Monthly Archives: July 2015

Reviewing the MTV Documentary White People

Joaquin Tenedora-Forte
       First of all I want to say this I love Jose Antonio Vargas. So I may be a little bit bias on this review. But having said that I want to be as objective as I can be reviewing. this made for tv documentary.

      ‘White People’ is about five young white persons living in the United States. And their journey of being young and white in a changing America. I like the fact that Jose took this topic. I know that this is a hard topic to tackle because in America racism is very prevalent. 

    What I don’t like about the film, the film doesn’t go too far enough that you will go, wow, this is a good film, it made me uncomfortable to watch it. I am just used to his first documentary: Documented (released in 2014), I have high hopes for the film. Because his CNN film is so good and awesome. 

     I understand that MTVs core audience are young people. I felt like White People’ is too commercial. There is something missing in the film. It doesn’t move me at all. It did not live out to the hype it made in social media. 

     Will I recommend White People? Yes, I will recommend it because it is good and tackles racism. Jose is a good writer and filmmaker. He does made do with what he needed to work with. The film 2.7/5 stars for me.

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Filed under Film reviews, Racism

The N word: a word to hate

By: Joaquin Tenedora-Forte 
    Note: I mean the word Nigger, not NIGGA    

     In recent years there have been a talk about the usage of the word NIGGER. The word Nigger is one of the most controversial words in America today. Because it represents hate and racism. I have a question, who can use the N word?

       Historically, the N word was use by white people to degrade black people in the United States. During the days of slavery it was use by the white slave owners to literally degrade blacks. Furthermore there have been some instances that while hung and dying, black men were called the N word. 

        After the Civil War, in the 1870s ‘s the N word was use to refer to black people. Although, blacks are now “equal” to whites. It didn’t stop whites to degrade black people. White people uses the word until the 1970s where it started to lose its popularity.

       What change? Attitudes change suddenly, we have TV shows with black people on the lead. Like the Bill Cosby Show and Stanford And Sons. White people gradually see blacks as not less than them. Parents didn’t pass the racism and bigotry to their kids. In 1992 the support for interracial marriage grow from only 30 percent in 1967 (the year of the Loving case) to 50 percent in that year. To 90 percent this decade.

        Now to my original question, who can use the N word? The N word in my opinion should be use very carefully, for historical purposes,in history classes. in museums, in intellectual conversations. Because it’s very degrading and hateful. It’s offensive and wrong. But I know it is not what America stands for. The first amendment literally says that you. have the freedom of speech. I guess anyone can say the word but that doesn’t mean you should say it.

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What constitutes a hate crime: the Matthew Shepherd case 

Joaquin Tenedora-Forte

        Unlike any other crime a hate crime is a crime in which the person who did it is targeting a particular minority group. To bring fear to that group of people. A hate crime should be prosecuted not as a ordinary crime but as a special case, with bigger consequences for the person involved.

      A classic case of a hate crime is the 1998 case of a 21 year old kid name Matthew Shepherd. Shepherd was a student at the University of Wyoming. He was brutally beaten and hung at a fence by two people he met in a bar, for being gay. Shepherd died from his injuries six days later. 

     His killers Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson were charged with first degree murders in connection with Shepherd’s death. There defense is Shepherd is trying to hit on them. It was known as the “Gay Panic Defense. It did not work, McKinney and Henderson was convicted on two counts of murder. They will spend their lives in jail for as long as they live.

         The LGBT community is outrage to say the least. They stage a protest in Washington DC for a comprehensive federal hate crime law. But because of congress luck of understanding, it did not pass. Until 2010 when president Barack Obama sign the Matthew Shepherd Act, it was named after Matthew a promising young man who died in the hands of two men who are full of hate for him.

      I wish there comes a time that there is no need for a hate crime law. But it’s not possible because of human nature. I dream of a world with no hate, only love, peace not war. We are all natures children what ever race, gender, disability and sexual orientation we are. The only way we can beat hate is to respect. 

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Filed under Civil rights and libertiy, LGBT

The It Gets Better Project

Joaquin Tenedora-Forte 

     In September of 2010, there have been a stream of bullying related suicides in the United States. Most notably the suicide of Tyler Clementi a freshman at Retgers University in New Jersey,      

     Tyler was a talented violinist who was outed as gay by his roommate, while kissing another guy he met. The roommate stream the encounter online. When he found out, Tyler was devastated. And two days later he jump off the George Washington Bridge. 

       The LGBT community was outraged and devastated, specially advice columnist Dan Savage. Savage said to his then partner now spouse Terry Miller, that he wanted to make a YouTube video and launch a video campaign called The It Gets Better Project. 

         The It Gets Better project was launched with a video by Dan and Terry in September 2010, telling their stories to young LGBT teenagers. And saying that to hang in there. And it will get better for them and their families.

          Dan never anticipated the response to the campaign, they only wanted 100 videos. He figured that if they had the 100 videos they will have people from all walks of life.

        Today, the It Gets Better Project reach a total of one hundred and fifty thousand videos and counting. There are some videos by celebrities, heads of states and countless ordinary LGBT Adults who want to let young people know that they will be alright.

    The It Gets Better Project save countless lives since that fateful September month. The project is instrumental in the creation of many G.S.As., gay straight alliances programs.

        Lastly, it does gotten better for many people in the macro level. So keep fighting for your life. You will see that it will get better for you. Once again, I want to tell young LGBT people that It will GET BETTER. 

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The drug war: the war on black man

Joaquin Tenedora-Forte
        In August of 2014 a young man name Michael Brown was shot and killed by Darren Willson a police officer in Ferguson Missouri. They are supposed to arrest Brown but instead shot him while facing backwards.

           Why are they arresting Michael Brown in the first place. Because he was perceive to possessed Marijuana. In the U.S. marijuana is a scheduled one substance according to the FDA. It meant that has no medicinal value, and is extremely addictive.  

    Since the 1930’s in America there have been some regulation on drugs. The start of the bias towards minority groups. it was offensive as white Protestant kids didn’t do drugs. Until the 1960’s when the hippy culture came along where in people are doing LSD and things like that. Parents are freak out and outrage.

     Like in the 1920’s when the mafia was so much in control of the alcohol consumption in the U.S. Now it’s the Mexican drug cartel that is so much in control of the drugs. America should and needed to decriminalize drugs. If it’s decriminalize or legalize, look at all the kids that can get a college degree out of the revenue from taxes, just saying.

      Blacks and whites do drugs at the exact same rate. But blacks are four times more likely to get arrested by the police. Because of drugs, black neighborhoods are police more. Black kids are more Likely to be orphans by this kind of system.

       Conservatives will often moan about family, and the idea of a father and a mother . But continuing with the war on drugs is way will destroy ideas of the family. America needs to legalize drugs it’s the only way to end the cartel, beat blatant racism and lastly to protect the family.     


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An unjust law is no law at all: I will fight for civil rights

Joachim Tenedora- Forte

        ‘Injustice everywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’ Martin Luther King jr. once said. I really admire Dr. King, I want to be a lawyer not only for my self but most importantly for the legacy of Dr. King. When I say legacy I don’t think speeches but the person behind. I think of how Dr King and how he won against atrocities thru out his life.

         Since I was very little, I have a really good sense of fairness and justice. I remember a guy is in jail for 15 years, killed a girl. And he was pardon by our president, I remembered my social studies teacher said that the president got it wrong. I said to my self it’s not right. I know that this man was guilty. But I really feel like he needed a second chance, and I believe that people don’t think that way for him. So I did not say anything.

      In 2009, I knew my first gay person, American idol finalists Adam Lambert, I supported the gay community in my country. But didn’t supported marriage equality. I suppose I’m too young to even understand what marriage meant.
       2013 I understood the Windsor case. Where in a lesbian couple one of the woman died, the other one was ordered to pay 300 thousand in taxes that if her wife was a man the widow will not pay that much in property taxes. I realized that gay marriage is and should be a right.

     if I were born during the 60s I would probably be a supporter of the black community. I would probably be in the crowds in the March on Washington. It’s just that I was in the gay rights era, so supported gay rights. I want to become a lawyer to fight for people’s rights like one of my heroes Evan Wolfson.

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Filed under Civil rights and libertiy, Love wins, Marriage equality, Op-ed

The Jose Antonio Vargas’ story

Joaquin Tenedora-Forte 
         What would you do if your only option is to send your son to lived with your parents in the United States, will you send him. Knowing that he will be illegal. What would you do if a human smuggler came into you’re house and said to you, he is taking your son to America. Knowing that it will be harder for him there, will you still let him go. These are the question that Emily Salinas ask her self when he put his son Jose in the cab on August 2, 1993. Jose Antonio Vargas landed at the Los Angeles international Airpot on August 3rd, it was the start of a very interesting life.

       Jose Antonio Vargas was born in Manila Philippines to young parents Joselito Vargas and Emily Salinas on 3rd February 1981. At aged 3, he’s mom separated with his father, and brought Pepeton ( how he called at home), Jose lived with his grandparents in Iba in the province of Zambales, in 1984, his grandparents left for the United States, Jose was crying but his grandma reassured him that he and his mom is coming to America. But there is a problem. because there is no divorce in the Philippines even if Jose’s parents separated, his mom couldn’t come via a family petition because permanent residence parents couldn’t petition married children, grandparents could not petition their grandchildren.

        Jose’s grandfather bought a fake passport, green card and social security number, for 45000 dollars so that he can come to America . He landed at LAX on August of 1993. For a kid who grow up poor in the Philippines, America was like heaven for him. That same year he started middle school at Crittenden Middle School, when he heard the US national anthem for the first time, he thought that it meant like Oh Jose can you see.

          When Jose was 16, he went to the DMV ( department of motor vehicles), He did not tell his grandparents he brought his green card with him, he gave the DMV person the green card, the personnel said that the card was fake, and don’t come back here again. Jose was shock and don’t believed what the person said, he confronted his grandfather and said ‘is this fake’, his grandfather said two things yeah, ‘that’s fake’ and you are not supposed to be here. He did not know what to do, he is angry with his mom and grandparents for not thinking it thru. His choir teacher was planing a competition trip to Japan he said he could not afford it she said no we will find away but he said I have no papers I am not supposed to be here. The teacher told him they will go to Hawaii instead to accommodate him.

         Jose was 17, when his English teacher, said that he ask to many questions and do journalism. She sent him to a to a journalism camp, he went, he was very surprised to see his name on the top of the page, (the byline). he figured if I could not be here because I have no papers what if I am on the paper, he figured. In his junior year. While in his history class after watching a film on Harvey Milk the San Fransisco city counselor who was shot to death, he know he was gay, after the film he raises his hand and he said something like this I am sorry Harvey Milk for dying for being gay.,….I am gay. He ran out of his classroom. After class he told his grandparents, his grandfather kick him out of the house. Because he’s grandfather has a plan, the plan is to for him to work under the table jobs. (waiting, babysitting, salesman) marry an American woman and get papers.

       Jose had stopped talking to his mom and grandparents, his high-school principal became a mother figure to him. The time has come for him to go to college, but being an undocumented immigrant meant that he is paying a rate of a foreign student. His high school principal finds a man that is giving scholarship found for needy students He went to the San Francisco State University, he majored in Political Science/African studies He was a good student. He got internships, internships at the Philadelphia Daily News and at the Seattle times, but was rejected from the Seattle Times after he told the PR person he was undocumented after this incident he and high school his superintendent went to a lawyer, and said the only option was to go back to the Philippines accept a ten year ban and try to comeback, the superintendent said that he compartmentalize the issue and he will keep going. Working part time at the San Francisco Chronicle.while applying for that specific part time job, he check the US citizen box further more complicating his case. The Summer of his senior year he applied for an internship for the Washington Post.

       Jose was just 24, when he got a full time job Working for the Washington Post. There is a catch, he can’t be there without a drivers license. He haven’t driven before but he want the job. So he went to the local library for a day and Learn that Oregon have one of the lenient requirements, he only needed two things first, his paycheck and an Oregon recency, he have a friend who is living in Oregon. Off he want to Oregon. He had eight years to ‘write his way into America’ he had eight years to prove to people that he belong in America, four months in his job he told an editor his secret, the editor said ‘we are in this together, he have social security card that his grandfather gave him), he covered the 2005 state dinner for the Japanese Prime Minster, he covered the the presidential campaign in 2008, but the biggest achievement of his journalistic career came in 2008 when he is a part of the Washington post team that won a Pulitzer Prize for their reporting of the Virginia Tech shooting in 2008 at the aged 27.

     At aged of 27, Jose was livIng The AMERICAN DREAM, he has a wonderful life while he was still undocumented, when his grandmother learned that he won the Pulitzer her question is WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN PEOPLE FINE OUT, he hang the phone ran to the comfort room, and cried. By 2009 he left the Washington Post, he move to New York to joined the Huffington Post, he always wanted to live in New York after watching Manhattan, (the Woody Allen film). At this time he started watching videos of young undocumented people called DREAMers, they called them selves ‘Undocumented, unafraid, unapologetic, Jose can’t believe, ‘How can say you’re that you’re unafraid, I am so scared’. He said to him self, His dream job came when he was asked to cover Mark Zacherburg for the NewYorker, one night while he is interviewing him, Mark turn the tables on Jose and said Dude, where are you from. It’s Just a very basic question but he couldn’t answer. He knew that after profiling Mark, he needed to come out.

    The spring of 2011, Jose contacted some of his former editors at the Washington Post but at the final minute, they killed the story. Fortunately he contacted the New York Times, the Times said Yes. (By this time his Oregon license has expire, so he got a drivers license in Washington State.) the article is called “OUTLAW”, it was release around the country on June 2011, the next few weeks for him had been after he very busy he did TV guestings at shows like Anderson Cooper 360, The Bill O’Reily Factor The Rachel Maddow show and many more. But he didn’t here from the Government but the Washington drivers license had been revoke, he founded a non-profit organization, when he did not hear from the government. So he contacted the editor of Time Magazine that he wanted to do an article on why he wasn’t deported. Time Magazine’s editors wanted to put his picture on the cover but the resented, he said we need undocumented young people, the editors of TIME were worried that they will not find people to put on cover he said ‘are you kidding me on FACEBOOK!!! They find the right people, he and 34 others appeared on the cover of TIME, cover story was ‘We Are.Americans: Not Just Legally.

          While doing journalistic work he is working on his 2nd documentary it’s called DOCUMENTED, (the first documentary was on AIDS, 2008 The Other City: AIDS on Washington DC) Documented.was released on early 2014 and was released on CNN on June 29, 2014. He has flowed around America with a Philippine Passport that the embassy in New York gave him after his drivers license was revoke. He was arrested near the The US Mexico border on July 15 2014, he went there to check on the Central American children who came to America, for refuge in an interview after being release Vargas, said the it wasn’t a stunt and he was doing this for the Central American children, he was given an immigration court date but it maybe years away. on 3rd August 2014 he celebrated his 21st year in America.

     Jose wasn’t qualified for Differed Action because he is four months older it’s 30 under, when it was sign in as an executive order he turned 31, but he is lobbying for ‘Earn Citizenship, he and his mother had reconciled on the documentary (documented) he and his mom saw each other for the first time via Skype, He paid under 200 thousand US dollars in Federal, State and local taxes since he was working at aged 18. He became a good citizen of his adopted country.

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Racism in America: Black American History 

Joaquin Tenedora-Forte
     Since the emancipation of slaves more than 150 years ago there have been all sorts of laws that blacks and whites are not equal, making blacks second class citizens. From Dread Scott to Mr. and Mrs Loving, this cases of an inherent discrimination happened only 60 years ago, in today’s article I want people to reflect on the Black American history.

    The emancipation of slaves means that the slaves are free. Free maybe but certainly unequal. People at time that think that’s it’s equal, so people assumes that this is the right thing to do. There are black schools, black public transport blacks and whites aren’t allowed to mingle with each other. I thought that conservatives are so much into limited spending but providing the people two schools are not limited spending, just saying.

       It took so many years until Black America revolted against their government, but the government said No: Plessy vs Ferguson 1896. The government said No, separate is equal, the problem becomes when it’s not because in schools the black kids are using hand me down books and other school supplies from the white schools.
     So by 1956, the perfect storm of civil rights wins: in this time Plessy v Ferguson was over turned. in a landmark decision Brown Vs Board of education which stated that separate is definitely not equal. But there are some opposition to the ruling specially in the southern U.S. The governor of Alabama Bull Connor stands at a school door and protest black kids going to a newly desegregated school. 

     By 1967 a young couple named Mildred and Richard Loving wanted to get married but in their home state Virginia, they can’t. They are interracial. So they sued the state, but lost they accepted a 25 year bar and went out of state. They sued again but this time it went to the Supreme Court. They won the right to interracial married not only for them but for countless other people.

     Today 48 years since the Loving decision in America I can say that it gotten a lot better in every aspect of the lives of black people but the fight is not over.

      Last year was a particularly bad year for black people because of the blatant discrimination of blacks by the police in America. In August a young man named Michael Brown was shot dead by police in Ferguson Missouri. At that same time a man by the name of Eric Garner in Staton Island in New York was chokehold to death by the police, in this cases no one was charge.There have been protest after the non indictment of police officers.but nothing changes.
    If you will ask me, Are black people equal, I will say no, no because, three reasons. The first reason is the Police targeting blacks.. The second reason is the wages when you look up a black family makes 10 times less than their white counterparts. The third reason is the perception of black people in America as “thugs”. This should change. We should judge people not by the color of their skin but the content of their characters.

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Filed under Racism, The United States

Gender explain 

Joaquin Tenedora-Forte 
     Since the Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner came out of the closet as transgendered, and changes her name to Caitlyn. People have slot of questions about the nature of gender and how came be. The fact is people don’t really understand gender and its nuances.

     Gender is said to be what you are born as. But since we know so much about the human body and the human brain. Scientists think otherwise not only that gender is not what you are born as. It is a social construct that people put on others. 

     Sex unlike gender is inborn. You can tell if the baby is a girl or a boy. For the vast majority of people their birth sex a line with their gender. But for a tiny fraction of the population it is a different story. There are some people who are born feeling as if there are in the wrong body, or they don’t feel as If they uncomfortable with their bodies.

     People always assumes that sexuality and gender are the same but it’s not. Gender is who you are, sexuality is who are you to. People can be transgender and be gay or straight. 

     Gender is a social construct, it’s fluid. Gender is who you are but its not all of you. Gender may not be important as we think it is. What people need to do is to respect. Respect other people. 

      In the end we are all human beings. We need to love and to respect and to empathize with other people. We need to see people as people. Perhaps it will be better that way.

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Iraq war created more enemies 

By Joaquin Tenedora-Forte 
     As we all know America has been in combat in Iraq for almost 12 years, killed millions and cost billions Which they have created ISIS. Yes, When you killed people you obviously creates people that are otherwise neutral on America to become jihadist. 

   The Iraq War first contention was that then president Saddam Hossain was responsible in attacks on 9/11. Wasn’t the case, why will Saddam do a crime he would be blame, that was not true. The second idea was Saddam owned nuclear weapons they will used it against America, Not true ether. Third Argument was that they have was that Saddam is a bad dictator, this is partly true. It’s non of America’s business to go to Iraq and take over. 

    America just created more problems, when the “leave” in 2009 they left created more problems, Iraq is depressing, the buildings are destroyed, and lives are lost. The only way that the people in Iraq could deal with the pain is to fight and they did. ISIS is a group gaining traction in the Iraq and Syria in early 2013, that is more brutal in Alquida. America panic, they decided to bring back the troops, which I think it patheti

   America is a greedy county who only think of there selves. Because Iraq has oil, they want that oil even if they do things that are bad, they will do things. They always scream about Jesus, while Jesus is about peace and pacifism. they are doing the opposite.

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Filed under Iraq, Op-ed, U.S. Foreign policy