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Sam’s Town: Being a Minority in “AmeriKKKa” 2015

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By Kristen J. Simmons

Image by livenewscentral.com
Image by livenewscentral.com

 In post-wake of the racially motivated terrorist attack on Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church,  America’s anti-black/brown sentiment has only driven a knife deeper into an already infected wound.  Weeks after the attack, the racist hate group known as the Ku Klux Klan, or the KKK, planned a rally on  South Carolina state grounds on Saturday, 18 July. For a group whose history is that of such a supremacist and hateful nature, it brings about a question of morals. Why is the KKK allowed to have  such gatherings in this “great land” that is a melting pot of cultures and ethnic backgrounds, a place of  supposed acceptance? The answer can be summed up from a simple line in the national anthem “For the  land of the free,” err… unless you’re black.

 Let me explain! Throughout America’s history, the gathering of a significant number of people of color  has been seen as a threat to society. Starting in 1966, the Black Panther Party thrived and delivered a message of ending police brutality and promoting black pride. It was followed by false notions

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spread by those in power afraid of strong and independent black people. The party was disabled in 1982 by the government under the false guise that the Black Panthers were a militant extremist group.

The question still remains: When will we begin calling out white people for their problematic behavior in the same manor we label black people and falsify their actions as violent? White America has proven to be very uncomfortable with the gathering of colored people. Why else would a pride group of African Americans be dismantled by the government while a supremacy group of Caucasians that have caused terror on minorities for decades be allowed to rally in public spaces?

Events like these are happening all across America on many different scales. Brown skinned Middle Easterners are discriminated against by prejudice and racist people who are paranoid about terrorism. In America the government has brainwashed us into thinking that terrorism has a color and a nationality that comes from the other side of this world. Meanwhile, actual terrorists born and raised in our own nation such as the Charleston shooter rarely ever carry the weight of such labels. It’s almost as if America has a hidden clause about what makes one a racist. CAUTION: MUST BE AT LEAST THIS DARK TO BE CONSIDERED A THREAT TO SOCIETY.

So what does it mean to be a brown or a black in 2015?

We are unreasonably feared and simultaneously envied, we are discriminated against and our culture is appropriated, we are under privileged but told that we live in a fair society

The light of recent events in America regarding race has shown that there is a lot of work to be done when it comes to racial equality. Black America and minorities of this nation alike have a lot of protesting, trials, and tears ahead.

Be prepared, be mindful, and stay woke!

Kristen is a native of Mississippi, USA and would be joining University of Illinois at Chicago this fall for her studies in Communications. 

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Copyright 2015 NewsGram

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Students Get Amazon Alexa – Electronic Voice-Controlled Assistants in University Campus Housing

It is a good idea for students to get as much experience as possible with the voice assistants to improve their development skills and prepare for future jobs.

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The Alexa Echo Dot devices include the official Saint Louis University logo and are equipped with specific skills to provide information on local events and campus life. VOA
The Alexa Echo Dot devices include the official Saint Louis University logo and are equipped with specific skills to provide information on local events and campus life. VOA

One American university is putting Amazon-electronic voice-controlled assistants in every student housing room on campus.

Saint Louis University recently announced it will equip every student living space with Amazon’s Alexa system. The school in St. Louis, Missouri, will place about 2,300 Echo Dot “smart” devices in all student dorms and other university housing.

Officials said the university will be the first in the world to put the devices in every student living space. The devices and the Alexa service are being provided at no costs to students.

The Amazon Echo is a speaker with the ability to listen and “talk” to users and can perform some operations. The Alexa assistant competes with similar systems made by Google and Apple.

Devices linked to the systems have become increasingly popular in homes in recent years. They can be used for things like looking up information, playing music, ordering food or buying things on the internet. The devices can also complete actions in the home. These include turning lights on and off, and controlling systems for heating and cooling and security.

Amazon calls these different tasks Alexa can perform “skills.”

Amazon said in a website post that Saint Louis University chose the Alexa system after carrying out a test program. The program involved the Echo Dot and a device from a competing company. It said the students had a better reaction to the Alexa system.

The Echo Dots will include a special skill developed especially for Saint Louis University. It will provide information and answer questions about local school activities and campus life.

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In this March 2, 2016, file photo, David Limp, Amazon Senior Vice President of Devices, pushes down on an Echo Dot in San Francisco. VOA

Next year, the university plans to add more personalized skills, such as providing information about classes and grades.

The university said it did not increase student tuition to pay for the project. Instead, officials said, it was financed through the school’s general fund, as well as partnerships with Amazon and n-Powered. The company, based in Los Angeles, California, helped develop the parts of the system that are related to Saint Louis University.

David Hakanson is Saint Louis University’s vice president and chief information officer. In announcing the project, he said it will fit well with students who are “highly driven to achieve success in and out of the classroom.”

He added: “Every minute we can save our students from having to search for the information they need online is another minute that they can spend focused on what matters most: their education.”

While the devices are being placed in every university housing space, students do not have to use them. For those wishing not to take part, the school suggests students just remove the devices from their rooms and put them away in a safe place.

Other universities have also experimented with voice-controlled assistants in student living areas.

A year ago, Arizona State University announced a program that provided Echo Dot devices to a special housing area for engineering students. In the program, all engineering students moving into the special housing community were given the choice of receiving an Echo Dot if they wanted one.

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Bhavik Patel, a mechanical engineering senior and peer mentor at Arizona State’s community housing center Tooker House, demonstrates use of an Amazon Echo Dot while working on formulas. VOA

As is the case at Saint Louis University, Arizona State students are able to use the system to get the latest information on university programs and events. However, the Arizona students also have the chance to sign up for classes that teach subjects related specifically to creating new uses for Alexa devices.

Octavio Heredia is a director with Arizona State’s Fulton Schools of Engineering. He said he thinks it is a good idea for students to get as much experience as possible with the voice assistants to improve their development skills and prepare for future jobs.

Also Read: Google Releases ‘Go Edition of Android 9 Pie’

“Once they are familiar with the devices, they are going to want to further develop their own skills and begin integrating that technology – the hardware and the skills – into other projects,” he said. (VOA)