Space: The Final Frontier

http://phys.org/news/2014-11-frontiers-mineral-exploration.html

What I want to point out in this article is not so much the content of the article, but the title. “Frontiers in Mineral Exploration”. This is a perfect example of the misuse of the word ‘frontier’ that Limerick argues about in her book “Something in the Soil: Legacies and Reckonings in the New West”. In this article, Mars is presented as a frontier with endless opportunities for exploration and minerals. However, the article grazes over the fact that Mars is a harsh and uninhabitable world, similar to stories about the western frontier. The first Martian explorers would be struggling for their lives every single day, much like the American pioneers. Even with the technologies available to us today, such as the ability to travel to other planets, the idea of the frontier will never match the vision of wealth and opportunity that society has made it into.

Why do you think it is that society has never been able to shed the idea of a glorified frontier? What has caused it to survive this long?

Ebola: Opening the Way for Racism?

http://op-talk.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/21/has-ebola-exposed-a-strain-of-racism/

In the class reading “Racism without Racists”, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva pointed out how racism has changed in the United States. He argued that whites no longer identify as racist, and that they now see the problems of other races as that particular race’s fault.

This article from The New York Times website shows Bonilla-Silva’s argument in action. The article talks about a black man from West Africa who contracted Ebola and traveled to the United States, and discusses the different reactions that are emerging from the outbreak reaching U.S. soil.

The article brings to light how the small number of people who have contracted Ebola in the United States are seen as needing treatment, while the sufferers in Africa are left on their own to figure it out. Despite Ebola being from a certain part of Africa, the whole African continent is now being regarded as a disease ridden and dangerous place. This is leading to a rise in discrimination against African immigrants. Similar to color-blind racism, they are being blamed for the outbreak because of where they come from, despite the disease not affecting them.

What do you think is the cause of these discriminating viewpoints? Is it ignorance of Africa’s geography, fear, existing racist feelings about Africans, all of the above, etc.?