Definition Argument Revised – PaulaJean

Stereotype threat is an interesting concept that not many are aware of. It is a very common phenomenon that unfortunately happens to everybody everywhere. Stereotype threat is simply defined as a situational predicament in which people are or feel themselves to be at risk of conforming to stereotypes about their social group. For example, there are a group of students, male and female, taking a standardized math/science test. Before they begin the test, the proctor asks them to fill in their gender on the sheet given to them. This immediately switches on a stereotype in the girls’ minds to which they subconsciously need to conform to.  Therefore, the girls in the room do worse than the boys.

In our society, stereotypes towards women are definitely not as prominent as they used to be. Decades ago, women were supposed to stay home to cook and clean and tend to the children. Since they were home all day, women weren’t in school and learning. Being 2018, more women have amazing educations and jobs which would not have been expected in the early twentieth century. From housewives to CEO’s, women are still affected by stereotypes from the past and the present. By confirming one’s gender prior to a math/science exam, the girls in the class mindlessly begin to conform to the stereotype that was preexisting in their head. Their performance on the test is not exactly accurate. A study done by Josh Aronson shows that women actually receive higher scores when they are not asked to confirm their gender until after the test is completed.

Stereotype threat is very dangerous thing. Society has increased its open-mindedness a great amount, but why are women (and other minorities as well) being demeaned just by mentioning a biological trait? Why are there still women in 2018 still believe that they are not smart enough to pursue a mathematical or scientific career? At this point in time it is hard to put blame on a single party for what is happening due to the passing down of certain beliefs in different cultures. Society could blame our ancestors but that would not do women any good because it is in the past.

Aforementioned, the definition of stereotype threat is a situational predicament in which people are or feel themselves to be at risk of conforming to stereotypes about their social group. To the people effected, though, it is so much more than just a predicament. It could be defined as an extremely inhibiting situation that many are not even aware of where stereotypes are brought to the surface and lead individuals to conform to them without their knowledge.

It is hard to blame somebody nor would that do women any good. Society can expose us to more powerful women. There are many powerful men in our society. Basically, our whole country is run by men. Little girls growing up in a world where all of the people in charge are men can really sway them the wrong way. Parents can tell their daughters about how powerful women can be, but it will be so hard for them to believe it when they don’t see it around them. When they don’t believe it, they will be affected by stereotype threat just as much as the older generations of women were.

In the study “Stereotype Threat and Women’s Math Performance,” done by Steve J. Spencer, Claude M. Steele, and Diane M. Quinn, different types of situations were created to see how the scores compared against both genders. “The aim of the present research has been to show that this threat can quite substantially interfere with women’s math performance, especially performance that is at the limits of their skills, and that factors that remove this threat can improve that performance.” (Spencer, Steele, & Quinn, 1999)

The study lead the experimenters to conclude when women are told prior to a test that this test was designed to have no gender differences, the women did better and the men did worse which was the opposite of what happened in the control group. That blunt reassurance that women have an equal chance to good on the test really effected their scores.

How Stereotypes Can Drive Women Away From Science,” by Shankar Vedantam is an article about a study that was done by Toni Schmader and Matthias Mehl. They basically recorded parts of science professors days with a sound recording device. They found that women were not as engaged in a conversation with men (about work) then they were with other women (about anything). When the women would discuss things other than work and research with men they were perfectly engaged in the conversation. They only became disengaged when they were discussing work. Women became overwhelmed and actually started becoming the stereotype (in that conversation, not permanently). Being that the stereotype is women are not as competent in a math or science career, the women started sounding more incompetent than they were when conversing with their male colleagues.

All in all, women need to be depicted differently in society. Big changes are being made, but bigger changes are needed to eliminate this stereotype threat. Gender does not deem whether somebody will be sufficient in any given career. Both genders can work hard to become whatever they want in whatever field they want.

Stereotype threat will hopefully be eliminated completely in our society in the near future. Men and women will, hopefully, coexist as equals with no negative connotations to any one gender.


Spencer, S. J., Steele, C. M., & Quinn, D. M. (1999). Stereotype Threat and Women’s Math Performance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 35(1), 4-28. doi:10.1006/jesp.1998.1373

Vedantam, S. (2012, July 12). How Stereotypes Can Drive Women To Quit Science. Retrieved from -jobs

Why Stereotype Threat Keeps Girls Out of Math and Science, and What to Do About It. (2011, June 01). Retrieved April 18, 2018, from

Rewrite Definition Argument-Myrtle View

The more black fashion appears in mainstream the less black, black people become. When black fashion is pictured we start to imagine black men and women in gold jewelry, wearing Air Jordan’s, and braids. These are just three things that make black people black and give representation to the black community. However somewhere along the line the public—mostly white celebrities—started to notice the stylish ideas that were being created. Although it is uncertain when this phenomenon started to occur, it was visible when white rappers felt comfortable wearing over sized clothing and when white women decided it was a good idea to wear braids and hoop earring. This was not a big problem until they wore it and it was branded as their own to sell and distribute with no acknowledgment of where it really originated.  This lead to widespread cultural appropriation and people believing that they could be more socially acceptable and grab the media’s attention if they dressed like a black person. For example, Huffington Post article “On Miley Cyrus, Hip-hop, And The Objectification Of Black Women” by DeAsia Paige suggests that Miley Cyrus’ new style and attitude that was influenced by hip hop culture was the sole reason why she is considered to be demeaning and appropriating of black women.

Black fashion has always been a political statement of freedom and fighting against oppression. According to Buzzfeed’s video, “100 Years of Black Fashion,” natural hair, Afros, and African cloth became symbols of African heritage and pride and were further popularized throughout the 1960s.” From the 1960’s and 1970’s black fashion depicted the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement. Members of the Black Panther movement popularized afros and dark sunglasses. In the 1973 the greatest contribution to music was created, otherwise known as the birth of hip hop. Hip hop music influenced many teens to sport bright athletic track suits and loose-fitting clothes. Black icons such as Michael Jackson, Salt and Pepa, and Whitney Houston brought their unapologetic style and grace to the 80’s with flaming red leather jackets and matching outfits for couples. Finally, we come to the most inspirational era of black culture the 90’s. During the 1990’s, black women were going back into their roots and wearing a multitude of fashionable braids. Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys, and Erykah Badu influenced generations to come that it was okay to be natural and take care of black hair. In today’s era some aspects of black culture are flourishing while others are being taken advantage of completely. According to “Money flowing into the natural hair industry is a blessing and curse for those who built it up” an article on LA Times written by Makeda Easter in 2016, 2.5 billion dollars was spent on black hair care product by black consumers. While natural hair goes up hair relaxers are taking a 36 percent dive in prices from 2012 to 2017, stated by the article “USA: Relaxer sales fall but Black hair care market is booming, thanks to natural hair movement” from the website Brazil Beauty News. Unfortunately, the more black women wear their natural hair out the more attention it grabs as with all black fashion.

Black fashion has always been a major factor in how black people and the world view themselves.  The black community has always suffered from the ignorance, oppression, and racism of others who saw them as less. With that being said, black people remember their history through appearances first. The issue of black fashion becoming more mainstream is that a community of people become muffled and silenced by the others wanting to be like them but not like them. To be truly black means to experience the hatred the world has for them and wait for everything that is considered yours to be stolen from underneath your feet. To be truly black is to feel numb every time the news reports of another innocent black victim dead at the hands of the police. Being black means being told countless times in a lifetime that the world was made to be against you. Being truly black means to be called “urban”, “hood”, “ghetto”, and “scary”. These attributes may also find their way into other minorities, but they can never truly understand the pain and the hardships. The styles the black communities wear is a message all on its own that says to the world, “I have a history and it will be recognized.”

In no way am I saying that cultures should stick to their own culture since that would be a terrible world. I am saying that if a person does take ideas or use aspects from a culture they should definitely refer back to their cultural influence.  Many celebrities have stolen from different cultures in the past and have gotten away with it countless times. Even though the black community show strong disapproval towards these celebrities’ actions with no apology. Then the media surrounding these famous celebrities increase the exposure of these “trends”. Cultural appropriation happens when a culture, different then the culture a person is in, is worn and is not acknowledge or is demeaning for others outside that community to wear.

The major contributors to the loss off black identity is famous white women and the media. The media is responsible in showing the public what celebrities wear. However, they also set the tone for how the public should respond using catchy words or phrases. Famous white women find inspiration in black fashion from the hairstyles and clothing we wear then incorporating it into their daily lives. Their mistake is not correcting the media on where they got their style sense. When white women say nothing, a culture is silenced because they are allowing this type of injustice to continue. In stead of black culture being credited the white women are accounted instead.


Definition Rewrite- Lbirch

Detectors Causing Harm

People around the world live in a very dangerous, harmful world with many things that can go wrong. One of the most dangerous things people have that are potentially dangerous is smoke detectors. Detectors, whether it is for smoke, heat, or carbon monoxide, go unnoticed every day and are not even thought to be harmful or potentially dangerous. The beeping pieces of plastic on your ceiling could turn into a hazard if not cared for or thought about daily. Detectors do have many benefits if properly used, and can save many lives annually. But detectors do have dangers that it is trying to prevent. They have the risk of not alerting when there is a threat of fire or smoke, or could start a fire itself.

It may seem like these detectors are a benefit, considering fire departments and fire protection agencies hand them out. But the risk starts if the installation of the product is not efficient and installed properly. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s “Considerations For Installation Of Smoke Alarms On Residential Branch Circuits,” the proper installation of a detector is essential in order to decrease the risk of fires starting from detectors. Shortages, overheating wires and overloaded circuits can start a fire at any time if the installation is not done correctly. Wires overheating due to excess current in the detector is one of the main issues that does cause electrical fires.

As the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission also states, there are some techniques being used to cut down electrical fires. Fuses are now being put in place so if overheating does occur, a fuse will be set off, not allowing any more current to go through the circuit. Overheating would be hard to catch, but a small fuse does make it easier to prevent any fires from starting from your detectors.

Short circuits are a common cause of fires, which a detector can do. According to Elizabeth McGrath’s “What Causes Short Circuits,” a short circuit occurs when part of a wire carrying current touches another wire or part of the circuit and gives the electricity a path of less resistance. For example, if a wire with faulty insulation becomes exposed and touches a metal light switch, current can flow along the light switch and result in a shock. Short circuits will produce more heat in a circuit and result in burns and electrical fires.

Something else that can actually cause a fire is the batteries used to power the detectors. But in many incidences, an ordinary item that may be found in your “junk drawer” may have a higher risk of catching fire than you think. Fire Protection Team writes that if a metal object touches the posts of the batteries, the battery may short circuit, which creates enough heat to start a fire. There have been reports of this across the country of these batteries actually starting a fire, and enough that homeowners are launching a campaign to provide awareness of this unexpected hazard.

But new technology creates a better way to prevent this also. McGrath states that a short circuit will cause your household breaker to trip, allowing you to see something was shorted out. But there are still some risks and dangers even with this technology and advancing improvements. Internal shortages can happen within your ceiling, which is harder to spot and can lead to a fire if it is not noticed fast enough.

This one terrifying event proves detectors are not “fireproof” even if the best plan is used. Chris Brooke from the Daily Mail reports that in 2011 in Humberside, England, the national fire service conducted a nationwide fire prevention campaign to reduce home fires. Of all competing competitors, the trusted Fire Angel ST 620 detector was supplied because of its “ground-breaking” smoke detection technology and its 10-year power pack. It was also supplied because of its quality and reliability to fire and rescue services for this campaign. This detector is now on alert after one caught fire in a home after ideal and professional installation. Despite the high quality and reliability of the detector, this fired occurred after the low battery chirp sounded, then spontaneously bursting into flames. Mrs. Gray, the homeowner said if her daughter Victoria not been at home to quell the flames, or worse, had she been sleeping in the house, a much worse tragedy might have occurred. The installation campaign has been suspended, which is no comfort to the fire professionals, who know full well how precarious are the homes they haven’t served, with their cheaper, less reliable detectors, poorly located, amateurishly installed by inexperienced homeowners. Chris Blacksell, Humberside’s Director of Safety, was forced to admit: “We have contacted every fire service in the country to find out if there have been any other incidents involving detectors [and] have decided to not fit that type of detector until our investigation is complete.”

Poor maintenance and upkeep of detectors can be a major role in your family’s fire safety. What some do not know is that even hardwired detectors have a battery which is used for backup purposes. If electricity is lost in your household and that backup battery is dead, there will be no way of knowing if there is smoke in your house or not.

A deadly example of this is in an article written by Bruce Krasnow, titled “Fire Starts During Annual Smoke Detector Warning…,” which states that a fire started in a house that did not have smoke detectors at all. If there had been any smoke detectors installed, the lives of four children would not have been lost. Fire investigators said that the fire was smoldering long before it ignited, and if a detector was present, the four children would have been alerted and would have been able to get out safely. It is a tragic story that did not need to happen if a smoke detector was properly installed in the home.

This seems strange to think about. No one would think that a device used to alert individuals that there is fire, could be the reason the fire starts in the first place. As a firefighter, I would not think this at all because of the positives I see, and what many others see also. We all see that blinking red light and hear that loud beep, but never do think about if it is doing more bad than good.


Brooke, C. (2011, November 08). Fire services on alert after smoke detector is blamed for causing TWO blazes. Retrieved February 13, 2018 from 


Lee, A., & Lee, D. (2005, October). Considerations For Installation Of Smoke Alarms On Residential Branch Circuits. Retrieved February 13, 2018 from

McGrath, E. (2017, July 11). What Causes Short Circuits?. Retrieved February 13, 2018 from

Nichols, B. (2014, June 30). How 9-Volt Batteries Can be a Home Hazard. Retrieved February 13, 2018 from 

Definition Rewrite – picklerick

Books are really just another form of media. There may be obvious physical differences between these medias, but at their baselines they are both delivery methods for a story. People often feel as if a hobby of reading is something that has higher acclaim than a hobby of watching TV or movies. Film has its perks though. For example, a screen can deliver language as well as picture, whereas a book will only give you the language. This may make it more difficult to get an idea of the mood of a piece of writing. Whereas, in a movie, you can see the the emotion on the face of each actor and often hear it in the music.

This is not to say reading is worse than film, as there are many benefits to reading as well. Books will often present an internal dialogue of its characters. Whereas, in television, only the exterior motives are shown. Also, reading will improve one’s vocabulary. Anyone who reads often will probably come across words that they do not know very well. This causes them to make inferences about the meanings, thus improving their ability to interpret words.

Both reading and film have wonderful benefits, including improvement of knowledge, empathy, and vocabulary. But too much of anything is bad. There is a growing problem of adults staying sedentary for too long. A study by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) concluded that an average of 60% of adults’ waking hours are spent sedentary (Matthews). This is detrimental to our health because without an active lifestyle, your whole body slows down. In his manuscript, “Too Much sitting: The Population-Health Science of Sedentary Behavior,” Neville Owens suggests, “Canadians who reported spending the majority of their day sitting had significantly poorer long-term mortality outcomes than did those who reported that they spent less time sitting.” It may sound appealing to sit down these medias all day. But it’s always important to watch how much time is spend on these activities.



Owen, N., Healy, G. N., Matthews, C. E., & Dunstan, D. W. (2010). Too Much Sitting. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, 38(3), 105-113. doi:10.1097/jes.0b013e3181e373a2
Matthews, C. E., Chen, K. Y., Freedson, P. S., Buchowski, M. S., Beech, B. M., Pate, R. R., & Troiano, R. P. (2008). Amount of Time Spent in Sedentary Behaviors in the United States, 2003-2004. American Journal of Epidemiology, 167(7), 875-881. doi:10.1093/aje/kwm390

Definition Rewrite-Dohertyk9

In America alone, another instance of sexual violence occurs every few minutes. Astonishingly, as reported by The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS), which was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Approximately 1 in 5 women in the U.S. (19.1% or an estimated 22,992,000 women) experienced rape at some point in life.” This stems from, among other things, a lack of understanding as to what rape is, because no one knows what it is.

In the article, “The Latest: Cosby jury ends Day 1 without a verdict” by the Associated Press, the jury asks the judge what consent is:

The jury returned to a suburban Philadelphia courtroom less than two hours into its deliberations to ask for the legal definition of consent. Judge Steve O’Neill said he wasn’t able to answer it, telling jurors they’ve already been given the definitions of the charges they are considering.

It’s frightening to consider that even judges, the people we put in charge of determining criminal charges, don’t know what consent is. Although rape has existed since the beginning of humanity, and continues to exist worldwide, it does not have a standard, universal definition. Even within one country, and within the same system of government, the definition varies.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics defines rape as,

Forced sexual intercourse including both psychological coercion and physical force. Forced sexual intercourse means vaginal, anal, or oral penetration by the offender(s). This category also includes incidents where the penetration is from a foreign object, such as a bottle. Includes attempted rape, male and female victims, and both heterosexual and same sex rape. Attempted rape includes verbal threats of rape.

The FBI’s definition of rape as defined by the Department of Justice is,

Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website defines “sexual violence,”

 Sexual violence is defined as a sexual act committed against someone without that person’s freely given consent.

These are only a few of the myriad of existing definitions, but they illustrate just how different rape is based on the agency that is considering it. The Bureau of Justice Statistics defines rape to provide a count for the number of instances a crime has occurred. The FBI defines rape to explain under what circumstances a crime has been committed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define rape to provide better assistance to their patients.  It would be difficult to argue that any one of these definitions is wrong, because there is no proof of a “right” definition. It is not the responsibility of simple observers of this phenomenon to provide the “right” definition.

Governments have struggled with the question of how to define rape since their beginning. In around 1780 B.C., laws stated that rape of a virgin was property damage against her father. In 1290, women who became pregnant from rape were not raped. In the 1300s, whether or not a woman was raped was affected by how promiscuous the woman was; a sexually active woman’s charges were less legitimate. After the 1300s, girls younger than 12 could not consent. In 1670, it was concluded that a man can legally rape his wife, because the marriage contract forfeited his wife’s right to consent. In 1814, it was decided once again that rape could be determined by pregnancy. In the 19th century, it was agreed that if the woman did not actively resist her rapist, she was not raped.

More inclusive definitions of rape have been created over time; the FBI’s definition listed above, for example, is an update from a older and less encompassing definition. Yet despite having a myriad of more inclusive definitions, we are still far from perfect in determining what sexual contexts can be characterized by these definitions. This is clear in the case of Bill Cosby’s retrial for the alleged sexual assault of Andrea Constand. The article, “Bill Cosby’s Defense and Its Twisted Argument About Consent,” by Jia Tolentino, states,

Everyone agrees that, on the night in question, Cosby invited Constand over to his home; that he gave her three pills; that he digitally penetrated her without obtaining any sort of affirmative consent; that he left her passed-out body on the couch and went to bed.

This case is demonstrative of the power of terminology; according to the FBI’s definition, this situation is clearly rape: “Penetration, no matter how slight…without the consent of the victim.” Yet the entire argument of Cosby’s defense is not that he did not commit this act, but rather that it was in a “romantic” context, that Constand was lying as to the nature of her and Cosby’s relationship, that there was full consent given in the situation in question. However, regardless of whether or not the relationship was romantic, Constand was unconscious at the time of the penetration and therefore could not give consent, which is rape by all three aforementioned definitions above. The refusal to call the situation what it was according to the definitions of several reputable sources-rape-has allowed Cosby’s defense to formulate an argument that is at best absurd and at worst completely wrong. However, the nature of the definition of rape is that it will always be different based on who is defining it. If the legal system rules that in romantic contexts, penetration of an unconscious partner is in fact consensual, the system has merely created another definition of rape, which cannot be considered wrong, only different. In such a case, if Cosby could prove that his relationship with Constand was “romantic,” he would be innocent of that definition of rape.

Another case, that of former NFL cheerleader Kristan Ware, illustrates this same confusion of terminology that leads to ambiguity in consent. It is never specifically outlined that to be an NFL cheerleader, a girl must be open to sexual objectification, sexual harassment and molestation. Yet the situation of Kristan Ware conveys that our culture expects just that; the article “Another Former N.F.L. Cheerleader Files a Complaint,” by John Branch, states,

Ware said some Dolphins cheerleading coaches mocked her after other cheerleaders learned that she was a virgin, planning to wait for marriage to have sex. At a 2016 rehearsal for a fashion show at which cheerleaders modeled bikinis, Ware claims, she was dressed with angel wings — something Ware believes was a poke at her virginity — and then physically grabbed and verbally harangued by Grogan as she exited the runway.

If this response is expected, accepted even, then the NFL should create its own definition of consent. This new definition would state something similar to, “In accepting the job of cheerleader in the NFL, a female consents to the receipt of all forms of sexual language and sexual touching.”

Granted, the definitions created in this paper would likely never be adopted by any institution, but they serve to demonstrate how even the most clear situations can be skewed with unclear language. Because the legal system has not altered the definition of rape to exclude “romantic contexts,” it should be clear that by the existing scholarly definitions, Cosby has committed rape, yet actors in the criminal justice system still struggle with their determinations. It should also be clear that because the NFL has no contract explicitly stating that cheerleaders consent to “sexual language and sexual touching,” Ware’s case was one of illegal sexual harassment. Unfortunately, the number of definitions of consent and rape in existence serve to further confuse an already difficult concept.



An Updated Definition of Rape. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Branch, J. (2018, April 12). Another Former N.F.L. Cheerleader Files a Complaint. Retrieved from

Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) – Rape and Sexual Assault. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Definitions|Sexual Violence|Violence Prevention|Injury Center|CDC. (2018, April 10). Retrieved from

Eichelberger, E. (2017, June 25). Men Defining Rape: A History. Retrieved April 16, 2018, from

NISVS Summary Reports|National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey|Funded Programs|Violence Prevention|Injury Center|CDC. (2017, September 25). Retrieved from

The Latest: Cosby jury ends Day 1 without a verdict. (2018, April 25). Retrieved from

Tolentino, J. (2017, June 14). Bill Cosby’s Defense and Its Twisted Argument About Consent. Retrieved from


definition rewrite- thenaturalist

When a person is born their childhood is already defined what jobs their parents have and what they have. As they grow older they are more and more defined by whatever their parents are able to give them. they are influenced by what their parents go through, because until they are old enough to understand what they have or who they are they are defined by the previous upbringing of their parents.

When a child is brought up in a multiracial household they face the discrimination that both parents endure. They see the struggle of each race or skin color faces. They are told stories of the oppression and have to hold that on their back for the rest of their life.

These children grow up to face many uncomfortable situations that many monoracial people would see as insulting and rude, these situations have an effect on their psyche. In an article by Astrea Greig, Understanding the Stressors and Types of Discrimination that can Affect Multiracial Individuals, situations discussed include being forced to choose one race rather than being able to identify as mixed, or being called an “other”, situations come up where you are assumed as one race and the group of people starts making racial slurs against a race you identify as.

A research article, Understanding the Unique Experiences of Multiracial Individuals, raises awareness about the importance of understanding multiracial people when they are receiving therapy. When dealing with multiracial clients a tool used is the Multiracial Challenges and Resilience Scale, MCRS. A study was conducted asking multiracial people in urban areas to answer a series of questions concerning; others disbelief regarding racial background, lack of family acceptance, multiracial discrimination, appreciation of human differences, challenges with identity, and pride with racial background. The three studies conducted showed that on average 75% experienced discrimination specifically related to being multiracial.

So what nobody dares to talk about is the possibility of other ethnicities having the privilege or is privilege even a real thing.

Privilege is believed to be an advantage that you are born with, you are not acquired privilege. When applying the idea of privilege to race a person’s advantage varies from being hired over another based on skin color to have an easier time buying groceries at a grocery store. It is defined by Merriam Webster dictionary as “a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor”, with this definition it is assumed that only white people experience privilege or experience more privilege than another race.

Privilege is not even brought up when being raised because privilege is what your parents can provide you. Privilege has nothing to do with skin color because of how broad the subject is. In the research of privilege done by Linda L. Black and David Stone it cannot be determined whether “birthright” privilege is real because by definition privilege is “…any entitlement, sanction, power, and advantage or right granted to a person or group” multiracial people are being more discriminated against as they are believed to have more of an advantage over someone else who is part of one of their races. Nature Duran-Smith from Affinity Magazine has experienced first hand “Being… the black sheep” and being “…exposed to stereotypes of every race you are mixed with.”

Privilege is a hard pill to swallow but skin color and race are not the only things people need to stop and think about. A study group by Black and Stone showed that there were 20 categories of privilege. The category of privilege is broadened by gender, sexuality, age, religion and so forth. The idea of privilege is too broad to believe that because a person is multiracial that they face more privilege than the less desired race.

Definition Argument-Rewrite

What is a mantra, and how does it apply to self-help?

Mantras are a self-help tool promoted by the personal-enrichment community that promises to help practitioners to improve their attitude and mood towards their everyday lives. Celebrities dominant in the fields of television such Oprah Winfrey practice mantra usage themselves, and promote it as a way to squash negative thoughts and attitudes towards yourself. The power of words has been observed for centuries, and modern-day practitioners are just the most recent people to have recognized mantra usage as a way to improve their everyday lives.

Wildmind, a site about Buddhist meditation defines mantras as “words or phrases that are chanted out loud or internally as objects of meditation” Many cultures throughout the ages have believed in the power of words whether it be for meditation or for spiritual reasons. The power of words expands beyond just Buddhism, however. Even in modern day English the connections between magic and words can be found. For instance, the word “spell” can mean both how to write a word or mystic words said to use magic. Further back in time, the words glamour and grammar share an interesting origin, all based on how words reached and evolved in different parts of Europe.

Gramma-techne was the Greek term for the science or art of letters. This came into English as the word grammar, but also came in Scots (as “glammer”) to mean “to cast a spell upon”… The word glammer was anglicized as glamour, and came to have its more contemporary romantic and aesthetic associations, where someone is able to influence us, not by the power of their words, but by the beauty of their appearance.

If we travel to India, words, specifically names, had powers of their own. It was believed that if someone knew the true name of a god, then that person would be able to call upon that god for help. All religions in one form or another see words as powerful. Prayer is found in many religions, and it both uses words to help us ease our minds of something we may want or hope for, and acknowledges the possible existence of a higher power.

Even as kids we acknowledged the existence of power in words. Many of us pretended to be magicians by saying “Abracadabra” while moving our magic wands over our hats, and pulling out an invisible rabbit to the amazement of our parents. Pop culture cultivates new words all the time that have strong meanings. Every few months, there are new, fad words created, and people use them to try and seem cool. Not saying them make us seem like outcasts, and saying old ones make us seem slow.

In the modern era, mantras are popular because of how easy they appear to be. Giovanni Dienstmann, a meditation teacher and coach, helps us to better understand the thought process behind repeating a word or phrase. He says, “Sound is vibration. And all the cells in our bodies are vibrating. Everything in the universe is vibrating, and each has its own rhythm. Our thoughts and feelings are, indeed, vibrations in your body and your consciousness.” He goes on further to claim that it also effects our hormones, thinking, behavior, and our psychological well-being.

“Sound, rhythm and speech have profound effects on your body, thoughts, and emotions. Mantra meditation is the use of these three elements with the purpose of purifying, pacifying and transforming your mind and heart.”

Dienstmann calls mantras “instruments of the mind” that can help us change our body and psyche. For mantras to be effective, we need to focus only on the word or words so that we are no disturbed by other thoughts. It creates a peaceful feeling that can be held for as long as we can focus on just the words of the mantra.

The next step is for us to decide which type of mantra is right for us. There are two types, according to Dienstmann: secular and spiritual. The secular approach is for those who wish to keep their mantra usage separate from their religion, and is commonly used to try and help someone feel better, relax, or grow as a person. It’s relatively easy to begin using mantras. It starts by finding an attribute that we want to instill in ourselves, and then using it for a few minutes. If we feel that it’s working, then we can keep using it. If not, we can always find another one until we find the right one. This is the more common form, and is the one we’ll see commonly recommended by reality TV doctors and other TV personalities.

The other type, spiritual, is meant to have more meaning. There’s normally a specific religious goal, or something very specific that a person is looking to achieve. Dienstmann recommends picking, “a traditional mantra – a word or sound that has been used by spiritual seekers for centuries, with noble attitude and intention.” The usual origins for a lot of these words come from many middle eastern countries. That said, he insists that the replicating the exact pronunciation and intonation of the word or words is important since there is a specific sound vibration being looked for.

Spiritual mantras feature a more rigorous process to use than secular does.  The first step, he says, is to “Find a teacher/master of that tradition – someone you respect – and ask him or her to suggest a mantra for you.” Given that mantras aren’t popular to the common person, this can be a difficult process. Once we’ve found it though, experimentation is key. Rather than trying each one for a few minutes, he insists that we experiment with it for a few days, until we find the one that works best for us. The key difference between secular and spiritual mantras is that we must keep the mantra a secret because “sacred is secret.”

The article goes further in depth about the different ways we can use the words and what the best way us to position ourselves is, but for a newcomer to mantras, it isn’t necessary just yet.



Dienstmann, George. “Mantra Meditation – The Why, the How, and the Methods.” Live and Dare, 2 Feb. 2018,

Bodhipaksa. “Mantra Meditation.” Wildmind Buddhist Meditation, 2006,