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The unconscious bias

"never judge a book by its cover"

Micro-aggression

Micro-aggression, also known as, micro inequities, was coined in 1970 by psychiatrist Chester Pierce of Harvard University.

In itself, what is micro-aggression? According to the dictionary, micro-aggression is defined as a comment or action that subtly reveals bias or bias towards a group, a minority or a marginalized society.

It is an action, an incident, an instance of indirect, subtle or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group, a racial or ethnic minority.

Micro-aggression is found, instilled in all of us, those are the facts. And from an early age. It is a kind of education, not regulated, that promotes social development, social circulation and above all, it is a kind of social promotion.

Micro-aggression can often be a compliment. Those are the facts.

"Hey güero!" referring to the skin tone of an individual or an educated person.

Are you transgender? You don't look like it.”. This implies that being transgender, infers that all transgender people look the same and that in a way, they are visibly recognizable.

"I am not racist! I have friends of color”.

"Where were you born?". Assuming that the individual was not born in the country, therefore he is not a national.

"Your name is very difficult to pronounce, I better call you .... (insert nickname)".

"You don't speak Spanish?". Assuming that an individual is of Latino or Hispanic origin and therefore, must, speak Spanish. As if we weren't able to learn to speak more than one language. Our indigenous brothers and sisters and above all, Africans, learned French, Spanish, Dutch, English, Portuguese, etc.,.

The list is endless. Even focusing on the individual who executed the micro-aggression could be considered an instance of micro-aggression, a micro-assault on the individual.

Even so, when we witness a micro-aggression, it is our duty to recognize and act. Micro-aggression is capable of creating a hostile, non-inclusive environment when you are a minority. As it happened to the actress, from the film, Roma, Yalitza Aparicio, or I'll go as far as, with the Bill Gates foundation, who wanted to develop a vaccine against Sars-Cov-2 in Africa, and the countries of Africa replied, NO thanks! We don't want to be your guinea pig.

Responding to micro-aggression can be challenging. Without a doubt, it is a matter of education. Essentially, education allows people to understand themselves, without education, it is complicated and expensive to navigate some contemporary problems in society.

Let's remember the phrase, "never judge a book by its cover" and let's watch what we say.

047

Ode to Thomason Part II

Ode to Thomason Part II

Everything that goes up, must come down

Narrator’s voice: I will borrow a line and say, “everything that goes up, must come down”.

And here it was that the summer began.

Thanks to their fake mailed-in driver licenses, edited in the school’s computer lab, laminated and signed, Thomason and his group of vacationless peers, where enjoying the night. Sitting down in the Cairo Sofitel, in the Mexican Bar-Restaurant called Los Amigos. He pushed the idea to climb the pyramid. And he was not talking about just any pyramid. “It has to be the Great one!”. The one that has given Egyptian anthropologist headaches, and the ones to come...

Sitting in the taxi, he bribed the man to take the group as close as possible to the Giza Plateau. The group was dropped off within the comfort zone of the driver, from here it would be a peregrination of several minutes, un-light alleys, filled with sand, as to remind you, that Cairo is a big mystery.

Having conquered the terrain, having used the shadow of the night as an invisible shield, within ten minutes, the group found itself in front of the great beast. They moved fast and had managed to avoid detection. Half an hour later, amidst the moonlight, triumphant, they caught up with the top of the world.

They began to explore the corners of the flat surface. The top of the pyramid is flat. As if a piece of the monument is missing. It was curious to see his resilience, leaving no stone unturned, snooping and glancing at the thousands of graffiti tags and signatures of past climbers, some dating back to 18th century, some, even included generations of families, dates.

A few hours passed, sunrise, a distant memory, cold & mosquito bitten, the group decides to call it a night. In his mind, he knows, he will be back.

The descent was a lot faster than expected. The six men, the military police, who went on about their business, knew all too well that the group that had managed to bypass their sentry had to climb back down. It was just a matter of time, inevitable. By now, another man had joined their ranks. Soon, the two would meet, as if their fates had been sealed in hieroglyphs, and it would go down in history, as the biggest bargain of his young life.

Back on the ground. Surrounded. A short, robust man stepped away from the shadows. He spoke, “What do you want?”, “You can go to jail or...”, Thomason cut him off, “or I can give you my credit card and tonight you let us climb the pyramid again, and we will pay you”, “Baksheesh, Baksheesh”, originally a Persian word, it is a form of bribery.

Nobody really knows, what Thomason was thinking, but to their surprise, the thick, compact man, didn’t hesitate to accepted the plastic. An agreement had been settled. Thomason would be allowed to return that same day and climb as if he had explicit permission from the gods.

Sigh of relief. The group left. Easier said than done.

Perhaps the height of the pyramid had affected their compass, not just moral. Still not out of the woods yet, out of the shadows, the group was ambushed by a white bearded old man in civilian cloths. He had jumped out of nowhere. The man wasn’t wearing a smile. He was dead serious. Firmly gripped, he was aiming an assault riffle, probably an AK-47 from the Soviet era.

The group, was motionless and startled, when Thomason yelled, “Baksheesh, Baksheesh”, “Bukra, bukra, sadiq”, as if it were a code word, telling the white bearded man, “tomorrow we will pay our dues my friend”. And so it was. The white bearded man, lowered his weapon, and the group was allowed to proceed.

What other surprises awaited them? Above all, it was still necessary to find a means of transportation and return to normality.

046

Ode to Thomason Part I

Ode to Thomason Part I

The last of the summer nights

Narrator's voice: I assume that when we set out for this journey, he had one goal in mind and that was to make it to the top. I don't know if it ever occurred to him, the trouble we could of have gotten into. I mean, a small group of foreigners climbs one of the pyramids during the night….

This was the summer before his Junior year. This was just another goal that he had to accomplish. He was always of the adventurer kind, always up for a challenge. He knew it was forbidden, or as he would of said it best: "it's there, it wants you to climb it." Getting to this remote location out in no man's land was the easy part. He noticed how easily people would oblige when money was involved. His eyes where fixed with the sole purpose to climb this monument of an ancient civilization. He probably never registered the danger. Six men standing around, moving from place to place. Protecting this relic as if they were once warriors of this lost civilization. The only sign was the moon. As the group began to climb this magestique monument, he knew that the men with the duty to protect and guard this monument had caught their eyes.

He knew that the sooner they started climbing the easier it would be for them to move freely vertically upon this rock. His legs were not limber. He obviously had experience when it came to climbing. He looked down at the quarrel of men that were shouting for the group to come down. "Come and get us, why don't you!" He yelled. Each time louder with an added laughter towards the end. Out of the corner of his eyes he saw the warriors go about their business. He spoke again, "If they want us to come down, they can come and get us!"

As he reached the top of the pyramid, he perhaps questioned how soon he could do this again. And with more people. Perhaps next time, bring a camera and what not. Up at the top, it felt safe. Up there, the last of the summer nights felt like an Eternity. Time passed, marked only by the mosquito bites on his arms and legs.

044

The 10 commandments

The new norm

NO to the new norm.

Beyond the feelings generated in me, by this world event, my own validation that we live and above all, that we lived in an orchestrated norm, full of injustices, I can only say: No! to the new norm.

The new norm sounds like the title of an executive order from an oppressive regime, just as it was, Hitler's Germany in the 1930s. Gamal Abdel Nasser in the 1950’s, Pinochet and Sadat in the 1970’s, Mugabe and Noriega in the 80's, Hugo Chavez in the 90's. All these statues have to collapse.

The idea of maintaining a population or society under stress and fear, is nothing new.

Many wonder, how we got here? The answer is so depressing, so enraged...

We have been in this situation for a long time, eons. When a population or society is fundamentally unfair, its injustices grow and become stronger over time. New developments that occur can routinely (flow) into existing systems, even abuse them.

Take these 10 flash points, I call them, the Ten Commandments.

When corruption, the police, and racism become a public health crisis.

George Floyd's death spread to all US states, and to countries around the world; in Mexico, the death of Giovanni Lopéz, for not using a mouthpiece. There are long stories of abuse and police brutality in both nations, particularly directed at those with the least amount of monetary and social resources to hold them accountable. And meanwhile in the US, this attack has become an implicit stimulus to continue doing so.

April 1, 1829. Vicente Ramón Guerrero Saldaña, a liberal by conviction and an active Mason in the York Rite Lodge, became the first black Mexican President. In one of his speeches, Guerrero exclaims, "A free state protects the arts, the industry, science and commerce, and the only rewards are virtue and merit." Guerrero continues, "If we want to acquire the latter, let's do it, cultivating the fields, the sciences and everything that can facilitate the sustenance and the entertainment of the human being, let's do it in such a way that we are not a burden on the nation and only otherwise.

Guerrero, is a Mexican hero, the state of Guerrero is named in his honor.

The economy and unemployment.

According to experts, it will take around 10 years for the world economy to return to its pre-covid-19 point.

Femicide and domestic violence.

In this country alone, 8 out of 10 women feel insecure and the majority have been attacked, not to mention, child abuse.

The abuse of our privacy, human rights, and the use of our metadata.

I don't know when it happened, but we are no longer using Social Media, Social Media is using us. How is it possible that Facebook knows in advance that a woman is pregnant while she doesn’t? Facial recognition, such a strange thing, when W.H.O. begs us to make use of a mouth cover. Privacy is the basis of all our rights.

The war on drugs.

The war on drugs, its failure and how it has transformed the economy and influenced culture, not only in Mexico (Malverde), worldwide.

Climate change and technology.

Climate change and technology have become politics. The future is radical.

The pandemic.

The 10 points that I mention are a steam pot, without safety features!

After 16 weeks in confinement, for me, it’s no longer a surprise, to see that in the News, societies demanding their freedom, the protests against racism, and as the month of June is concerned, Mexico registered its most violent day, despite measures to curb sars-cov2, with 117 homicides. The movement against Lopez Obrador or Doctor Chapatín, as Daniel González calls him, prevails in 115 cities and continues. During this time, domestic violence has grown, due to the “grand confinement”.

I leave you this question, "did you imagine someday living this confinement with your aggressor?"

It should be noted that on the last sentence, the aggressor is not only that physical person, but also all the systems infected by injustices, that is why I say that we have been in this situation for a long time.

There is NO us and them.

According to the dictionary, normality means quality of life. Remember, we have a contract between the people and the government.

NO to the new norm.

043

Metadata

This is metadata at its finest

All your metadata are belong to us

What is metadata?

The simplified version, metadata is data about data. In other words, data that provides information about other data.

For example, if you make a phone call, if there was a recording of the conversation, that recording would not be considered as metadata, it would only be data. However, the data collected regarding to, when the call was made, who participated and how long the call lasted, that is metadata.

Metadata categories: Photographs, books, blog posts, emails, word documents, spreadsheets, and computer files. Without metadata, it would be impossible to navigate and access websites. On the other hand, metadata is not something new, for eons, libraries have organized books using, author name, who published it, genre, date, etc. and etc.

So what's all the fuzz about? Why is YOUR metadata important:

Every time you take a photo with your cell phone, a large amount of data gets saved along with the photo. The most common data, being, the date and time, camera settings and geolocation; where the photograph was produced. Within the data configuration, data such as, the type of lens, the exposure, the aperture, whether the flash was in use, and probably your name, as the author of the photograph.

Using the following example, you are about to share on Instagram. When the photo gets uploaded, the photo's metadata is automatically shared with Instagram. Over time, a profile may be generated using your metadata. The metadata is then linked to your Instagram account. Now, imagine this topic, with more personal data, such as an email or computer files.

Without a doubt, it's a matter of privacy. If an institution, company, the government, or even an individual, were to access your metadata, this party would have the knowledge of the metadata produced by your cellphone, data such as, who you talk to on the phone, how often you talk, how long the calls last, and there is a chance to discover your identities if your cellphone numbers are available online. And the same applies to any email account and the photos you send and share via email.

The truth is quite simple: there is no privacy online, much less on Social Media. AT&T, Movistar, Telcel, just to name a few, know your location in real time, otherwise, you wouldn't have service. The problem is that our metadata is transmitted over the Internet and can be accessed by other networks. Your likes, your preferences, your psychological and behavioral patterns, your shopping pattern are fully exposed on social networks.

On a closer look; this information is quite valuable, and not just for marketing purposes. Metadata provides an in-depth analysis of the individual. And this information can be used to make informed decisions about each individual. Separately, per head, per group, per capita, etc, and etc., up to a point, that is massive, extended, perhaps generic, but globalized.

042

The Humanities

Without the humanities, we wouldn’t have the tools to imagine the future.

Let's trap the children between four walls

The humanities allows us to think creatively and critically (what is called, critical thinking). The study of humanities helps us develop new knowledge about life, from art to literature, understand business models and politics.

Without the humanities, we wouldn’t have the tools to imagine the future.

Humanities helps us preserve the knowledge of the past, read and understand Xenophon, Xenophanes, Thucydides, Thales of Miletus, Plutarch, Plato, to name a few.

Humanities provides us with a vision of the world in which we live in. It's through the study of humanities that we can give moral, spiritual and intellectual meaning to the world. The humanities allow us to weigh-in and consider beyond every question, each side of the story and the faces of these.

At the heart of the humanities, both the ability to speak and write are irreplaceable in effectively expressing one's ideas. The study of humanities, strengthen our daily limitations and allows us to be exposed to more opportunities.

"In a rapidly globalizing world, studying the humanities is critical to building a more inclusive and prosperous future."

Why deprive students of the right to study the humanities, but favor the study of science and technology? How are we going to know where we are heading, how are we going to paint a brighter future and abandon this situation or normality, full of injustices in which we find ourselves in? It seems that the status-quo wants to demolish the incentive to reason and question those questions that have haunted us for centuries? The future is radical, without a doubt, and technology is the new social policy called technocracy, which directs us towards a future, without a historical compass.

040

"STAY AWAY FROM THE PUBLIC EYE."

Filippo Brunelleschi

Brunelleschi

Filippo Brunelleschi was an Italian designer and a key figure in architecture, recognised to be the first modern engineer, planner and sole construction supervisor. He was one of the founding fathers of the Renaissance. Wikipedia

Born: 1377, Florence, Italy
Died: April 15, 1446, Florence, Italy
Periods: Early renaissance, Renaissance
Known for: Architecture, sculpture, mechanical engineering