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Thursday, January 04, 2007


Shawn F.

Few are aware, that one of the key causes of the Civil war was the North not wanting slavery to spread to their region out of fear of losing jobs to free labor. Fast forward to the twenty first century; where slavery has supposedly been outlawed, and job seekers deem their only competition to be outsourcing, technology, and the immigrant workforce. The immigrant workforce has become less of a threat due to the government’s new immigrant labor laws and border restrictions. I wonder if anybody ever took the time to think about why a country that has depended on cheap immigrant labor for so long moved so quickly to pass laws that would severely restrict it. Could it be that the government has found another more inexpensive source of labor, there by making the immigrant workforce expendable? I believe so. With corporate owned prison’s basically leasing out inmates to commercial enterprise at wages that make it comparable to slavery, it has become apparent to me that job seekers have a new competitor.
There are numerous essays that have been written about American prison institutions and slave labor. Many American citizens could careless about the enslavement of prison inmates - believing it’s well deserved. Others feel that since the inmates are already in prison they might as well spend their time productively. Few have acknowledged the threat that prison labor poses to our society’s job market. Maybe the reluctance of mainstream media to expose companies that have been robbing job seekers of employment by employing inmates at slave wages have left people in the dark on the issue. People aren’t informed of the fact that companies such as Honda employ prison inmates to make car parts for $2 an hour when a free man would earn a wage of $20 or $30 an hour to do the same job. It even goes as far as companies like AT&T and TWA hiring prison inmates to do such things as telemarketing and taking reservations for airlines - processing credit card information and social security numbers. Think about the number of applicants these companies deny employment every year because they marked yes to the “Have you ever been convicted of a Felony” question, think about the number of applicants these companies turn away each year for not having a High School diploma or GED, the applicants they tell are overqualified, the applicants they tell are under qualified, now think about those companies giving those same jobs to an under qualified, in some cases uneducated, prison inmate. Allow me to use this analogy. Let’s say a girl named Sara works at a department store. Sara has two kids and is desperate for over time and any extra hours she can work (and use) to make extra money to feed her children. One day a guy, let’s call him Tom, walks into her store and steals a pair of pants. The store owner calls the police, Tom gets arrested, goes to court and the judge sentences him to work in that department store for 30 days for no pay. The owner of the department store realizes how much money he could save with this arrangement and cuts Sara’s schedule from 40 hours a week to 20. Think about who suffers in that scenario. Imagine the government adopting a policy which allows corporate owned prison’s to lease prison inmates to work for commercial enterprises. Imagine the amount of jobs that would be lost from the amount of revenue these companies could save on payroll, and then imagine this not being a hypothetical scenario, imagine it being reality. Here’s something I snatched off the net courtesy of WSWS (world socialist website). “Lockhart Technologies, Inc. closed its plant in Austin, Texas, dismissing its 150 workers so that it could open shop in a state prison in Lockhart. The prisoners assemble circuit boards for industrial giants such as IBM, Compaq and Dell. Lockhart is not required to pay for health or any other benefits. The company must pay the prison the federal minimum wage for each laborer, but the inmates get to keep only 20 percent of that.” If you’d like to know more about this issue I suggest you look at this site link


By: Shawn F.


Shawn F.

Dialect: Variety of a language spoken by a group of people and having features of vocabulary, grammar, and/ or pronunciation that distinguish it from other varieties of the same language.

Dialects usually develop as a result of geographic, social, political, or economic barriers between groups of people who speak the same language. When dialects diverge to the point that they are mutually incomprehensible, they become languages in their own right. This was the case with Latin, various dialects of which evolved into the different Romance languages French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian….

Hip hop slang, in my opinion, is what could be characterized as a socialect, which is a dialect determined by social factors rather than by geography. In the opinion of others outside of hip hop it’s a sign of ignorance or lack of education, or just plain bad English. What causes the division?
I know to some this may come off as pure speculation, but what I have come to find is that the unacceptance of Hip hop slang as a dialect, is a result of an unwillingness of high class society to accept the idea of what is deemed to be a low class society having the intellectual capacity to actually develop a dialect (in other words arrogance). Often the Hip hop community is portrayed as unintelligent and as a result are often perceived as such. If someone you believe to be stupid speaks in a manner that you’re not accustomed to hearing, you might, in all likeliness, chalk it up to stupidity. The resistance towards hip hop slang as being viewed as a dialect comes from other angles as well. Many people who view themselves to be educated and accept the ideas that have been fed to them of what is an educated manner of speaking, also view hip hop slang as an unintelligible or uneducated manner of speaking the English language. Furthermore you have the fundamentalists that,in my opinion, fear the idea of hip hop slang being viewed as a dialect because, as I stated in the passage above, dialects have been known to turn into languages once they have reached a mutual level of incomprehensibility, which wouldn’t pose such a threat if the hip hop dialect was confined to a specific demographic. But the acceptance of the Hip hop culture nationally and internationally is what, in my opinion, alarms fundamentalist. As Hip hop receives more and more worldwide exposure through publications, T.V shows, radio stations, and other modern media, it bears the potential to change itself from being perceived as American culture to being accepted as a foundation American culture.

If you ask me it isn’t what it is, it’s what people have been taught to believe it is, that compels resistance against hip hop slang being accepted as a dialect of the English language. When in reality what we accept as English is actually a dialect of the British English language and even that is a stretch. If you look up the origin in which many American words derive you’ll find that the English language is a bastard language comprised of mispronounced and borrowed words of other languages, sort of like Hip hop slang.

Let us know what you think, Hip hop slang; Dialect or just bad English

Why Dream Girls Was A Nightmare

I got suckered I have to admit. Usually I'm not swayed by critical acclaim and award nominations but I got got this time around. Me and my girlfriend - who wanted to see a movie called "Children Of Men" - instead decided - upon my request - to see Dream Girls. Boy was I disappointed. To be frank, Dream Girls is corny and seems rushed. They didn't take the time to develop the characters and story lines. I didn't connect with any of the characters enough to actually care about anything that happened to them. I really don't see why any of the actors were nominated for anything. It turned out to be more of a musical than a movie but with out the appeal of a film such as the Moulin Rouge - which I surprised myself by liking. The singing scenes were not timed well enough to add any type of connection with the songs - It was kind of like confessing love to someone that hasn't known you long enough to care about you. Beyonce's acting annoys me. To me it seems like she approaches every role the same way. She's always this lively, wide eyed, bubbly character with a touch of Black sass and a tad bit of a mean streak. Jamie Foxx character was good. He played a money grubbing ass-hole but he played it well. Jennifer Hudson (American Idol reject) was impressive as well. Her vocal performances and overall acting was real good. Jennifer Hudson and Jamie Foxx characters were the only two that compelled any type of emotion out of you. She made you want to be in her corner and root for her to come out on top. He made you either laugh at the grimy things he did or want to see him take a knife to the gut. I have to say though thatJennifer Hudson did kind of look like somebodies Aunt Bunny. The scene where she sang "I'm telling you" They could of gave her a longer dress. Her legs looked like one of my aunts when their legs swell up with water - you know how some black women legs get all thick and swollen with the little black dots on them and stuff. I would have really been upset to have had wasted $19.95 to see that movie. Luckily me and my girl snuck in to see two other films. One being "Holiday" with Cameron Diaz which was kind of good - it made my girl cry - awwww!