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I am grateful for many experiences and environments in my life, including the ethnic influence of my father, that allowed me to experience different cultures and be open with others that were different from my bicultural identity.  This influence, in many ways, brought me here to a place where I am curious about everything, with a growing sensitivity that forces me to be aware of cultural erasures, fighting for the under- and unrepresented by any means at my disposal.  At this point, by any means implies learning tools that allow me to help people help themselves and learn skills that allow them to empower themselves more effectively.  Those tools include my research within the unintentional propaganda of media with sexist themes that influences interpersonal relationships and small groups of young Black American women and girls.

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While much has been said and much has been written about scientific objectivity and, in the case of my experience in local television journalism, much has been said regarding journalistic objectivity, sometimes quite passionately to the detriment of the local issues being discussed.  Both have their place, but I have never really understood why there isn’t a middle ground to analyze the needs of objectivity in relation to the needs of the community and the activism necessary to improve the work of both.  The scientific objectivity is recent within the study of sociology, psychology, and the classes that I participate in on Saturday mornings.  The journalistic objectivity is not new but while I was immersed in it, I always saw the false integrity (even without my awareness of the propaganda) in claiming objectivity while accomplishing no community improvement.   This objectivity vs. productive involvement is something that has also interested the readings’ authors as well, and I am glad that it has because I have wondered if I had been the only who has been puzzled by this.

Freire takes on this dichotomy to analyze the oppressed vs. the oppressors.  Other than the unique situation of the oppressed and the dictatorship of 1960s Brazil and the unique ways that subversive music produced (In the case of music specifically, Gilberto, Jobim, and Os Mutantes, for example, were part of an underground movement protesting the dictatorship while seeming to follow the strict dictates of the regime.), I see little difference in the ways that the oppressed of the world are reacting and rebelling against their respective oppressors, even in the United States where the economy continues to create more poverty and more apathy in the economically oppressed and the rich, respectively.  However, in the case of the oppressors, there may have been an element of humanity present when Friere originally wrote.  I see few elements of humanity in any present day oppressors unless there is humanity in apathy.

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“What does wellness, security, and happiness mean to you?”  Thus, my first Community Psychology class ended with a question and an introduction to the first reading.  My first reaction was, this is Abraham Maslow and his hierarchy of needs.  On page 198 of the reading, Maslow’s third tier of needs is introduced as community and belongingness.  But wellness, security, and happiness condensed this into the hierarchy of needs up to and including self-actualization.

Community is introduced as something with a perceived common characteristic among individuals, while larger communities are geographically larger with more cultural diversity and little in common. In my outside readings in anarchism and temporary autonomous zones (TAZ), this idea of community in wellness, security, and happiness is particularly intriguing as it promotes the common interests of small groups.  Community beyond the spatial unit of geography through electronic communications expands the idea of a “small group” into a much larger unit with close ties of a small group, but one that may be the size of a mid-sized geographic area or larger. This is particularly interesting from the aspect of values, obligations, and expectations and the influence of groupthink.

The authors also discuss the sustainability of a community and reference the 2005 UK government’s largest sustainability conference where it was defined as  “a place where people want to live and work now and in the future” (p. 199). I would also include TAZ, planned communities, such as the anarchist collectives based on mutual benefit, support, and interests.  Unfortunately, as the UK government states that it is interested in community sustainability, it demolished one of the largest Romani/Traveler camps a few years ago without even considering the needs of the residents.

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