Author Archives: Telana

Blog Post 4

Mineta, David. “Decriminalization Would Increase the Use and the Economic and Social Costs of Drugs.”Americas Quarterly. Americas Society, Fall 2010. Web. 12 Aug. 2015.


David Mineta is Deputy Director for Demand Reduction at the Office of National Drug Control Policy. In his article, Mineta argues that decriminalization of marijuana would increase use, along with the associated health and social costs. Mineta begins his argument by addressing that decriminalization will not solve the budget crisis, reduce prison overcrowding, or cripple drug cartels and that these claims are not supported by evidence. Mineta goes on to compare two legal substances, alcohol and tobacco, that have been used more widespread due to them being legal. According to Mineta, “alcohol and tobacco cause hundreds of thousands more deaths per year than all illegal drugs combined”. Mineta points out that marijuana is less accepted and less widely used mostly because it is illegal. Mineta continues his argument by claiming that decriminalization will increase addiction. Legal drugs are cheap and easy to obtain. High profits would make the addiction business lucrative, Mineta states. Mineta concludes his article by reiterating that the increased use that decriminalization would bring increased addiction and costs.

Although I agree that Mineta offered some convincing evidence using statistical sources, his argument is faulty. Mineta misrepresents those who are in favor of the decriminalization of marijuana by claiming that their arguments are usually just a rhetorical and political tool to advocate the legalization of marijuana. Instead of addressing his opponent’s actual position, Mineta invents their argument for decriminalization and then tears it down with his reasons in order to make the opposing position appear false or ridiculous. For this reason, I consider this example a straw person fallacy and an intellectually dishonest strategy because Mineta simply ignores those in support of decriminalization and substitutes it for a distorted, exaggerated version. Mineta criticizes those in favor of decriminalizing minor marijuana offenses by stating that their reasons are simply just a tool in an effort to encourage the actual legalization of marijuana.

Overall, the way Mineta approaches this argument in a way that could be ineffective to his audience. Mineta seems like a credible source because of his position as a Deputy Director for Demand Reduction at the Office of National Drug Control Policy, but his straw person fallacy questions this credibility and hinders his argument as a whole.


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RS 4

Salzman, Michelle. “From Actress to Activist.” USC Dornsife College News RSS. USC Dornsife, 23 May 2012. Web. 03 Aug. 2015.

In America Ferrera’s open letter to Donald Trump, she responds to his racist comments about Latino immigrants by thanking him instead of chastising him. “From Actress to Activist” is related to “Thank You, Donald Trump” in that it provides background about Ferrera and her passion for social activism specifically in the Latino community. This source teaches me that Ferrera, is active in the community and is very vocal about international relations, social issues, and global awareness. It informs of Ferrera’s fight for social change.

This is a credible source because it is informative about Ferrera and her passion for social activism. The speaker is credible as well. Michelle Salzman is a journalism student at the University of Southern California who sat in on a lecture given by Ferrera in an international relations class. Salzman provides credible reflections from international relations students who listened to Ferrera’s lecture and quotes from Ferrera herself. The publisher, USC College of Letters, Arts and Science, keeps students up-to-date with departmental news and events by publishing credible articles. The publisher seems believable because most of the news articles that are published are informative and recent news having to do with the university.

The articles begins by discussing America Ferrera’s start at USC as a freshman studying international relations while also pursuing a career in acting. Ferrera struggled between two career paths: social activism and acting, but eventually knew how the two could work together. Salzman goes on to discuss how Ferrer has focused her efforts of making a positive change. In 2010, Ferrera partnered with Save the Children, a nongovernmental organization dedicated to improving the lives of disadvantaged children in the United States and around the world (Salzman). In 2011, Ferrera met with President Barack Obama at the White House to discuss immigrant issues with prominent Latinos in the United States (Salzman). In the effort to fight social change, Ferrera is writing a case study on celebrity diplomacy—how those in the public sphere use their influence to bring attention to global issues. Salzman concludes with a quote from Ferrera: “You guys have just as much responsibility to think about what you care about and try to make a difference. Nobody gets a free pass.”


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Blog Post 3

Blog Post 3


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RS 3: Thank You, Donald Trump!

Ferrera, America. “Thank You, Donald Trump!” The Huffington Post., 03 July 2015. Web. 29 July 2015.

Of Honduran descent, America Ferrera was born and raised in Los Angeles. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a degree in International Relations. Ferrera is an award winning actress and a positive image of Latinos in popular culture, serving as a mentor to young Latinas and working to empower Latino community. In her open letter to Donald Trump, Ferrera responds to Trump’s comments about Latino immigrants. Ferrera reminds Trump that he called Latino immigrants people who bring drugs, crime and rape to America. Ferrera argues that even though his comments were, in Ferrara’s words, “incredibly ignorant and racist”, she is writing him not to chastise him, but to thank him instead.

Ferrara begins her argument by stating that she thinks that Trump’s comments about Latino immigrants are worth addressing, however she feels as though his business partners, Univison and NBC, have the power to scold him where it hurts. Instead, she satirically thanks Trump. According to Ferrara, Trump sent Latino voters straight to the polls with his comments. She admits that his tactic proves to be more effective when it comes to getting Latinos to vote. She goes on to write that Trump’s remarks brilliantly energized Latino voters and increased turnout on election day to vote against him.

According to Ferrera, Latinos are the largest, youngest and fastest-growing constituency in the United States. Ferrera states, “That’s right! You are running for President in a country where the Latino population grew by over 49 percent from 2000-2012, while the rest of the country grew by 5.8 percent.” Ferrera points out that Trump made comments towards a community that could be the determining factor on whether or not he receives the necessary votes to be President. Ferrara also claims that Latinos are the future and that they aren’t going anywhere.
Ferrara points out to Trump that without the Latino vote, there is no chance of him ever winning the election. Ferrara emphasizes to Trump that if he doesn’t believe her to ask former President Bush or President Obama.

Ferrara goes on to remind Trump of America’s recent milestones such as marriage equality, universal healthcare, and the removal of the confederate flag. She points out the positive direction the country is moving in which is why racist remarks won’t change anything. She asserts that Trump’s racist remarks will only rally more Latino voters to the polls and ignite a fire in the community. Ferrara once again thanks Mr. Trump.

Ferrara continues by thanking Trump for reminding the Latino community that there are still bigots in the country that need to be combated and to not sit at home on election day, but to run to the polls. Ferrara thanks Trump for sending out the rallying cry. She stresses that Trump fails to see that immigrants made up the nation. Ferrara concludes by telling Trump that he will not reduce the Latino community to drug dealers and rapist. Ferrara emphasizes that people of the Latino community are valedictorians and honor students. They are college graduates, bankers, police officers, entertainers, teachers, the future of America, and so much more. Ferrara ends her letter by telling Trump to “Keep it up!”


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I Am My Communities

It was difficult trying to choose only two communities that I felt meant the most to me because I am a very passionate person. All of these communities make up who I am. However, I guess the two that stood out the most to me were being a black woman and a filmmaker.

I chose being a black woman as one of my communities because when people look at me, they don’t see who I am, but they see my light shade of brown skin. The things I value most about this community is that black women are strong, independent, and intelligent. They are bold, beautiful, ageless, matriarchs, and so many other great things. That is how I see myself and that is what I strive to be–an empowering, strong black woman. Yet, black women are stereotyped as angry, “ratchet”, aggressive, and uneducated–just to name a few. I am none of these things. This negative imagery of black women is something that is always been a part of society that is why I look up to empowering and successful black females such as Rosa Parks, Oprah Winfrey, First Lady Michelle Obama, and so many other great women of color. I’ve had the pleasure of growing up with such a person in my life–my mom. Being a single mother of four isn’t easy, but her strength, positive outlook, and ability to make a way out of no way is the reason I am the young woman I am today.

The second community that means the most to me is the filmmaking community. The thing I value most about being apart of this community is that it allows me to tell stories. I can tell any story I want as a filmmaker. Filmmaking is an art that allows creativity to be harvested into great narratives. Films allow people to not only be entertained but to learn and experience something they’ve never experienced before. Although I’ve never heard of any stereotypes about the filmmaking community, I’m sure they are out there. Ultimately, I’m just a girl that loves film. I never saw people like me making film the way that I thought I could and by “me” I mean a black woman. Recently, I’ve began to idolize women such as Ava Duvernay, Shonda Rhimes, and Debbie Allen. These black women have made huge impacts to the film and TV industries by telling stories that mean something to them. That is my goal. I feel as though I have so many stories to tell, but not just any stories–my stories. In the words of Peter Jackson, “The most honest form of filmmaking is to make a film for yourself.” This couldn’t be truer.

The organizations that I’m interested in are African American Cultures (AACC), Students For the Advancement of Diverse Represention in the Arts (SADRA), and any of the A Cappella groups. AACC promotes cultural diversity, leadership, and service. SADRA is an organization that produces new plays and films written by and/or for people of color in order to provide artistic opportunities for exceptional yet underrepresented undergraduate film and theatre students. I sing (another community I belong to) so an a Cappella group is a perfect way to meet people who love music and singing as much as you do.

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RS 2

Schatz, Bryan. “LIFE FOR 2 BAGS OF WEED.” Mother Jones July/August 2015. ProQuest. Web. 19 July 2015

Bryan Schatz is a magazine editor, journalist, and a former teacher. He covers social issues, foreign affairs, and subcultures for various news publications. In his article, Schatz argues against the cruel sentences given to the many who are charged with minor marijuana offenses. Schatz begins his argument by stating how there are Americans that are smoking freely, but there are still those who are rotting in jail because of a little pot. Schatz goes on to describe the situation of a man named Fate Vincent Winslow.

Winslow is a homeless man who is staying in the poor part of Shreveport, Louisiana when he is approached by a guy and he asks him what he’s looking for, Schatz describes. That guy, an undercover cop, says he wants “two dimes” and promises a five dollar commission. For Winslow, five dollars means a good meal so he brings the guy two bags of marijuana, worth $10 each, and finds himself in the backseat of a squad car. Three months later, Winslow is found guilty and sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole, Schatz concludes.

According to Schatz, hearing about Winslow’s punishment-to die behind bars for a transaction involving a miniscule amount of pot is very hard to believe, but not unique. Schatz argues that every year, more people are arrested for pot possession than violent crimes and around 40,000 people are currently serving time for offenses involving a drug that has been decriminalized or legalized in twenty-seven states and Washington, DC. Even as Americans’ attitudes toward marijuana have mellowed, in Schatz’s words, “the law has yet to catch up, leaving pot offenders subject to draconian sentences from the war on drugs.” Schatz points out that despite the fact that society has become more accepting of marijuana usage, the government and criminal justice system has yet to do something about the lives that are wasting in jail. He acknowledges this claim by referencing a quote from a criminal defense attorney that admits that although the world has changed, there are still people sitting in prison for such minor offenses.

Schatz claims that most pot offenders are casualties of drug laws that may treat marijuana like hard drugs, as well as “three strikes” laws that do not distinguish between armed robbery and selling a dime bag. Schatz argues that some federal prisoner serving time for crack cocaine offenses can have their offenses shortened because of the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act, but there is no such reform for marijuana sentences. For now, Schatz concludes, that his sole hope for marijuana lifers is clemency. However, Schatz writes that clemency granted by the president or a governor is rare.

I found this source useful because it provides a viewpoint that gives various reasons as to why minor marijuana offenses are an issue when it comes to sentencing in the criminal justice system. It made a lot of sense and was very insightful. I believe this source could be valuable to anyone who is not sure what happens to those who are charged with marijuana possession. It can lead to a life sentence just for having a drug that is even legal in other states.

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