BYSTANDERS: WHY WE ONLY GET INVOLVED WHEN OTHERS ASSIST

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“I’m involved when others get involved.”


the people

We as a human species love the idea of existing. So much so, at times we have lives that are not worth living, yet we still love the idea of waking up each morning. So when people are in need of help and there is a threat of death for helping, you can understand why some don’t assist. It’s so easy to throw out the word coward, but until you’ve been in that position, can you say for certain who is a coward? We would all like to think that we are these brave souls, until something bad happens to us.

not getting involved

Have you ever been on a train or somewhere else in public where someone is being harassed? On a human level you want to get involved, but on a human level self-preservation kicks in and you care about yourself. I mean think about it, who want to try helping someone and get shot or stabbed in the process. So, for the most part we stand aside not saying anything. Or we ignore the situation like it sin’t going on in front of us. What’s interesting, is once we see a brave sole get in, then we follow behind. But we need that extra push to compel ourselves to help.

mass tragedy

Even we are so built on self-preservation as a species, during much bigger incidents we assist. During the September 11th terrorist attacks, people we assisting each other all over the ground zero area near the World Trade Towers, as well as the Pentagon. So it strikes me as odd that we steer away from smaller incidents than bigger incidents. Maybe because the smaller incident is not seen as our problem, and a bigger incident could easily be our problem. On other hand, so could the smaller incident. All I know is that we have a society based around watching things take place out of self-preservation, but the fear of death is always looming; so very few involve themselves.


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I’M NOT QUIET OR LONELY, JUST IN THOUGHT: WHY DO WE ASSUME INTROVERTED IS UNHAPPY

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“Being to yourself gives you time to reflect.”


A lot of people throughout my life have told me that I am an introverted person. They have asked me why am I so stand off-ish or why do I like being so lonely. But there is a reason why I have become the person that I am today. For starters, I am an introverted person, but I am not stand off-ish nor am I lonely. Because stand off-ish people are unaware of self so they have a hard time in conversations with substance. And there is also a vast difference between someone who is alone and lonely. I am a person who spends time alone, but I am far from lonely. But how does a person be alone and not lonely? Aren’t they one of the same? Yes, they are, but to an extent. So why do we perceive people to be lonely and stand off-ish, or even disconnected when they don’t converse as much?

Well the reason we give people these types of labels has a lot to do with being human. When you are a human, we all want and yearn for some level of companionship in our lives. It can come in many different forms: doesn’t matter if it is a pet or a friend, or even a monogamous relationship. We all want to be close to someone or something that makes us feel like we exist on Earth. But you can also have people around you and still feel alone and shut out. Well, how is that the case? It’s because not everyone is meant to be in your life. And you should really assess who you allow into your space before you make the leap to bring them close to you. These people not meant to be in your life are the leaches who will suck you for everything you got, and then they’re gone once they have what they have come for.

Another reason why we look at people who are to themselves as lonely is because it’s what is associated with depression and anxiety. People who suffer from these illness typically exemplify the characteristics of a person who is lonely. They feel uncomfortable when put in social settings because of their own insecurities. So they typically shy away from people and keep to themselves. And there is a great deal of truth to this claim. Because I am a person who has been kept back because I have dealt with these internal issues in my life. Throughout life, I have been self conscious, depressed, lacked confidence, and anxious. So a lot of times I strayed from so many social situations because I felt this way. But it wasn’t until I became an adult I realized who I really was: which goes back to what I said earlier about self awareness. And that is the key to understanding yourself and others to understands themselves as well.

In the end, I have learned a few things by being alone. I have learned to have a great deal of patience because the solitude forces you to be still. You’re in a space alone with your own thoughts. So you have to do a lot of reflecting on your life. You have to look up until this point in life and be happy with where you are and where you are going. This is the moment you become self-aware. I also learned to have an objective opinion because I am not dealing with only the intricacies of my own peer group. So being around different people than myself in society allows me to be more practical. I am not a loner, I am reflecting; I am not lonely, I have plenty of people who love and care about me; I am introverted, but only because I have looked deep within self to find my purpose driven life; and I am not stand off-ish, I just usually stray away from conversations when I have nothing of substance to add. But what I have learned, is that the more time progress, the more people learn about me, the more they understand and respect who I am.


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LIFE ON HOLD: HAVE YOU HAD TO HOLD OFF ON YOUR DREAMS TO CARE FOR OTHERS

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“They had to come first.”


As a child to a single mother, I would always hear how she wanted to do so much in her life. But having children at such a young age, mixed with not having the support system she needed, she was unable to do so. Now in her 50’s, and no children to care for, she is embarking on more things she was never able to do when she was young. And that’s what brings me to the topic today. Have you ever had to put your dreams on hold for something or someone else. For my mother it was her three children, but for someone else it could be something different. We as people sacrifice so much of ourselves in the name of helping other people. A move which I do not plan on doing in my life because it derailed so much of what my own mother wanted to accomplish in life.

But it is really that easy to say? What if I became a parent, and now so much of what I wanted to do I couldn’t? Does that mean I have to completely give up everything? Well, yes and no at the same time. Because yes, you do have to give up a lot when you start having children. But I also think that is your obligation to make sure your children have someone that they can look up to as well. Meaning, your outlook on life will ultimately effect the way your children see the world. I have always been curious about the world that we live in because my mother has had such an open worldly viewpoint. We didn’t just watch a bunch of nonsense as children growing up in her household. We would go to the library, watch the History channel, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic. She would open us up to new things and people different than ourselves.

So for me, every time I start a new project I think about my mother. She was not able to do so much, I do things for that reason. Not that reason alone, but it always sits in the back of my mind. See, it’s easy for me to look at life in the scope of not having to care for anybody but me. I am single with no children, so the sky is the limit. But at one point in time, those people with others they have to look out for, such as their children, were in my current position. But, is it always about children? You have adults taking care of other adults as well. Which is something I am not doing as well. I receive aid from home because I am making strides in my life. But caring for an able-bodied adult who does not want anything out of life, not my problem.

See, in the end, at times we give up our lives to aid people who might be sick, to a child, or because we think it makes us admirable to do so. I understand the children aspect because they didn’t ask to be brought into the world. But you going to work caring for adults who are just as capable of working is not your problem. They have to go out into the world and earn as well. To many people are putting lives of others over themselves when they shouldn’t. You have your immediate obligations which are your children, and parents; everyone else is not an immediate obligation. And it is on them to figure their own life out.


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I JUST WANT TO LIVE: WHY MOST DON’T FIGHT AGAINST THE GRAIN

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“I know things are wrong, but what can I do?”


Observing the issues that have been in the news lately, you have to ask yourselves, “How do the masses feel about all this socio-political tension.” Because we see the people outside protesting. They are the fearless few who don’t think twice before stepping out and fighting. They are the ones not afraid to go to jail for what they believe is right. The chosen few that if not for them a lot of things in life just would not change. When I walk around, it’s as if we live in two separate countries. The country that fights for rights and the country that just exist. And that portion that just exist is know as the silent majority. The silent majority would much rather go to work , come home, and act as if life around them is not happening. Well, why do they do it?

I can’t look at people who don’t fight hard for what they believe in as cowards. As you age, you understand humans as a whole. And then you learn that most people just want to exist. They don’t want trouble, they just want to work and make it home in time to feed themselves and their families. But there are problems in your society that if not for the chosen few who fight, where would so many be today. We always like to look into the past and say the bad people were then, and now is different. But to me, I don’t think there were worst people in the past as a whole. I think that most people felt even slavery was bad for society. It’s just that we accept things as a nation and for the most part the world at large. Almost like this self-defeating, “Oh well, that’s how things are I guess.”

If people felt they could overthrow subjugation, I think they would have done so. But for some reason, one person says, “I’m just a regular guy, what can I do?” And then 5 people say that, then 50, then 500, and so on and so forth. All the way until it is the narrative driving a civilization. Until someone stands and speaks out, then more join. Now, is that enough for the masses to involve themselves, no. Because they are afraid; no. Maybe it’s because they disagree with the fighting; no. People don’t involve themselves because they are concerned for their own well-being and employment, but they do agree with the protest against the status quo. We might see that and say, “Well protestors are risking their lives.” But the human element of what we are is self-preservation. It all comes down to the whole fight or flight mentality. Who will stay and fight opposition and who will run away?

In the end, like I said before, the masses could be mistaken for cowardly, but just because someone is scared does not necessarily make them a coward. To me a coward is someone who prays on others weaker than them but wouldn’t dare take on a person who is their equal. You see, a lot of people not fighting back has to do with that ingrained things that lies inside of all of us. We step out into the world all hoping that nothing bad happens. We just want to work and exist. Some people don’t even care if they are barely existing because everyday above ground is great day. But as for the chosen few who fight back, they do so even if the masses don’t get involved. They fight and ultimately we all benefit from their hard pushback; and for that we thank them. Even if at times it is a silent thank you.


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NEWBO: IS THERE TIME FOR A CULTURE SHIFT

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“We carved one out before, why not again?”


In the 1610’s, the African American population was forced to the United States as indentured servants. Later becoming slaves, losing names, religions, birth place of origin, and overall identification. Once freed in 1865, we went from slave labor to still no so full citizens. And with limited citizenship, and no real ethnic identity, we began to carve out a face for our community. And a lot of the culture that has made up the African American community is in the music and food. But what if we decided to take it a little further. Let’s say we made a full conversion from where we are now. I named the title NEWBO, which in today’s society stands for the New Black Overclass.

When you hear the words New Black Overclass, you think of wealth and abundant resources. And how did that manage to take hold? There are many different factors that have influenced that over the years. From young Black children growing up watching the Cosby Show to the electing of America’s first Black president. We have taken what was a bad situation in the past and made the most of it today. Yet there are still so many of us that are still below the poverty level. And not only the poverty level, we make up a disproportionately higher percentage of crime in our community relative to anyone else. So with that said, we are doing better than the past in the area of success, yet lagging behind in other major areas.

And as much as I love Black culture, there is an aspect of our culture that have taken hold in recent history that has cast a dark shadow over the community. And that has to do with the crime in the community. Because of the introduction of Heroine, Cocaine, and Crack Cocaine, from the 1970’s in the 1990’s, the face of the community has changed to much. And it has become so impactful, it is rapidly becoming our culture. Yet when you look at the overall history of Black people in America, this recent violent culture is new to us. So, how about we begin to design a cultural identifier that is us. And when I say identifier I mean clothes we wear, food we eat, music, and behavioral traits.

Having an identifier shows not only togetherness, but it creates a sense of identity outside another group. Our problem as Black people is that we are too concerned and defined by another group. And for the longest, it has been the predominantly White community. So our vision for what success looks like has always been someone in position who is White. Yet when met with resistance by anyone White it boils over quicker than anyone else. Which never happens to any other group because they create their own identity. So what another really has to say becomes irrelevant because they have defined themselves for so long feelings are trivial. But if you have no name, to language, no religion, and you adopt ones culture that’s not yours, yet someone else’s, it could become a problem if not accepted into the culture.

And in the end, that’s a real problem with why there need to be a cultural identifier. Number one, you eliminate the care for what any other group thinks about you; their views are not relevant to who you are in scoiety. Number two, you begin to take pride in something that not only you created, but you’re accepted within. Which brings me to number three, the need to fit into a group. And I think this is why we as Black people cling to Hip Hop music so much. When you create something versus forced to adopt something the sentiment is different. Christianity was never a choice, names given weren’t a choice, and language wasn’t a choice. But the music we create was a pure choice. Though not liked by many, it goes on deaf ears when pushed against because the one major thing we created that we are fully included within. And if we created something impactful and global as Hip Hop, we can create a new identity of acceptance and not tolerance.


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Fight or Flight: Are You A Coward To Run

Should you question someone’s bravery if they run away in a time of crisis? What if you are witnessing an elderly woman being mugged? Do you involve yourself or do you keep walking? Not an easy decision especially if the person is armed and dangerous. Like come on now, how can expect people to put their lives on the line for complete strangers. It’s easier said than actually done. But what about in other cases. What about the case of a bank robbery or a mass shooting? Or even something more sinister like a high level terrorist attack.

There have been some times I have observed a fight or flight moment in our society. And when I say observed I mean pawed over a situation that took place in society I heard about. Case in point, some of these theater shootings. There were guys who took bullets for their girlfriends, but one man even left his crying baby and wife. People ridiculed him for leaving his family. And if that wasn’t enough, a random teenager came to his wife’s aid, even getting shot himself in the process.

We as a society are so quick to attack, but how many people wouldn’t do this. I’m willing to bet you that the main people who judged the man leaving his family would have done the same. So when we look in the world, how does one become the stand and fight or flight & run away. I think it all depends on the situation.  In the case of a major terrorist attack, everyone is in the process of flight, except a few chosen individuals. I don’t think these people who fight are the bravest people, you just don’t know what you’ll do until the time comes.

There were people for instance in New York’s City’s World Trade Center attacks, who would have never thought they would risk their lives for others, died assisting people from the twin towers. So does that mean the person is less admirable because under normal circumstances they may have run to save themselves. No, it’s a fight or flight situation. Heroism is not like the movies, it’s almost like a knee jerk reaction for people to jump into action and come to others aid. As much as we have our differences as people, we are quick to assist each other because humanity kicks in.

But does that mean those who flight are any less human? No, they are not. That is a human response to fear as well. So ultimately, what is it that makes some people stay and help and others maintain their self-preservation? My best guess is there must be something that triggers in each individual man or woman which forces us to respond to a crisis. I don’t see it as who is less or more heroic, but a chemical reaction in our brains. In the end, I admire people who throw themselves into the situation, yet not knowing what the outcome might be. But I also understand those who run away to save themselves because it triggers fear that we all internally have.