Tuesday, April 28, 2009


The point that myself and my group were trying to make with this final project is the division of the multiple cultures in New Brunswick. It was obvious to us that the Spanish-speaking culture was a disadvantage in certain parts of New Brunswick, for the simple fact that many areas are condensed with English-speaking, oblivious college students. We wanted to capture how a task, as simple as food shopping, could be so different between various groups of people. For a white-collar worker, a location such as C-Town may be a mindless stop on the way home to pick up a few things that they forgot at their larger supermarket. But for the single, young mother of four, a C-Town trip may have to be strategically planned out to fit her budget and schedule. There were some of the issues we wanted to raise with our final project at C-Town.

The collision of all these different people at this one awkward location could be the premise for some very interesting things to happen. While we were at C-Town we saw no interracial interactions between anyone, except for us when we decided to try to interview some customers. In order to capture the feelings of a Hispanic person in an English speaking country, we formulated our project based on the idea of what it would be like to be in the Spanish-speaking population's shoes. The dilemmas faced by this group on a daily basis are endless, but we decided to focus on the language barrier and how that can lead to other problems. The goal of our project was to have the class experience the role of a person that they may feel very removed from. We want the class to know what it feels like to be a Hispanic, Spanish-speaking in America with limited English-speaking skills.

The location of C-Town is the point where the old New Brunswick ends and new New Brunswick begins. The Rutgers residence hall Rockoff is directly across the street from C-Town. On the other side of the C-Town is a large Hispanic population.

Our project breaks the class up into groups with half of the students on the inside of the store and half on the outside. The people on the outside of the store are distributed a map of the store, and the students on the inside of the store are to be guided by these maps. We came up with the map idea as if it were a keyboard and the students on the inside were cursors on a computer screen, maneuvered by the outside students. The students on the inside are provided with a shopping list, but the list is in Spanish. The two groups communicate through cell phones to find all of the items on the list. Once the students find the selected items, there will be an index card that explains the signifcance of the item to the person who's list they have. We hope that some of the same emotions that the Spanish customers feel in America the students will experience as well.

There were a few readings that correlated to our project directly. Those readings are "Mapping the Homunculus", "A Different City for a Different Life", "Site Specifics", and "Critical Vehicles".
First, "Mapping the Homunculus" reflects our idea for mapping in our project. Since maps are the oldest form of tracking, we thought it would be interesting for the students on the outside of the store to know where the students inside the store were. "A Different City for a Different Life" discusses the urbanism that takes over cities and gives them a different feel. I can testify myself that I have seen this happen in New Brunswick. Rutgers was built so integrally in the city that it is hard to distinguish the two. With the combination of Rutgers University and Johnson & Johnson, urbanism has taken over New Brunswick. "Site Specifics" is relative to our, and everybody's project, because it raises the fact that the location of the work is essential for the success of that work and it can be done nowhere else. C-Town in New Brunswick is unlike any other supermarket I've ever seen. This exact supermarket is the only place where we could conduct this project, because the racial dynamics are distinct here. Lastly, the "Critical Vehicles" article brings up the issue of immigrants adapting to the environment of large buildings. This subsection discusses how immigrants and all others interact in this environment. This is an everyday reality of New Brunswick residents and Rutgers students. Although the interaction is usually ignored, it is still present. Most of the Rutgers students ignore the residents of New Brunswick and it's an interesting fact to examine because the two worlds are so closely related yet so separate.

With our project, we hope to bring a new perspective to the race relations in New Brunswick. In a city where there are so many different types of people, it is a shame that we all go along not acknowleding each other. Trying to even be an immigrant in America is hard, but when another group of people, such as Rutgers students, start to integrate the area, it makes it even harder to adapt. We hope that this project offers an opportunity for the students to live in the shoes of four hypothetical people to understand the various struggles.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Perspective on "Following".

There is more following going on in the world than I care to acknowledge. And I refuse to knowingly and deliberately add to that. I avoided following. Fact. In my opinion, so did many other people who attempted to try it, or maybe we just all had conflicting definitions of the term. Regardless, I feel like I was warranted to make the choice I did, even though I "covered" it up with the so-called documenting of Phil. The reason that I hate even being asked to follow someone is because I feel like I am being followed all the time. In the dining hall. On the bus. At my apartment. And it is a very unsettling feeling that I would never want to put on some stranger for the sake of a grade. There are so many issues of this world of Big Brother that we're living in and I don't necessarily think it's fair to add paranoia to some one's life because it was an assignment. Since I know that there is someone out there can tap into my life and physically see me and what I'm doing, even at this very moment, and I will never know who they are or what they're doing gives me every single right to be paranoid, because obviously I am. And who is to say that this unknown someone isn't watching me every single day? Who's to say they don't have a master plan that I'll never know about until it smacks me in the face? You may think I'm over exaggerating or that I am just out of my mind but with the technology available
in this day and age and the mental state of so many people around the globe, we all should be scared.
I see following as stalking and stalking is scary. In my mind, stalking is associated with tragedy. Rape. Murder. Obsession. I am not that person who thinks about any of these things so why would I want to be associated with such? So much of my implicitly dodging this assignment has to do with who I am and the boundaries that I set for myself. I cannot identify with following a random somebody for a check in the box that says I did it. In order for me to even fathom the idea of literally following someone without any of their consent, there would have to be deep and damn near desperate motivation to do so. Like if I felt my husband was cheating on me and I had to have hard, factual evidence to believe it. Or if I suspected my daughter was doing fatal drugs and I wanted to know her whereabouts. And even in those life changing, life threatening circumstances, these are still people I would love and care for unconditionally. Not some random Joe on the street. The risk of that stranger's reaction is too big. We never know what people are carrying with them until something triggers it. Use my confession in class as an example.
My fear of the world today and what people are capable of is something that I have not yet learned how to overcome. But what I have learned is how to keep myself out of potential dangerous situations, which means if I don't have to follow someone, I won't. There are so many terrifying visions that my mind comes up with of possible fates for myself or my loved ones and that is where these feelings come from. That someday some crazy person could do something tragic and I will never be able to come back from that. People are capable to do so many things and that can either be completely amazing or utterly devastating, but I am not brave enough to take that "risk" or even a much lesser risk.
I am guilty of staying in my comfort zone and since the assignment was just to follow, I turned it into something I was able to do without feeling like a creep. This way of handling the task was not exclusive to me. I could have followed a familiar stranger because I have seen them enough times to gather that they are sane and won't do anything ridiculous if they realize what I'm doing. But taking back shots of a girl who lives in my building or my boyfriend in the same type of "documenting" I partook in. So I assume most of us are pretty nervous with leaving our comfort zones, whether it be the people that surround us or our campus. And maybe nobody really discovered anything significant or amazing in this assignment except the fact that most, if not all, of us are scaredy cats. There was serious potential to step outside of the box and find something a little deeper than what we had already discovered, and I know the fact that we didn't really do that is a disappointment. Maybe I just discovered that this fear of mine is greater than I could have ever imagined and I never would have if I wasn't asked to analyze it and I don't know nor am I concerned with if that is impressive to anyone.
As far as what David said about following a person who knows you're following them but it's an agreement and they aren't going to acknowledge you...well, I told Phil to act as natural as possible. But is that even realistic? We cannot control the actions of the people we follow, stranger or companion. They are going to go about their day regardless. So the question of following only boils down to another, maybe more complex question:
Who is the judge of what following is or is not? And will we all ever be able to come to a consensus about the definition?
Because if that question cannot be answered, than there is no right nor is there a wrong.


This is Phil being followed. Stalker.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

This picture is so classic to me. It could only be The Satorialist.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My Map.

View Larger Map


So next week is Spring Break. Thank the Lord. I'm actually writing this as Hana is taking attendance haha...I was supposed to write in this thing since last week, but you know how it goes.


Anyway, I've been thinking about some things. Like, what is really the point of college? People graduate and still live regular, mediocre lives anyway. I don't want to have a mediocre life. I want an adventurous life. I want to travel, India and Italy and Paris. The U.S. can be so boring. Ugh.

So last week in class Hana let everyone know that I have a completely different personality in class and out of class. She couldn't be more right! Lol. I just thought it was so funny that she noticed and said it. The reason is because I am a natural born sleep-all-day kind of girl. I mean literally, ALL DAY. All of my other classes don't start until at least 4:30 pm everyday. So 11:30 is early for me, as sad as that may seem. I know, I know. I'm wasting the whole day laying in the bed. I will grow out of this when I have a real job that does not tolerate lateness. Until then, I will continue to be the number one sleeper at Rutgers University. And I'm saying all of this to say that this is why I am such a drag in class. Hana, my most sincere apologies! I will pick it up for the second half of the semester. You have my word.

I would also like to say that I am completely bummed about spring break. As necessary as it is, I have no type of exciting plans. Jamaica was a possibility, but that is not happening. Not even close. Sad. Face. Ugh! I cannot wait until I can do whatever I want whenever I want. When that time comes, everyone who loves me should live in great fear, cuz I'm out! Leaving the country without telling a soul. Well maybe I'll tell Phillip, but hopefully he'll be with me. I know he'll figure something out. He IS a genius you know. Haha. Check out his brainwork at www.theawardtour.com. Gosh, I love that kid.

Oh my goodness! My brother got into Stern, which is the graduate school at NYU!!!! YAYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!! We, as in the Davis's, are so very proud of him! So I want you all to be proud of him too, because it is no easy task. So exciting, so dope.

So as I was doing My Map on Google, I started thinking of like, all the places I want to go. But I never got around to it. I never spend enough time on my work. It's because, like I said before, I'm sleeping all the time. I need some discipline. But anyway, as I was looking at my map, I realized how close all the balloons were. Which made me feel like, Gosh Naeemah! Get out into the world and do something! And. I will. Very soon.

My girl Danielle is about to present, so I'm out. Nice earrings today Hana.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Answer for Miriam's question for C++: #4 "Why is one attached to space?"

I do not think one is attached to space, but place. Place is the safe zone, the setting that we are familiar with and find comfort and security in. Space is less definable. It can be anywhere, and it can be vast. Space is what we long for; place is what we are attached to. I think. Haha.

Answer for Justin's question for C++: #1 "Does the possibility of constant surveillance in our society pose an insurmountable threat to human freedom?"

I do think that uncontrollable and constant surveillance poses an immense threat on our privacy. This possibility means that we could be watched at ALL TIMES: showers, changing clothes, having sex, cheating, etc. There would be no concept of privacy. How could we be free is we're constantly being watched? Naturally, we would be free to do the things that we would want to do. But who would really feel comfortable doing any of these things with the possibility of being watched? I do not think many people would take that chance.

Answer for Kira's question for Space and Place: #1 "The reading makes it out that being in a 'place' is more comfortable than being in a 'space,' for it is more familiar, but is that really true for everyone? what about those "wandering spirits" like Christopher McCandless, whose story was written by Jonathan Krakauer in "Into The Wild"? He was not comfortable in the 'place' of society, and longed to trek through the wilderness of Alaska."

I do not think there is anything that is true for everyone, and certainly not the topic at hand. However, I do feel like the majority of people would find "place" more comfortable than space, because it is familiar and most people (I think) are not always open and excited to explore the unknown. As for "Into the Wild", this character is a rare character, because even if most people felt the same way, they would not bury their money and retreat into the forest to experience what life was like in solidarity. Also, I think it is important to note that at the end of the book, the character comes to the realization that the beauty of life is useless if you cannot share it with other people.