05
Apr 20

The Internet is Undefeated

Connection Successful

Remember when “community” referred to the people in your neighborhood and other groups of people that you were cool with and would physically see in person? Remember those days when you played outside every day until the sun went down as kids and nothing was more entertaining? Do you remember the first time you used a computer? In this day and age, it might seem silly to think back to that time period, with how advanced we’ve become with technology as a whole. Now instead of just having a “community” that we know about physically, with the development of the internet, we now have the concept of virtual communities as well. A lot of people from young kids to elder individuals use the internet/technology on a day to day basis. We use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. in which we have our own virtual communities. There are sites that used to be used often as well like Myspace and AIM messenger.

There can be advantages and disadvantages to this type of community environment. The textbook refers to studies that were done on it and they saw that “establishing a sense of community online can be particularly advantageous for particular subgroups of people who may experience specific barriers to participation in communities of interest offline” (Gruman, Schneider, Coutts, 2016). If we’re referring to Facebook as a community, there are so many different sub-communities on that site. You can be a part of groups that you like, relate to, and with people you know from different areas of your life. It gives you a platform to keep in touch with different people you know, as well as make new friends who have similar interests as you.  For example, when I was using Facebook years ago, I was a part of several groups/communities. I was part of groups that posted music covers because I would do that and it was a place for me to share my music with other singers as well as listen to other people’s covers. There were groups created for the school clubs that I was a part of so that we could keep in touch about meet-up times and just a place for everyone to communicate with each other. There were also groups of random people that you could join to connect with them on similar interests like movies or music. With this, you have the ability to talk to people across the internet from the comfort of your home.

This quarantine is a perfect example of a time where these kinds of sites are being used often for communication purposes. We’re in a time where we’re being asked to stay at home for safety reasons due to what’s currently going on in the world. We’re supposed to social distance and stay away from pretty much everyone we know unless you live in the same house, and even then, you still have to take precaution. We can’t go to schools, we can’t go to work, we can’t hang out with our friends or see our families. We can’t go to events or really do anything except go get groceries, unless you’re an essential worker and have to work. I know a lot of people who connect with their long distant family members through Facebook. My parents keep in touch with some people/family they know in other states and in other countries. In a time like this where we can’t all go out and see people, we can still communicate with them online. Students have been able to use the internet and sites like Zoom to communicate with their classes right now since they can’t physically go to their schools or classes right now. Individuals have been doing the same for work and have been holding work meetings online together so that they can be productive and get stuff done even though they can’t work around each other in person. In another perspective, if you’re someone that isn’t comfortable with speaking face-to-face with other people, then you may make friends online and be internet friends. There’s also access to these online communities at any time of day or night. People use virtual communities for resource purposes as well (Gruman, Schneider, Coutts, 2016).

A few studies showed that support from online groups was helpful as supportive groups/communities in regards to giving things like information and also “social and emotional support for women (and some men) suffering from various types of eating disorders” (Gruman, Schneider, Coutts, 2016). There have been some individuals that have brought up that sometimes the emotional connections that can be made through virtual communities might not always be given genuinely (Gruman, Schneider, Coutts, 2016). There was a study that thought of online communities as more of a “networked individualism” as opposed to a form of community (Gruman, Schneider, Coutts, 2016). Overall, I think it’s great that we have the ability to communicate with people through the internet, for whatever reason it may be. Due to this concept, I’ve been able to keep in touch with people as well as feel like I’m a part of something, especially because I’m shy and anxious often and being face-to-face with groups of people is hard to do sometimes. Do you prefer face-to-face communities, or virtual ones? Do you think virtual communities are a good thing or do you think it’s taking people away from “real connections” in person?

 

Works Cited:

Gruman, J. A., Schneider, F. W., & Coutts, L. M. (Eds.). (2016). Applied social psychology : Understanding and addressing social and practical problems. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com


03
Apr 20

Campus Community

Schools, namely universities are a terrific way to build engagement in communities and meet new people. There is a rise in more schools recently offering online platforms for learning, but I think in general, many people, even young people still yearn for the “college experience.” This is a transition point in many people’s lives.

They essentially leave one or two communities (neighborhood / family and high school) and enter into another one. However, another interesting thing has been happening over time at many universities across the nation – diversity. I don’t just mean racially, but also age-wise, religion-wise, various vocations, lifestyles, perspectives, income levels, etc. People from all walks of life come to gather to the same area for the same purpose of gaining an education.

One of the unique things about having a college campus setting as a community is that like every society, they are made up of other sub-communities. It’s a great way of coming into contact with and meeting people who often end up becoming life-long friends; typically after bonding over a common interest. People also often meet others they maybe never would have expected, or maybe the would. For example, I met my husband through a friend of mine, whom I met while going to school. I think this may be a fairly common example, but it just goes to show the value of meeting people in a real-life setting. It’s also easier typically to get to know people this way rather than online. You feel and hope that you’re getting to know the real ‘them’. Online personas can be easily faked and/or manipulated so it can be tougher to decipher the real from the fake.

 


02
Apr 20

“Won’t you be my neighbor?”

Where does your preference for living lie? Are you an urban, suburb or rural dweller? Do you currently live in an urban area but long for a rural living environment? I for one enjoy the balance of suburban living, where I am outside city bounds but close enough to stores and necessary accessibilities (post office, library, grocery store, gas stations, etc.). I enjoy the sense of community suburban living offers, such as town festivals, community events (cookie walk, yard sales, parades), multiple sports fields, parks, trails and closeness of neighborly bonds. A few perks I found when researching urban, suburb and rural living include: urban areas thrive on providing many essential operations to the growing population of residences. Cities tend to offer more job opportunities, a large mix of people and culture, more educational opportunities with a variety of courses, more overall facilities and health care options. Suburb characteristics include larger living areas, often with lower living costs, smaller population basis, influx of scenery/nature, lower crime rates than cities, and are popular for growing families. Rural areas provide cleaner air, less crime out of the three living areas, low key living, tends to have the cheapest living costs of the three choices, and larger exposure to nature.
Out of all the three choices urban living tends to associate with a higher concern for stimulus overload. Stimulus overload is a concept that outlines a sense of overwhelming factors that we cannot simultaneously respond to everything in the surroundings of our environment, so a need for priority and attention selection becomes a needed focus (Gruman, 415). Since urban living provides many conveniences, inhabitant range from all walks of life. Associated research identifies problems and stresses associates to city life, with a trending focus on poor and working-class neighborhoods (Gruman, 414) . I image if you took a moment to recall individual experiences associated with the urban living and the surrounding environment a few commonalities many include crowded streets, traffic, liter, noise, ma and pa shops, difficulties with parking, homeless or beggars, a variety of architecture, etc. In a largely crowded area, an individual sense of identity can become compromised. Psychologist Zimbardo suggested that the overwhelming amount of stimulation and increased number of people in the same living area compromises sense of relative anonymity, which can result in the notion of deindividuated and antisocial tendency (Gruman, 415).
According to a Pew Research census data analysis, since 2000, United States urban and suburban populations have grown in similarly to the prior decade. The rural population has decreased from its population in the 1990’s. The Baby Boomer generation populate a higher share of adults age 65 or older in rural areas. Suburban counties have also seen an increase in older adults since 2000. In relation to urban, suburbs and rural areas about 45 million American live in rural counties, 175 million live in suburbs and small metros and the largest population of about 98 million are in urban counites. Urban areas gained 1.5 million new migrants since 2000. Urban counties had 9.8 million more births than deaths which flooded the population (Pew Research Center, 2018).

The Pew Research census analysis indicates urban areas to be the largest populated areas. Since there is a higher concern for an overload stimulus, deindividuated and antisocial behavior when living in a crowded area, how does this affect community? In addition to these concerns, larger cities tend to have higher poverty and single-led-parent family homes, decline in neighborhood surrounds via abandoned buildings, vandalism, high demand for construction related needs and town renovations and environmental stressors. I believe this is when we look at all possible community identifiers, we may be less familiar with. McMillan and Chavis studied the concept of sense of community, indicating the four elements which include membership, influence, integration and fulfillment of needs and shared emotional connect (Gruman, 414). Though these four elements may be difficult to achieve when living in a big city, the concept of social learning theory can provide the notion for social support system in partnership with one another to develop effects to reduce negative associated impacts. One way to establish this is through a strong social network among adults that can help promote healthy outcomes, preventing negative outcomes and improve neighboring surroundings (Gruman, 417). I do believe it would be difficult to know a majority of people on a personal level. However, establishing kindness and positive influence among people you come in contact with can help build a strong community and hopefully help reduce urban related concerns.

References
Applied Social Psychology : Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems. Jamie A. Gruman, Frank W. Schneider, and Larry M. Coutts . SAGE Publications . 2016
Pew Research Center. Social and Demographic Trends. May 22, 2018. https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2018/05/22/demographic-and-economic-trends-in-urban-suburban-and-rural-communities/


02
Apr 20

Engaging in Online Communities Requires Discipline and Sense of Self

Some of the best moments in my life  are times when I have been completely disconnected or disengaged from technology, or where I have had incredible work-life balance where I am connected with technology from 7 AM to 6 PM during the weekdays and completely offline in the evenings and weekends. For example, one of the times I was completely disconnected from technology is when I was in a house in Mexico with family and friends, spending my days on the beach, in the pool, hiking outside, eating meals together, playing games, and losing complete track of time. A time I an think of where I have had work-life balance is when I was working on a technology enablement team for a call center and working incredibly hard from 7 AM to 6 PM, but then I was spending my evenings working out or taking walks in the neighborhood and cooking dinner and spending evening hours with friends and family. During the weekends I was outside hiking, reading books in the backyard, traveling with friends, and gardening. For me, the common thread in my happiness is deep human connections, being outdoors, and living a healthy and balanced lifestyle. The times where my work has taken over my life, and has required me to travel significantly, spend more hours of the day in the office, and has eaten into my weekends, have been times where I have leaned on social media and online forums for human connections. As an example, this past year I have had to travel internationally for about 3 weeks out of the month, and as a result it has been very hard for me to plan any in-person get togethers with friends and family, and I have leaned on staying connected and having this sense of community online. I’ve also noticed that there is an inverse relationship between my mental well-being and the time I spend in online communities as opposed to in-person communities. 

Kraut and colleagues conducted a study in 1998 on 169 Internet users over a 2 year period, and found that the increase in the use of Internet for communication was associated with declines in communication among family members and the size of their social subgroups. Additionally, the study found “increases in loneliness and depression associated with internet usage,” as it resulted in a “disengagement from real life” (Gruman, Schneider, & Coutts, 2017). More recently, Reich examined adolescent’s responses regarding membership, and found that those who were members of online social networking sites had larger friend networks, but these networks consisted of individuals who they either didn’t know and had limited interactions with. The exposure to these online communities also resulted in “more drama, misunderstandings, and aggravation of problems among friends.” As I think about my personal experience with social media, it is a forum that I have been a part of for the past 15 years. When I first joined, I was very cautious about how I have engaged in these forums, making sure that I am not just increasing my “friend” count for the sake of winning a popularity contest, but rather that I keep these forums for staying connected to people that I know. However, over the years, my personal rules about who I would “add” as a friend loosened, and I would add friends of friends who I had met a few times, colleagues who I met at conferences, or distant relatives who I had previously only spoken to a few times a year. As my work-life picked up and it required me to travel more, I found that I leaned on these online communities more in order to feel that I was still connected. However, this resulted in endless scrolling through my social media feed, and often resulted in my blood pressure increasing as I read their political posts that I disagreed with, saw photos that made me cringe, or read comments that I disagreed with. I also realized that I was commenting on random photos that were posted, leaving comments on posts I disagreed with, and ultimately my mental wellness was decreasing. While Sum, Mathews, Pourghasem, and Hughes reported positive benefits for individuals over 55 years old who were part of online communities, I think the key behind their finding was that this was helping people who “may face geographic or mobility barriers to participating in offline communities” (Gruman, Schneider, & Coutts, 2017). These individuals have no other choice but to engage in online forums. They don’t have the option to close their laptops, limit their work hours, and engage in face-to-face interactions. They are truly limited as a result of their geographic location or mobility limitations. 

On the other hand, I think that online communities are helpful if they are pointed and used for a connection regarding a specific topic and used as an information hub. As an example, if you love gardening, and want to solve a problem such as why  specific plant is not growing in your neighborhood, or if you are interested in planting some new plants but unsure what to plant, being a part of an online forum would enable you to learn from others and see where they are located, what they have planted, how long it took them, what their key findings were, and what they would have done differently. This is not something that you could necessarily find in a journal, as there is the human element of this that would allow you to ask questions, see pictures, respond to comments, and engage on an on-going basis if you find the community to be helpful. It is less toxic as well, as you are there for a specific purpose, there’s no drama associated with the plants you are looking for information on, and if for some reason there is you can choose to opt out. You aren’t addicted to the forum. As Iriberri & Leroy found in their study of online community building, there is a lifecycle to building healthy online communities, and this is very similar to that of building offline communities. It begins with having a vision of what you are hoping to achieve out of the community, knowing the roles of the forum & the rules by which you can engage in discussions and debates on the forum and what participation looks like. It then requires time for the relationships to mature and for the members of the community to build trust & relationships with one another. It requires engaging with intent and actively understanding if it is fulfilling the purpose that you were hoping to find in the forum. (Iriberri, Alicia & Leroy, Gondy, 2009). This is something that requires discipline and a sense of self in order to understand why you have joined the community and what purpose you are looking for it to serve.

I think that there is a fine balance between engaging in online forums versus face-to-face interactions, and it requires a lot of discipline in order to properly engage in these forums. I think it is extremely important to be mindful of your well-being, how you are feeling, what activities you are engaging in, how much time you are spending on these activities, and what you are gaining from the connections you are making. If you have a good sense of this, then when you engage in online forums it will allow you to have a greater understanding of the impact it is having on you, and will allow you to disconnect if it becomes a toxic situation. Online forums provide an opportunity for individuals to hide behind words, perhaps be more bold or more aggressive than they otherwise would be, but it also enables those who are timid to ask questions they otherwise would not ask in person for whatever reason. There are definitely pros and cons to engage in online forums, however, there is no perfect equation and it requires a solid sense of self to know when it is too much, and when it is preventing you from living a healthy and well-balanced life. 

 

References:

Gruman, J. A., Schneider, F. W., & Coutts, L. M. (Eds.) (2017). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications

Iriberri, Alicia & Leroy, Gondy. (2009). A Life-Cycle Perspective on Online Community Success. ACM Comput. Surv.. 41. 10.1145/1459352.1459356.


02
Apr 20

Distribution Among the Community

With the COVID-19 pandemic currently underway, hospitals and government officials everywhere are attempting to properly distribute medical supplies. Oftentimes, this can lead some to question who “deserves” which supplies, occasionally putting a moral swing on the issue. Recently, claims were made to the public that ventilators (an essential device for hospitals dealing with the respiratory issues of the virus) were being hoarded by New York hospitals. This claim was made by President Trump during a recent press report, as he again shows the public his disdain for the government officials of New York, like Governor Cuomo. After this claim was made, the Governor responded by explaining how hospitals plan ahead for emergencies, and how those ventilators are allotted as “extra” because they continue to receive new cases every day. Ultimately, we can see both capital and legislation being placed ahead of sound medical recommendations in the handling of this pandemic.

When facing social issues that require the community to act cooperatively as a whole, the United States is forced to work around privatized systems (capital) in addition to the government (legislation). With the Defense Production Act being implemented recently for ventilator production, we are seeing how new methods of distributing goods will work during these difficult times. The distribution of essential goods among the community under this act would, ideally, minimize the effects of capital on this pandemic not being handled more professionally. However, we will still likely see the President attempting to withhold funds from New York, since they will not bow to him politically. Troubling or not, we can see a clear example of the type of obstructive behaviors government officials can do to slow legislation in their favor (at the detriment of the community).

With the United States facing large and mobile populations of individuals to protect from illness, the country is beginning to feel the effects of its “capital-first” motivations during the construction of its communities. As stated in our lesson, this results in large-scale structures strewn across the landscape that is not conducive to a sense of community. Additionally, bolstering public services and emergency-related needs is not always considered until they are actually needed, which is often too late. Overall, we are seeing why we should be putting greater effort towards building communities for wellbeing instead of capital. The addition of both scale (large) and speed (mobile) as time progresses results in new communities with growing needs, presumably unable to be met by our current capitalist-driven social structures.

Online communities can provide sources of both support and harm, and are a largely untapped source of social influence. Negative experiences on the internet, including viewing the President giving incorrect press statements, can influence the spread of misinformation. During an important time like this crisis, the influence of online communities is more important than ever. The disorderly situation regarding social services is mirrored by the internet, leaving both positive and negative experiences open to be experienced by users. During these times we will likely see how well individuals form purely-online communities (due to social distancing recommendations) as well as receive reliable information on the virus.

 

References

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/04/01/fact-check-does-new-york-have-stockpile-unneeded-ventilators/5097170002/’


02
Apr 20

Essential vs. Non Essential

There is a greater need for community now more than ever. Right now there is a threat that society is facing that has greatly affected a major primal need humans have- socialization. With Covid-19 impacting every single person the sense of community people have has changed dramatically. There are two types of communities during this pandemic; essential workers and non essential workers. With different states, cities, counties, etc being in ranging stages of shelter in place, stay at home ordinances and other proactive preventions set into place to stop the spread of the virus, human interaction has been drastically decreasing. The communities that have been set into place are very different. You have the non essential workers who are being asked to stay home and away from the public, as their professions are not as useful in helping the care, prevention and maintenance of the virus during the crisis. On the other side you have the essential workers- the doctors, nurses, grocery store clerks, truck drivers, janitors, garbage men and other sanitation workers, etc. 

These two communities are very different in their roles in our society today, but they are both very important. The essential workers support the non essential workers by continuing to show up to their place of employment and perform duties required for normal living; ie, grocery shopping, medical necessities, and more. The essential workers are able to support others by providing a familiar “norm” in a time of uncertainty while also providing the other community with resources they need to continue to thrive in this societal crisis. 

The non essential workers support the essential workers by showing up to go grocery shopping, and putting their trash out on the road at the end of each week. The non essential workers also show support to the essential workers by staying home and protecting them from a potential outbreak of the virus. This may sound contradicting, but support comes in many forms and looks various ways. By the non essential workers staying home, it allows the essential workers to do their important duties with minimal risk as there are fewer interactions between individuals. 

One preventative factor that is being enforced in society right now is social distancing. As people who need physical touch, physical embrace, and positive human interaction this is an intensely difficult task to master. It is in our primal instinct to want to be close to one another and share an physically intimate moment, whether it be a handshake or a hug. The two separate communities that have formed continue to support each other in a non physical way that is unique yet still positive. The communities have come together to show cohesiveness in a time of forced separation by supporting others and their current needs in each community to maintain a healthy balanced new normal. 

 

Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19. (2020, March 30). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html


01
Apr 20

A Comparison between Traditional and Online Learning after my Response to Lesson 11 Discussion

I have been a student at Penn State for three years, though the past two of them have been spent at World Campus. During this time, I have found many benefits to my courses and schoolwork being entirely online, such as having a more flexible schedule and being able to learn from home. However, the possible costs to these benefits haven’t really been noticeable until now, with the most apparent being this feeling of isolation. Classrooms with other students used to be where most of my social interactions really came from, and this setting was also an opportunity to discuss thoughts and understanding with peers. However, the bright screen and dull sound of typing left a sense of distance between me and the people I meant to interact with. I expressed this feeling in this week’s discussion, but I decided to also do further research to see if this effect exists in others, as well as any other possible negative effects to online learning.

The first bit of information I found was from an article written by Elizabeth Erichsen and Doris Bollinger. In the abstract, Erichsen and Bollinger discuss a study they conducted where they had international students take surveys, with some of them apparently then taking part in group sessions or interviews later. From this study, Erichsen and Bollinger mention how these students “both in traditional and online programs, experience/perceive high levels of isolation, academically and socially. However, online international students may feel even more isolated than their traditional counterparts.” Though any ways to correct this sense of social and academic isolation are not mentioned, the results from this article indicate the presence of a problem in online learning when it is compared to traditional learning.

My next source of information is an article from David Sapp and James Simon. Though there didn’t seem to be any mention of social isolation, they do compare the grades of students that were either being educated online or traditionally in writing courses. It is here that I saw a concept called the “’thrive or dive’ phenomenon”, explained by Sapp and Simon to be “the disproportionally high percentage of students who fail or do not complete online courses compared to conventional, face-to-face courses.” I believe this piece of data to be especially interesting because it once again compares online learning to traditional learning to find some difference between the two.

For the longest time, I simply tried to see only the positive aspects I had with online learning, as it allowed me to do my schoolwork from home as well as maintain a part time job in my county. However, the topic for this week first helped me notice and acknowledge this feeling of isolation I’ve had while working online, as well see through research any possible negative effects of online learning when compared with learning traditionally. My method of learning cannot change anytime soon, but the awareness of the effects discussed might help me try to dissipate, or even overcome, these obstacles.

 

References:

Erichsen, E.A., Bolliger, D.U. Towards understanding international graduate student isolation in traditional and online environments. Education Tech Research Dev 59, 309–326 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-010-9161-6

Sapp, D. A., & Simon, J. (2005, October 6). Comparing grades in online and face-to-face writing courses: Interpersonal accountability and institutional commitment. Retrieved April 1, 2020, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S8755461505000629

 


01
Apr 20

Communities Coming Together

With everything going on in the world today it has been very important to come together.  With the social distancing we are not able to come together physically but we can use technology and still support one another. I know many people who have been doing work through home, attending church services remotely, having conferences, just face-timing or skyping with family to get an update on how they are doing or to just have some company.

It has been a very interesting time for all of the electronic advancements in the technological world, however even in times when things aren’t this way technology still has a very good way of helping communities come together. From online video games, Facebook groups, business meetings through conference calls, and online dating the world of technology has really allowed people to come together like never before. I know personally a lot of people who use the online dating as a way to find matches within their area. Online dating might not always be successful but it is a form of an online community where people all come together for a common interest.

The same is true for online Facebook groups. I am apart of so many different groups such as couponing groups, Victoria Secret coupon/sales, mom groups, child conception support groups, and even food groups where people share ideas and recipes with one another. I like that these groups are very specific because it allows for people to come together who have a common interest and to talk amongest people who share that common interest. These groups allow you to meet people you might not of ever met otherwise because they might live a far distance, such as half way around the world, or they might just be people who are socially distance and don’t prefer to come together with people in large groups. Either way these types of places can help you make friends and share thoughts and ideas with people who you might not otherwise have ever found or come in contact with.

These online platforms as I mentioned before are great ways to bring the community together especially in a time of need, such as now without having to be face-to-face. Below I just added a snapshot of some of the groups I was discussing above as to where I go to find these online chat groups and people to talk to. If you use Facebook and you don’t use the groups I suggest looking into them. You can find a group for literally just about anything you might be interested in and it could be a really great way to connect with people who have the same interests as you.


31
Mar 20

Using Music During Times of Crisis to Build Community

Prior to writing this blog entry, I wanted to do my best to figure out what other research had been completed around crisis and building a sense of community either before, during or after the aforementioned crisis. Fortunately, I was able to find a recent article published by Rose Stone about the Ebola pandemic in Western Africa that took place primarily during 2014 thru 2016 (specifically in Liberia). In Western Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO) documented 800 health-care workers that contracted Ebola – more than 500 of them perished. This extremely high death rate is what separates Ebola from the common flu, SARS, and other respiratory illnesses. 

What I had found with the research that Stone completed as an ethnomusicologist allowed me to compare and contrast the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic as it has swept across the globe. Before March 17th or so, there were few cases in the United States, however, various cities and countries across the globe were on lockdown. “Lyrics of warning songs included key points of information developed by international public-health groups” (Stone, 2017) could not hold more true today. The government of Vietnam released an animated video on COVID-19 and various preventative steps to take in order to not contract the virus. As of writing, it has nearly 28 Million views on YouTube alone. Another parallel that I noticed recently was people singing various pieces of John Lenon’s Imagine to form a unified video. These viral videos bring people of all communities together to better “realize that Ebola [COVID] was not a government plot, and not a sign of witchcraft, but a real disease, which could easily wipe out entire areas of the country” (Stone, 2017) by having a celebrity or prominent member of the community discussing the virus.

A pastor at a church in Liberia was unable to hand the communion wafer to attendees but rather had to use a tweezer to ensure he would not potentially contaminate the wafer with his own hand. The pastor even stated, “sound could transcend the space between separated people and draw congregations close” (Stone, 2017). We’re seeing this today in Italy and other countries where people in quarantine/lockdown are playing instruments on patios with neighbors singing the words to popular songs. As Stone states, songs weren’t just for citizens to bond with one another, but even “normal and common way [for nurses/doctors] to prepare for fighting the Ebola battle daily.”

There is a certain sense of community knowing that everyone is going thru the same thing as each other (or should be practicing physical distancing). The religious songs that were repurposed in Western Africa, jingles created by celebrities, and other music-making played an integral part in allowing citizens to express community solidarity. As we move forward with COVID-19, it is important to think about what we can do to create jingles or have shared musical experiences to still have a sense of community – whether local or global with everyone.

Meni nga golong, e pilang wule mai, e kula lii soli su.
What I know about song, it came from sorrow.

A nee i wolo, i meni kelee ke,
Even if you cry, you do everything,

Fe no, i pele ke.
You must perform.

Nalong aa ke pele-kei.
The man is performing.

Nii suu aa laygi.
The inside of his heart has cooled.

Ilii a soli, ifa see tong ngono.
If your heart hurts, you can’t sit quietly again.

Kele, bifoo ba see tong, fe no i wule too.
But before you sit quietly, you must sing.

Ge-weli-wula

References – 

MIN OFFICIAL. (2020, February 23). Ghen Cô Vy| NIOEH x K.HƯNG x MIN x ERIK | WASHING HAND SONG | CORONA SONG. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtulL3oArQw

Ries, J. (2020, March 18). Here’s How COVID-19 Compares to Past Outbreaks. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health-news/how-deadly-is-the-coronavirus-compared-to-past-outbreaks#20022004-severe-acute-respiratory-syndrome-(SARS)

Stone, R. (2017). “Ebola in Town”: Creating Musical Connections in Liberian Communities during the 2014 Crisis in West Africa. 63(3), 78–97.


27
Mar 20

Divided color

The moment people discover the distinction that someone is usually different from me is usually when they perceive the division into ‘we’ and ‘them’ and this creates stereotypes about ‘them’. Even though they are all different and varied, if they find an easy sign between others that suggest they are all the same (such as skin color, religion, national origin, and economic status) they don’t care about the individual differences and just think of the unit as ‘them’.

The gaze of ‘them’ that does not belong to ‘us’ is often hostile and unfairly biased. This is because the fact that the onlooker or onlooking group belongs to ‘we’ makes them feel safer and gives them a sense of belonging and superiority.

Nowadays, as I receive news about racism caused by coronavirus, I ponder what to do and what to do to keep from being prejudice. It is time to check and evaluate for yourself whether the majority of thoughts are right and whether there are any prejudices unconsciously accepted without your knowledge.

In order to be an uncritical accepter of a given thought without our thoughts, I continue to ask and check whether my thoughts are right or wrong. The basics of human rights start with equality. As human beings, we must not forget that the dignity of human beings applies equally to everyone. It is a necessary attitude to recognize that the rights of others are as important as my rights and are equally precious.

‘A class divided Prejudice primarily viewed people’s lives as limiting their lives, narrowing their horizons and shrinking the world. Discrimination also distorts the lives of others, sometimes millions’.

Peters, W. (1987). A class divided: then and now. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.


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