisco Bay. Upon completing my first year, I realized that I was bored. At the institution, I exhausted all of my resources, applying into every internship and leadership position on campus, being active in the religious organizations, working as a liaison between the President of the University and students. The grand picture is, I was beginning to realize I am not a failure. I am a freshman, who is taking upon leadership roles that seniors at the institution aren’t even exposed to - I’m enrolled in courses which are upper division with a GPA that has been ranked the highest on the Dean’s List.

Yet, I chose not to return to the institution. Of course, as many know when making such an imperative decision, many factors are being weighed. However, one of the most critical to me, was whether or not this is an institution where I can thrive and be supported by community members who share the same goals as myself. Unfortunately, because I found myself bored and disengaged, I didn’t return to the University.

As one would imagine, not only was I unsure of where I was going, I hadn’t applied as a transfer anywhere, and my parents were the least of my fans. For me to not receive admission nor attend a highly reputable institution following graduation from high school, the cards were already not in my favor. You could say that from the inception of my collegiate career, my parents were very carefully watching to see where I would land myself. Summer had passed and I found myself applying to Foothill College.

For those who are not familiar, Foothill College is a community college. September had finally come after, what seemed like the longest vacation of my life. I was enrolled in 21 quarter units, as I had the anticipation of transferring to a private university after a quarter at this college. My first quarter has easily been the best quarter or even college experience I’ve had yet. I was in courses where my entire class engaged in discussions, unlike my previous institution. I was collaborating and holding intellectual conversations, which I had not yet experienced at university. I was provided with instructors who took the time to learn every student’s names, their majors, and their favorite restaurant in Santa Cruz. Of course, I was fascinated because this was foreign ground but it was a community that I had been missing.

It was unusual and a bit bizarre to finish classes at the end of the day, and find myself back home in my room. Especially, leaving me uneasy, was seeing my parents at home because we both knew that I was grander and had more potential than settling for a community college — as they put it. Having an environment like that to come home to, knowing that my parents weren’t necessarily proud of me, wasn’t the greatest but it made me determined.

I was determined to break the social standard for community colleges.

“You go to a community college? Yikes...that’s embarrassing.”

“Where did you go to high school?

Oh, Presentation High School.

What’s that?

A private, Catholic, all girls high school.”

To have to verbally state and then recognize what I was saying, I was heavily deterred and unsure of what I was doing. I began to look into applying to private universities for spring admission, because I knew it was what my parents wanted. They wanted me to leave this community college stigma and environment. They didn’t want me to be at community college too long in hopes of avoiding family members asking me how school is going and where it was I go to school.

Nonetheless, at family events, when prompted with the question I proudly stated Foothill College. I realized, why should I be embarrassed of going to a community college when I’m the one who is thriving. I am performing in the top of my courses, in the honors institute, President’s List, working on the student newspaper, and speech and debate member among others.

While on the journey of finally accepting where I am in my academic journey, and where I want to conclude it, I’ve overcome a lot of internal struggle. I began to truly believe the idea of being a failure. My best friends are at 4 year institutions and will graduate in the socially acceptable, four years but here I am. We all received the same education but I deterred. I began to isolate myself from my family when I was home and stuck to simply studying. So much so, I’d decline to eat dinner and invitations to social events with friends.

Currently, I am concluding my spring quarter at Foothill College and could not be more proud of myself in what I’ve achieved and who’ve I become. I’m no longer doing what my parents would like me to do, but what I want to do. I’m pursuing a major that I want a career in, not a major which will provide me with a lavished lifestyle. My parents may see it that I’ve made a mistake and embarrassed them through venturing into a community college. In fact they do. Only recently they’ve begun to open their minds to the idea, at seeing such achievement and having community members recognize my academic successes. I am sorry they felt so compelled to tell me not to let family members know I was not attending a private university. However, I can see that they had my best interest in mind.

Despite being confident and proud in my declaration of attending a community college, my family members passed very loud, unspoken judgement. It was easy to tell because of their facial expressions, but also because of the follow up questions I received.

“Where did you go to high school again? Didn’t you go to private school since preschool?”

I was prompted with questions they obviously knew the answer to, but nonetheless attempted to belittle my choice of an institution. All of their children had attended Santa Clara, UC Berkeley, UCLA and Georgetown.

I can still see a hint of disappointment held behind my parent’s facade of being proud of me. At the end of it all, I’m no longer on the main sequence. I am an individual who has so much ability and capacity, I know I do, but cannot convince my parents otherwise. For them, as with a great deal of society, the name of the institution is what determines your level of intellect. Of course it is very superficial, but that is how we as human beings decide who to affiliate with and who we want to be seen as.

I no longer truly care about embarrassing others, because if I am happy with the decisions I’ve made, none of them harmful, then I’ll very much embrace that. I pridefully wear my Foothill College t-shirt because I love waking up every morning to a class of individuals who care about their education. I love that my professors will reply to me at late hours and on the weekends. I love that I can grab coffee with professors from previous quarters on University Ave, to consult for academic and personal advice. I’m thriving and have the energy of my peers and the faculty to bounce off of. It’s not where you start but where you finish.

Cover Image Credit: Republic3-0

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Islam Is Not A Religion Of Peace, But Neither Is Christianity

Let's have in honest converation about the relgious doctrine of Islam

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Islam is not a religion of peace.

Christianity is also not a religion of peace.

But, most people in both religions are generally peaceful.

More specifically, bringing up the doctrine of Christianity is a terrible rebuttal to justify the doctrine of Islam.

That is like saying, "Fascism is not a good political ideology. Well, Communism isn't any good either. So, Fascism is not that bad after all."

One evil does not justify another evil. Christianity's sins do not justify Islam's.

The reason why this article is focused on Islam and not Christianity is the modern prevalence of religious violence in the Islamic world. Christianity is not without its evil but there is far less international terrorist attacks and mass killing perpetrated by Christians today than by those of Islam.

First, let's define "religious killings," which is much more specific than a practicer of a religion committing a murder.

A religious killings are directly correlated with the doctrines of the faith. That is different a human acting on some type of natural impulse killing someone.

For example, an Islamic father honor killing his daughter who was raped is a religious killing. But an Islamic man who catches his wife cheating and kills her on the spot is a murder, not a religious killing. The second man may be Islamic but the doctrine of Islam cannot be rationally held at fault for that killing. Many men with many different religions or experience would make the same heinous mistake of taking a life.

Second, criticizing a doctrine or a religion is not a criticism of everyone that practices the religion.

It is not even a criticism of everyone who make mistake while inspired by the religions. Human are willing to do heinous things when governed by a bad cause. Not every World War 2 Nazis was a homicidal maniac but human nature tells them to act this way in order to survive in their environment. It is hard to fault a person from traits that comes from evolutionary biology and natural selection.

However, commenting on a philosophy, ideology or a religion is not off limits. Every doctrine that inspires human action should be open for review. The religion may be part of a person's identity and it holds a special place in its heart but that does not mean it should be immune to criticism.

Finally, before going into a deconstruction of the myth that Islam is a religion of peace, there needs to be a note about the silencing of talking about Islam.

There is a notion in Western Society that if a person criticizes Islam, then that person hates all Muslims and the person suffers from Islamophobia. That is not the case, a person to criticize religion without becoming Donald Trump. In Western Society criticizing fundamental Christians is never seen as an attack on all Christians because there is a lot of bad ideas in the Bible that Christians act on. Therefore, criticizing Islam should have the same benefit of the doubt because the Quran has many bad ideas in it.

The Quran advocates for war on unbelievers a multitude of times. No these verses are not a misreading or bad interpretation the text. Here are two explicit verses from the Quran that directly tell Followers to engage in violence:

Quran 2: 191-193:

"And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah (disbelief or unrest) is worse than killing... but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah) and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists and wrong-doers)"

Quran 2: 216:

"Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not."

There is no rational way to interrupt these passages in a peaceful way. The whole premise of both passages is to inspire followers that war against the unbeliever is justified.

The first verse advocates for genocide against non-believers for the mere transgression that a society worships a different god or worships another god along with Allah.

The second passage is arguable more dangerous because the first passage just advocate that fighting may be a necessity, while the second passage encourages it. The second passage claims that war on the unbeliever is a good thing under the eyes of Allah.

The reason why these passages are dangerous is because they directly incite religious violence. For most followers of Allah, these passages are ignored or they convince themselves the passages means something they do not. However, for a large numbers of followers that view the text of the Quran as the unedited words of Allah, these texts become extremely dangerous. These passages become all the rational they need to wage war on non-believers.

This is dangerous because there are millions of followers of Islam worldwide that believe every statement in the Quran is true.

Therefore, the Quran becomes a direct motivation and cause for its followers to attack non-followers. Rationally one can understand where the Islam follower comes from, if a person truly believes that Allah or God himself wrote these words then why would you not comply.

Especially when there is verses in the Quran that says the Follower who does not fight the infidel is not as worthy of a Follower that does wage war against the non-believer (Quran 4:95). Finally, when male Followers are told that their martyrdom fighting for the faith will be rewarded with an eternity in paradise with 72 virgins for personal pleasure. If a Follower truly believes all of this is the spoken word of Allah then there is more rational why a person would commit these atrocities then why they would not.

Men and women are radicalized by these passages on a daily basis.

No, it is not just the poor kid in Iraq that lost his family to an American bombing run that indiscriminately kills civilians but also the middle classed Saudi Arabian child or some Western white kid that finds the Quran appealing. If radicalization were just poor people, then society would not have much to be worried about. However, Heads of States, college educated people and wealthy Islamic Followers are all being radicalized and the common dominator is the doctrine of Islam.

Osama Bin Laden, one of the most infamous terrorist in history, was not a poor lad that was screwed by the United States military industrial complex. Bin Laden was the son of a billionaire, that received an education through college from great schools. There is no other just cause for Bin Laden to orchestrate such grievous attacks on humanity besides religious inspirations. A person can rationally tie Islam Followers gravitation towards terrorism to a specific verse. Quran 3: 51 tells readers,

"Soon shall we cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers."

Any rational person can tie Islamic passages like this directly to terrorism. It is not a complicated correlation to like Nazism and Jewish persecution to Christianity. The Holy Book of Islam directly encourages the Followers of Islam to inflict terrorism unto the non-believer.

So why do some many people deny these obvious truths about Islam and violence?

Political Correctness and the want to not be viewed as a bigot. The correlations here are as direct as the terrors of the Spanish Inquisitions and Catholicism and no one is afraid to retrospect and say, "Yes Christianity caused the direct murder of thousands of people". A person would not even be controversial if one stated that both World Wars has significant religious undertones. However if anyone states that terrorism and violence has a direct link with Islam then there is an outcry.

Even President Obama refused to use the terms Islam and Muslim when publicly talking about the War on Terrorism. I am a hypocrite also because I used the term Islamic Follower instead of Muslim in an attempt to sound more political correct.

That is a problem when society refuse to use terms that are correct in an attempt to not offend anyone. Imagine if scientist could not report their findings because the underlying politics. Society needs to be able to have open dialogue about this problem or else it will never heal. Society needs to throw away the worrisome about being politically correct and focus on identifying the problems and solving them.

The world of Islam needs to open themselves up to this criticism.

There can no longer be a closing of dialogue where the West cannot speak on the doctrines of Islam because they are not partakers (That applies to all organized religion too, especially the Catholic Church). People who draw Muhammed must no longer be threatened with attacks on their life.

When Islamic women and men speak up about the sins of Islam, they must stop being silenced. If humanity is going to take steps into the future with better technology and more dangerous weaponry, then we need to solve this problem with Islam and gradually to organized religion at all.

If not it will doom us way before we get there…

Thank you for reading and if you enjoyed this article follow my podcast on Twitter @MccrayMassMedia for more likewise discussions.

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The 2018 Supreme Court in Review (Part 2)

So what have the justices said, really?

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It's the end of June, and you know what that means: Supreme Court decision season! This year, the Court has ruled on cases relating to such hot-button issues as Trump's immigration restrictions and public accommodations laws as well as lesser-known constitutional questions raised by modern society, like the legality of law enforcement searches of electronic data. Unfortunately, modern media outlets also all too often prioritize breadth over depth, describing the Court as "taking this stance" on a political issue rather than describing the specific legal question and the reasoning that went into their ruling. To some extent that's understandable, since Supreme Court decisions are written in legalese. But have no fear! I've done some digging, and here's a snapshot of how the Court has ruled this year...

2. Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

The Question: Ah, yes, the "gay wedding cake case." It all started back in 2012 when Charlie Craig and David Mullins, a same-sex couple, went to Masterpiece Cakeshop to get a cake for their wedding. Its owner, Jack Phillips, was a devout Christian who, while he would sell anything "off the shelf" to anyone, declined to make custom cakes for occasions that offended his religious beliefs--including same-sex marriages. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission found that this denial of service violated a state law barring discrimination in business against (among other groups) gays and lesbians. When a state court affirmed the Commission's ruling, Jack Phillips appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that...

The Ruling: By a 7-to-2 majority, the Court reversed the decision of the Colorado authorities on the grounds of Phillips' religious freedom. Justice Anthony Kennedy--who wrote the majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges (the decision that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide) as well as this case--was quick to point out that "the laws and the Constitution can, and in some instances must, protect gay persons and gay couples in the exercise of their civil rights." On the other hand, "religious and philosophical objections to gay marriage are protected views and in some instances protected forms of expression." So, while "Colorado law can protect gay persons in acquiring products and services on the same terms and conditions as are offered to other members of the public," that law "must be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion" in accordance with court precedent.

Accordingly, Jack Phillips should have been entitled to fair consideration of his religious beliefs from the CCRC. While his case was being heard, "the State Civil Rights Division concluded in at least three cases that a baker acted lawfully in declining to create cakes with decorations that demeaned gay persons or gay marriages" because "state law at the time...afforded storekeepers some latitude to decline to create specific messages they considered offensive." However, no such consideration was extended to Phillips. Instead, "some of the commissioners at the Commission's formal, public hearings endorsed the view that religious beliefs cannot legitimately be carried into the public sphere or commercial domain, disparaged Phillips' faith as despicable and characterized it as merely rhetorical, and compared his invocation of his sincerely held religious beliefs to defenses of slavery and the Holocaust" without objections from other commissioners.

The CCRC also claimed in the Masterpiece proceedings that messages on cakes were attributable to the customer (not the baker) and failed to take into account Phillips' willingness to sell other products to LGBT customers, both of which were inconsistent with their treatment of other bakers who objected to another message. This obvious double standard, as well as the disparaging comments, led the majority to conclude that CCRC's decision was based on hostility toward Phillips' beliefs and thus impermissible under the First Amendment. The case was resolved in his favor, but on such narrow grounds that the door was left open for future, similar cases to be decided differently, with respect paid to both gay couples and religious objectors.

Kagan filed a concurring opinion joined by Breyer, in which she agreed with the majority's judgment that the CCRC had not given Phillips "neutral and respectful consideration" on the basis of commissioners' hostile comments, but did not think the treatment of other bakers was relevant because they had not discriminated on the basis of a protected class under the Colorado law in question. Gorsuch filed another concurring opinion joined by Alito, in which he argued that the other bakers' cases were in fact legally similar and that CCRC acted hypocritically by punishing Jack Phillips because it found his beliefs offensive.

Gorsuch also joined Thomas' concurring opinion that the case really should have been decided on free speech grounds, since the use of artistic talents is exactly the type of expressive conduct that the First Amendment protects. (Court precedent has established that compelling speech is even more unconstitutional than forbidding speech). Ginsburg dissented in an opinion joined by Sotomayor, arguing that the commissioners' hostility did not justify a ruling in favor of Phillips.

Regardless of your feelings on this decision, it was for sure among the highest-impact decisions of this year and maybe even of this era. Of course it wasn't the only big decision of this year, but don't worry--there will be more reviews to come!

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