How The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air changed black culture in the 90’s

 

The 1990’s were a decade of monumental events shaping African American culture in North America to be as it is today. Nelson Mandela was released from prison after 27 years, showing resilience and power as a leader. Rodney King, an African-American taxi driver, was severely beaten by Los Angeles police officers, who were later found not guilty. The displeasure of the citizens of L.A was clearly seen and heard, as they caused the biggest racial prompted riot in the 20th century, causing the city of Los Angeles over $1 billion in damage with 54 people dead, 2000 injured and 8000 arrested. [1] Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G, some of the greatest names in rap history, were both murdered. Six African-American individuals became mayors in different states, breaking the cycle of Caucasian mayors. Mae Carol Jemison was the first ever African-American female to travel in space. Tiger Woods won the golf master’s tournament and became the first ever African-American to win. [2]

These are just a few of many, many more incredible accomplishments which the African-American community achieved within 10 years. Those 10 years were a great push for more negative and positive change to come in the 2000’s. Within the decade, a new television show, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, was aired 1990 – 1996. Starring rapper turned actor/comedian Will Smith, this cult classic sitcom documented the life of young Will moving from Philadelphia to Bel Air to live with his aunt, uncle, and cousins. Will’s trials and tribulations were shown on the show weekly, of him tackling high school, adapting to a ritzy neighborhood, and being black. The Fresh Prince was without a doubt one of the most eye-opening, entertaining, and informative shows for people of all races to have a revelation of what black culture truly is.

While being irresistibly comical and relatable, the Fresh Prince of Bel Air taught many lessons. During the nineties, all-black casts on sitcoms became the new and trendy thing for TV networks to do. In the eighties, sitcoms such as Diff’rent Strokes, The Jeffersons and most notably The Cosby Show. Being close to bankrupt from his rap career in the 80’s, Will Smith signed a contract with NBC to start filming the show, based loosely on Will’s life and the producer’s.

The main characters on the show were the Banks family; aunt Vivian and uncle Phil, cousins Hillary, Ashley and Carlton, their butler Jeffrey, and of course Will. The Banks are your stereotypical rich family – they live in a lavish mansion, belong to country clubs, drive expensive cars, wear nice clothes, go to private schools and obtain fabulous careers. The only thing which divides them from the rest of their neighborhood is that they’re black. The show pokes fun of that continuously through the seasons and shows the struggles which they go through.

In Season 1, Episode 6 named “Mistaken Identity”, Will and Carlton drive down their father’s law partner’s fancy Mercedes-Benz to palm springs for him. On the way down, the two get stopped by a police officer. Being street-smart, Will catches on and follows the orders, yet a very naive Carlton who thinks they’re being stopped for speeding persists on communicating to the officers about the truth and how they aren’t criminals. After being held under arrest for a string of car thefts, their parents pick them up and all is well.

The turning point of this episode is when Will and Carlton have a conversation at home about their evening. For the first time, Carlton had experienced racial discrimination and was truly in denial. Being brought up in a safe, sheltered environment, he was protected and stayed out of trouble. Will, on the other hand, had spent most of his life in West Philadelphia slums and was no stranger to being a minority due to his skin tone.

After many statements made by Carlton to defend the police officers, Will tells him; “You just don’t get it, do you? No map is going to save you and neither is your glee club, or your fancy Bel-Air address or who your daddy is. Because when you’re driving in a nice car in a strange neighborhood, none of that matters. They only see one thing.” Will then points to his cousin’s face, implying that the color of his skin will always be seen before anything else about him. Carlton later asks his father if he would’ve stopped a car “driving two miles an hour”, and Phil replies “I asked myself that question the first time I was stopped.”, leaving Carlton in a state of confusion as to why he and Will were really stopped. [3]

This episode holds a very strong and important message about privilege, naivete, and prejudism which still remains extremely relevant in 2017. White police officers, especially in North America, have been well known to have a bias towards their own race. In 2015, 1134 African-American people were unnecessarily murdered by police officers in America. [4] Research shows that 69% of those people were unarmed, non-violent and only suspected of committing a crime, meaning that more than half of them were virtually innocent. And despite essentially committing manslaughter, 99% of the officers in the country have been convicted of any crime. [5]

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reminded us in this episode that people of color will always have a disadvantage due to years of racial based ignorance and stereotypes. It is embedded in our culture that black people are a threat. They have been accused of being thieves, thugs, criminals and so much worse due to astigmatism created by white people. White police officers think it’s acceptable to kill and abuse an innocent bystander because of the color of their skin threatens them. Police brutality is never okay no matter the reasoning, but having it happen due to someone’s race should be absolutely unallowed. When this episode aired in 1990, shortly before the Rodney King incident was publicised, it certainly gave NBC’s viewers of all ages, genders, and races a wake-up call about the racial injustice that Americans have been plagued with during all of history.

In effort to break down stereotypes put on African-American people and turn the tables on racial success, the Fresh Prince created many characters, plots, and storylines to show people of all races that your ethnicity does not change who you are, and cannot infringe into how you live your life.

The Fresh Prince certainly did question what being “black” really meant. Throughout the seasons, Will is always teasing Carlton for not being “black enough” due to him not living a stereotypical life of a person of color in the 90’s. In Season 1, Episode 23 “72 Hours, Will challenges Carlton to a bet that he wouldn’t last a weekend in Compton, Los Angeles’ most infamous neighborhood. Carlton takes on the bet, and soon enough fits in perfectly with Will’s friend group. After hearing what dangerous things naive Carlton was preparing to do, Will became concerned and brought him back home.

Yet again, the two cousins find themselves in a disagreement. Carlton tells Will “..you always act like you carry around some measure of blackness that I don’t live up to.” An attacked Will replies with “Wait a minute, you never judged me? You do everything except carry around a big ‘ol gavel. You act like I’m an idiot just because I talk different.” [6]

In another episode from Season 4, Episode 8 “Blood Is Thicker Than Mud, Will and Carlton try out for an all-black fraternity at their university. Will is loved by everyone and accepted, yet the guys dislike Carlton because of his background. During an argument, Carlton gives an unforgettable speech. “Being black isn’t what I’m trying to be. It’s what I am. I’m running the same race and jumping the same hurdles you are, so why are you tripping me up? You said we need to stick together, but you don’t even know what that means. If you ask me, you’re the real sellout.” [7]

Will and Carlton are polar opposites. One being privileged, well dressed, poised and groomed, while the other is rough, wild, eccentric and quite ghetto. Will represents what most people think an African-American person would be like. He says things like “yo” and listens to rap music. He disobeys his parents and is free-spirited. Carlton, despite being as black as Will, acts differently. More white. He wears fancy clothes, studies hard at school, has an extensive vocabulary and always obeys the rules.

Having two main characters on one of the biggest television shows be so same but different at the same time truly opened up viewer’s eyes as to what stereotypes we subconsciously believe in. Black people can be intelligent, successful and ordinary. They can live in nice parts of town, go to good schools and be presentable. Carlton is not any less “black” than Will because he belongs to his school’s glee club. Will is not a thug or an invalid because he grew up in a slum, or wears his hat backward.

As human beings, we tend to assume things about people based on their looks and how they act. Our privileges and disadvantages should not divide us as people, especially as to how we treat and view others. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air consistently made it clear that your race does not define who you are. It is your skin color, and your heritage. It is not a synonym to describe your personality or how you act. As a society, we need to stop using race to divide each other, especially to those in the same race as us. As Uncle Phil says at the end of Season 4 Episode 8, “When are we gonna stop doing this to each other?” [8]

The nineties were a time of change and evolution. The events which took place during the decade shaped how the future 2000’s would be like for African-Americans in the U.S.A. The way which African-American people have been treated has changed drastically throughout the years. There has been positive change such as when Barack Obama was elected as the first African-American president in the U.S, and there has been negative change such as continuous police brutality against black people and the recent comeback of the Klu-Klux-Klan.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air sent a strong message to Americans and viewers worldwide of being yourself, accepting your heritage and that anyone can live in a huge mansion and become a judge if they work hard enough, even if they’re a minority.

______________________________________

[1] http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/18/us/los-angeles-riots-fast-facts/index.html

[2] https://www.thoughtco.com/african-american-history-timeline-1990-1999-45447

[3] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0583008/trivia?tab=qt&ref_=tt_trv_qu

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/dec/31/the-counted-police-killings-2015-young-black-men

[5] https://mappingpoliceviolence.org/

[6]  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0582934/trivia?tab=qt&ref_=tt_trv_qu

[7] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0582945/trivia?tab=qt&ref_=tt_trv_qu

[8] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0582945/trivia?tab=qt&ref_=tt_trv_qu

Unsolicited Opinions – My Blog

This year I’ve taken it upon myself to start putting all of my opinions, ideas, and thoughts onto a single platform to share with others.

I love to write things that make a statement, and that prove a point. Journalism has always been a strong interest of mine, and I have always admired writers and journalists who are brave and aren’t afraid to say what’s on their mind. An incredible inspiration of mine is Hunter S. Thompson, who wrote iconic masterpieces such as “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and founded Gonzo journalism. Thompson created a new era of journalism that was so fearless and detailed that made the reader feel as though they lived through the stories themselves.

On my blog, you will see me writing about topics which I feel very passionate about such as feminism, social and criminal justice, human rights, and equality. My goal is to build a vast library of my writing and to write pieces that stand out from most mainstream articles or essays.

My Blog: https://emmanoakes.blogspot.ca/

Visual Arts 11

Since September Emma has noticed some significant improvements in her Makeup and Artwork. She is noticing her SFX makeup to be more realistic, her photo’s to be cleaner and more descriptive, and her concepts to have more consistency and depth.

She has been working steadily to develop her skills with the goal of ‘creeping people out’. She knew she had achieved this when her work was removed from the exhibition walls of the quiet space… because it was just ‘too creepy’…

As Emma and I discussed the context of her work, outside her niche, we realized that she is asking similar questions in her Makeup and Artwork as she is in her academic writing and research.

We identified the some of the key questions informing her inquiry to be:

How crime affects our society
How and why it happens
How do people perceive it
Who are the ‘criminals’

I want to encourage Emma to intentionally bring more of her academic questions to her Art practice.

This manner of questioning is powerful. It is powerful in every medium, it is not exclusive to reading and writing.  Critical thinking and questioning in the Visual Arts as the method leads to comprehensive detailed work that distinguishes mature and accomplished artists from the rest.

I am committed to working with Emma next year, to witness this intentional  her work transform

What the Canadian Liberal government has done so far – Essay

What the Canadian Liberal government has done so far – Essay

This essay briefly touches on the highlights of Justin Trudeau and the Liberal party’s progress throughout the past 500 or so days of them leading Canada. It touches on what progress they have made on issues such as the environment, immigration, health, biased discrimination, and Indigenous people.

The essay also touches on a few things which they have done wrong/that have been scrutinized so far, and why people are so unhappy with them.

I have mostly researched and been interested in American politics so far, so learning a bit about Canadian politics and the government was a very interesting and enlightening experience. Although Justin Trudeau is nowhere near as entertaining and goofy as Donald Trump, I personally do share many personal values with him and will be paying a bit more attention towards the government in my country.

Rights while under arrest and in jail – Essay

Rights while under arrest and in jail – an Essay

Here is my finished essay on Canadian and American rights while being arrested and in prison. I learned very much about what rights I have (which I mostly had no idea about!) and found it very fascinating.

An infographic version of this essay will be done soon as well. I really enjoy creating infographics based on my essays as they really transform my new found information and make it much more fun to learn!

Death Penalty Defence Thesis

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

– Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

 

We live in a world that for a long time, has killed human beings for a crime they were appointed guilty for. When you think about it, it’s a strange concept. We do something unspeakably inhumane to someone who originally did something unspeakably inhumane themselves. Believe it or not, there is an overwhelming amount of countries, states and continents on our Earth, which still uphold the capital punishment today. The top 10 (in order) are China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, United States, Pakistan, Yemen, North Korea, Vietnam, and Libya. Although some places do appoint the death penalty more than others. For example, a study done in 2012 shows that through 2007 – 2012, China had over 2000 executions while Libya had 39. The thought of a government purposely killing over 2000 people within the span of five years is quite shocking, criminal or not. Killing a human being, in general, is not a very humane thing, no matter what they’ve done or who they are. It has been proven that throughout centuries, the death penalty has done nothing but harm us as a society. It contains much too many flaws which make the procedures of execution much too unsafe, unfair, very costly and absolutely barbaric. There is no doubt that in 2017, the death penalty should be abolished worldwide.

Executions have been a way of criminal justice used in our society for a very long time. According to researchers, the beginning of the death penalty laws go as far back as the Eighteenth Century B.C, and the death penalty was an option for 25 different crimes. They used methods such as crucifixion, drowning, beating to death, burning alive, and impalement. The death penalty also has a large chunk of its history in England. In the Sixteenth Century, under the reign of Henry VIII, an approximate 72,000 people were executed. They would use boiling, burning at the stake, hanging and beheading, put their criminals at justice. Most of the people who were being executed had committed crimes such as marrying a jew, treason and lying, which at the time were despicable felonies. Today, the death penalty is given to a wide array of felons which vary from each country. Most countries who practice capital punishment use it to punish acts of murder, sexual offences, treason, and espionage. Countries who are ruled by religion use it against religious crimes such as leaving an Islamic nation, an offence against the state religion, blasphemy, Islamic crimes and even witchcraft. In China, the death penalty is given to many people involved in human trafficking as it is currently a huge issue in their country, as is drug trafficking in Southeast Asia.

Today we now use slightly more “humane” methods, if executing someone can even be classified as humane, as someone being burnt alive or crucified is just taking it WAY too far. So instead, we inject them with a cocktail of fatal drugs, lock them in a gas chamber, and electrocute them as well as a few other “safer” procedures. In the United States, most executions are done by unqualified civilians who volunteer to do the process and sometimes even get paid a small amount. This is obviously completely unsafe and unfair to the inmate. A study done by a professor in the United States shows that through 1890 – 2010 8,776 people were executed in the U.S. and 276 of those executions (3.15%) were botched. Lethal injection had the most failed executions (85, with 1,054 total executions in this timeframe) and the firing squad had the least (0, with 34 executions). It is no secret that while being the simplest, lethal injection is the riskiest and unpredictable method of execution available. So my question is, why is it the most used method of execution in the 21st century? With the amount of progress and knowledge we have gained, it really confuses me that we still continue to use a highly dangerous procedure that has been proven over time to be unfit for use on any living thing. This on its own is a huge reason why we should not continue to do executions.

The worst thing about the death penalty is that the process of choosing who receives it and who doesn’t can be very biased. Research done in 2011 shows that in Louisiana, the odds of a death sentence were 97% higher for those whose victim was white than those whose were black. Another one found that in California, those who murdered a white person were more than 3 times as likely to be sentenced to death as those who murdered a black person, and more than 4 times more likely as those who murdered a Latino. Racism, xenophobia and prejudgment play an unfortunate role in our world and unfortunately, many people in positions of power are biased by their personal views while making life or death decisions about others. A study done in 2014 shows that jurors in Washington state are three times as more likely to recommend a death sentence for a black defendant than for a white defendant in a similar case. It’s just how most people are, and what makes our society the way it is, that everyone’s opinions and views differ. We all see what we want to see, and that’s okay. But, if that’s the case, then a decision such as whether someone should be put to death or not shouldn’t be allowed to be made by anyone. It seems incredibly unfair to let people’s opinions and views dictate whether someone deserves to live or not. Everyone should absolutely have the right to control their life, no matter where you live or what you’ve done.

Surprise! Killing someone for committing a crime does not reduce the amount of crime being committed. A good example of this is how the Southern states in the U.S. seem to have the highest amount of executions, 80%, and still somehow has the highest murder rates. There is a strong misconception here, that criminals actually will stop committing crimes because they fear being executed. Past U.S. President George W. Bush was and still is a strong advocate for the death penalty. During his five years through 1995 – 2000 while governing the state of Texas (which upholds the nation’s majority of executions) he presided over 131 executions, more than any governor had ever done as it is quite rare for most governors to approve executions. He believes heavily that “The death penalty, when properly administered, saves lives” and relied well on that statement during his presidential campaign to win. While Bush spent 2001 – 2009 as president, America’s crime rates stayed very stagnant. According to the FBI annual crime reports, the highest number of crime during Bush’s time in the office was in 2002, with 11,878,954 crimes and the lowest being in 2009, the year he lost his presidency to Barack Obama, with 10,762,956 crimes. Since Obama’s inauguration date was on January 20, 2009, he was essentially that year’s president, making Bush’s full last year 2008. That year had a crime number of 11,160,543, which was still the lowest during the Bush administration. It’s interesting because 2009 was the lowest crime had been since 1974 in the United States. And throughout President Barack Obama’s 9 years as president through 2009 – 2016, the numbers went lower and lower each year, the lowest they’d been for over 30 years. It’s also important to note that Obama did not support the death penalty, and 5 states stopped using capital punishment during his time. In 2015 (the most recent year which U.S. crime data has been released) the number of crime committed went the lowest it was during the Obama administration, being 9,225,197 which went down 1.935.346 from Bush’s lowest in 2008. If the crime statistics lowered dramatically in the U.S while under the administration of a president who did not support nor participate in the activity of capital punishment, after having a president whose campaign was built off how the death penalty saves lives and stops crime, is it really working?

And finally, not only is the death penalty dangerous, immoral and unfair, but it also costs A LOT. There are so many facts to back this statement up. In Texas, a death penalty case costs approximately $2.3 million, about three times the cost of imprisoning someone in a single cell at the highest security level for 40 years. Legal costs for death penalty trials in Kansas average about $400,000 per case, compared to $100,000 per case without the death penalty. A new study in California revealed that the cost of the death penalty in the state has been over $4 billion since 1978. Can you imagine that a country in billions of dollars of debt is forcing their taxpayers to dish out millions of unnecessary dollars to murder people? In Colorado, a death penalty trial can cost taxpayers up to $3.5 million, versus $150,000 for life in parole. These outrageous costs could save their population a lot of money that could be used to pay other things that are much more urgent than an execution of a criminal. An infographic shows that in Colorado, the money not used for the death penalty could be used for things such as paying 77 firefighter’s salaries, to buy more than 40,000 high school algebra textbooks, to provide one month of essential services to 10,000 elderly people, to give approximately 500 children access to the early start program and so much more. These are all such important things that the state of Colorado and many other locations are missing out on because all the money is being focused on one thing – executions.

It is without a doubt a pressing issue for the death penalty to be abolished worldwide. It has been a part of our history for thousands of years and is truly outdated in 2017. Executions are a cruel and unsafe practice, they can be biased and completely unfair, they do not prevent crime from happening and cost taxpayers everywhere a disgusting amount of money that is clearly being spent wrong. Our world is sadly filled with colossal amounts of crime, which will never be resolved. But I truly do believe that with proper reinforcement and practices we can diminish it. I think that it’s time for people to wake up, and realise that murdering a murderer is the most hypocritical thing we can possibly do. As Victor Hugo once said, “What says the law? You will not kill. How does it say it? By killing.”

References –

Death penalty statistics, country by country

Introduction to the Death Penalty

Capital Punishment in China

Botched Executions

Capital Punishment

Crime Levels: Countries Compared

Country vs. Country: Canada and United States compared

Bush and the Death Penalty

George W. Bush’s Death Penalty Catch-22

States with and without Death Penalty

The United States Crime Rates 1960 – 2015

Misplaced Priorities: An Infographic on the Cost of Death Penalty Trials

Death row infographic

I have transferred my learnings from my previous death row post and put them into an infographic! I love making infographics, and they make it much more fun to look at.

Link – https://magic.piktochart.com/output/21974736-death-row

What I’ve learn so far about death row

Throughout my recent studies on death row and executions in the U.S., I have learnt most of the basic information there is to learn about being sentenced the death penalty.

Today, there are five methods of execution used in the United States. They are;

  1. Hanging

Since 1776, the largest number of executions have been hangings. The most recent one was in Delaware in 1996, done to a convicted criminal Billy Bailey. Before the execution, the rope is boiled and stretched and is measured compared to the weight of the inmate to make sure the procedure is successful. Inmates in Washington State have hanging as an option if they prefer it over lethal injection.

  1. Firing Squad

The “Firing Squad” typically consists of five voluntary trained riflemen who hold Winchester rifles. Four of the rifles are loaded with 40 calibre ammunition, and one is blank. This is done so that no one knows who shot the inmate. The five of them shoot at the same time through holes on a wall between them and the inmate, and there is sometimes a “target” pinned over the inmate’s heart where they are supposed to aim. The most recent use of the firing squad was in 2010 to a convicted murderer in Utah named Ronnie Lee Gardner. He spent 25 years on death row, and chose the firing squad as “He lived by a gun so he chose to die by a gun”. Firing squad is available to all inmates in Utah who were convicted in the state before 2004.

  1. Electric Chair

The electric chair was a very popular method of execution in the 20th century. It is currently an option for Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Virginia. Before any execution, the electric chair is tested by a person assigned that job to make sure it is working and intact. It is also required for the death row inmate to have their head shaved, for better connection to the head as well as preventing the hair from catching on fire. The chair, which has barely changed since the late 1800’s when it was first used, is constructed of wood. The electricity flows through a head and leg piece which immediately kills the inmate.  

  1. Lethal Gas

The lethal gas chamber is unanimously the most dangerous method of execution as gas has no remorse for whom it kills. The chamber is checked multiple times before execution to make sure there are no defaults that could make the situation worse. The “gas” used is hydrogen cyanide, which is an extremely powerful and deadly chemical. The last lethal gas execution was done in Arizona in 1999, and still remains a choice for death row inmates in California and Missouri.

  1. Lethal Injection

First used in 1982, lethal injection is the current most used technique of execution in the U.S. and has been for the past two decades. The usual three drugs used in the injection are Sodium thiopental which is an anaesthetic that puts the inmate to sleep, pancuronium bromide which causes the muscles to stop moving and breathing, as well as potassium chloride which stops the heart. Lethal injection is an option for all 33 states which have the death penalty.

A few interesting facts –

  • The average time someone will spend on death row is 15 years
  • From 1967 to 1976 there were no executions in the U.S, which resumed in 1977 to murderer Gary Gilman, who received the firing squad in Utah
  • The drive from the prison to the “death house” is the last chance for the inmate to be outdoors. No one in Texas has ever escaped the death house
  • The inmate’s final meal is usually their choice but is very limited. Florida’s max budget is $40 for the meal, while Oklahoma’s is a maximum of $15. In 2011, Texas stopped giving their death row inmates a choice for their last meal and now give them whatever is being served in the prison
  • A reverend spends the day with the inmate before the execution to help prepare them
  • There tends to be much more privilege for inmates in the “death house” versus the prison, as they can shower, sleep and take phone calls whenever they desire
  • During the execution, the inmate is allowed to have their family and loved ones attend
  • The press and certain “volunteers” also are witnesses to each execution
  • The executioner is usually kept anonymous
  • In Florida, the executioner is a volunteered civilian who is paid $150 to do the job
  • If the inmate does not go to the execution room on their own, they are carried by guards

Resources –

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/5-questions-answered-how-do-firing-squads-work/ar-AA9VcKI#page=1

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/5-questions-answered-how-do-firing-squads-work/ar-AA9VcKI#page=1

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lethal_injection

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkbI4EcOs9U

 

Religion and Cult Infographic

https://magic.piktochart.com/output/20082958-religion-and-cults

This infographic I have created represents what I’ve learned on cults and religions for the past couple months. In it, I answer a few of my inquiries such as “What is a cult?”, “What is a religion?”, and “What’s the difference?”. I can now successfully answer those questions with ease!

This is my second time creating an infographic, and I do think that I’ve improved! I really enjoy using this type of media to represent my learning and would definitely do it again.

References –

  1. http://www.workingpsychology.com/cult.htmlhttp://www.humanreligions.info/what_is_religion.html
  2. http://www.age-of-the-sage.org/mysticism/world_religions_populations.html
  3. http://guff.com/whats-the-difference-between-religion-and-a-cult-is-there
  4. http://www.christiananswers.net/q-aiia/aiia-top10cults.html
  5. http://youthandreligion.nd.edu/related-resources/bibliography-on-youth-and-religion/cults-and-new-religious-movements/
  6. http://history1900s.about.com/od/1970s/p/jonestown.htm
  7. http://www.history.com/topics/jonestownhttp://koreatourinformation.com/blog/2014/08/01/religion/
  8. http://michaelbluejay.com/x/how-cults-recruit.html
  9. http://www.csj.org/studyindex/studycult/cultqa.htm
  10. https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/specialreports/564076-hezbollah-in-numbers
  11. http://en.protothema.gr/statistics-us-notes-a-surge-in-foreign-fighters-joining-isis/
  12. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ra%C3%ABlism
  13. http://heebmagazine.com/its-official-ufo-worshiping-raelians-are-no-longer-zionists/55304
  14. http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/ufo-religions
  15. https://isene.me/2013/07/28/scientology-positive-negative/
  16. http://www.forum.exscn.net/showthread.php?34064-Scientology-stats-are-UP!-)
  17. https://whyweprotest.net/threads/the-big-list-graphs-and-analysis.120569/
  18. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2009/03_04/2009_04_27_PewResearchCenter_ChangesIn.htm

Dianetics

Book discussion.

Synopsis: Excellent. Well spoken.  I got an understanding of the entire book in less than 2 minutes.

Explained Scientology and its accompanying philosophy well.

Most important things learned:

  1. Felt like reading a science fiction book.  It made no sense.  Learned that that Scientology is a cult.
  2. Learned that people really need to be in help to subscribe to it.  They are so desperate that they think it will help them.  Scientology is meant to help you be a better person (their mantra), but that is not what has happened in reality.  All of this speaks to human nature and how fear and greed still rule many of our decisions.
  3. How it is marketed – targeted to the desperate.  Very smartly done.  Example: their website is all about humanitarianism, but it has not played out that way.  The philosophy is not logical, and thus the practice of it has failed.
  4. Cult leaders. Why join?  Charisma?  We can’t see why we would join, but we can’t overtly see the followers reasons for engaging with cult leaders.
  5. From her experience, it is so underground.  She could not find the book anywhere, had to find a PDF.  So secretive, only place to buy the books is at the churches.  It feels like they are hiding something.  Emma finds this strange.  Scientology is well known, but information is limited.  Even in the book “Dianetics”,  the information was very limited and general.
  6. L. Ron Hubbard, the author, was a science fiction writer.  This book felt like that.  Emma feels that the book was not cohesive, nor logical.  If it is  the basis of a religion, it feels more like a science fiction book than a religious book.  This book is considered the bible to Scientologists.  Emma think it should explain more as it is very vague.  She would never want to join something without all the information, but this is what people are doing.
  7. The more you pay, the more valued you are.  It seems that money is the number one thing that they care about.  The organization fought hard to create a religion so they did not have to pay taxes.  That was the sole purpose of the founder.  There are many fabrications.  Hubbard made himself out to be a hero, but he abused his wife and children.  Not encouraged to find information sources outside the church.
  8. They claim to be non-profit, but there revenues are huge.  The leaders are living in mansions.