Stereotypes of a UWI student

I was walking through Port-of-Spain one day and I saw one of my old friends whom I had not seen for years. We were catching up and he asked me what I was currently doing. I then replied that I now attend UWI St Augustine in my second year. When he heard I attend UWI, he automatically labelled me as a limer. I then and there had to “put him in his place” and let him know that yes I “lime” occasionally but I am not just a “typical” UWI student. I know what I want in life so therefore I balance my social life with my school life. He then tried to justify his statement by saying “well I know how allya UWI students like to lime.” That is when I grew an interest for Trinistarrfyre’s theme of her blog since I actually faced being stereotyped.

So  I am pretty sure that  everyone, at some point in their life has watched at least one movie about being at university and how students are divided into these cliché stereotypes. Being  a university student myself and experiencing the UWI “lifestyle”, it is evident that particular stereotypes are associated to a typical UWI student. Stereotypes are generalizations about a group of people where particular characteristics are ascribed to them. So you are probably wondering why does one place stereotypes on groups of people who maintain particular characteristics. According to Gordon Allport, Stereotypes are formed in order to make sense of the world that we live in. Allport suggested that humans understand better when things are categorized, as a result stereotypes are made as a form of categorization to simplify and rationalise data.

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Stereotypes may not always be true but when someone hears that you are a UWI student they automatically place you into one of these following stereotypes.

  1. The delinquents: This first stereotype are the students that never show up for class, never does assignments and basically the one that leaves home to go to class and never reaches. They are also the ones that encourages others not to go class as well. So my advise, if you encounter one of these, beware.cropped-d-for-delinquent-movie-poster-9999-1020429253
  2. The Card players:This is the second type of delinquent. At UWI St Augustine, you will also encounter this type of student. They are usually found in The Student Activity Center (SAC) or in the food court AKA Bangladesh. Basically all this type of student does is play All fours all day. If there was a degree on this game they would be 4.0’s.                                              SONY DSC
  3. The Feters: This type of student can be seen in nearly every fete that is being held in Trinidad. So basically they are the ones that are always tried from partying to hard but when exams come around , Party dun!                                  images
  4. Party promoters: These are the ones that throws and promotes the biggest parties and biggest “fetes”. They are usually very known around the university and anytime u see them around they always have some party to invite you to.images (1)
  5. The Participatory students: This type of student is well-rounded. They attend classes, attend seminars, research day and well basically everything. They are very involved in the student guild and are usually identified by those who create partitions, forms of protests on behalf of their student guild and may even run for President.                               UWI_PROTEST
  6. The Nerds AKA the 4.0’s: These students are the geniuses. Basically they know exactly what they are at university for. They are the ones that top the class and reads the whole text-book before the semester even starts.These are the ones that leave with  First class honors. They are the real MVP’s.images (2)

Though some of these attributes are seen in some students don’t necessarily mean that those titles define them. I mean what happened to the typical student. The student who attends class most times but sometimes just doesn’t make it because that party that they went last weekend just got the best of them. The student that plays cards sometimes but then goes class after. I’m not saying that these types of students doesn’t exist but from my point of view students of this generation aren’t so typical.

notsotypical

We are well-rounded students who actually have a balance between our social life and our School life. According to Paul Watzlawick, The self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that causes itself to be true since that expectation or label causes the person to unconsciously react to that label given. From that I think that stereotyping someone actually makes the person become that label so be carefull of what you are labeling people as because it might just come true!

Special thanks to Rhea aka TriniAdvice for contributing to my blog as a guest blogger 🙂

Here’s a link to her blog which deals with The Impacts of Social Media on Relationships https://triniadvice.wordpress.com/

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“Where all that traffic does come from Daddyyyy?”- Bumpers Like Rain!

I’m not speaking about the typical connotative bumpers we “jam on” for Carnival. We’re talking bumper to fender traffic piled up on our Nation’s highways, main roads, back roads, nooks and crannies; your granddaddies took to check your grannies. STANDSTILL TRAFFIC, everywhere.

Photo: Wa Chubble is Dis
Photo: Wa Chubble is Dis

It’s Monday 23rd March, 2015… and this is what our roadways look like

Photo courtesy Marlon Arman-Marquis
Photo courtesy Marlon Arman-Marquis
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Photo: CNC3

This “unplanned roadblock” began from as early as 5am exactly one week ago Monday morning, I remember waking up to finding out about endless traffic, statuses going on up Facebook one after the next about “Police checking everything” and “Traffic like mad” I had absolutely no intentions of leaving my house to be held up in traffic for menacing hours.

Children were unable to get to school, employers and employees alike were all unable to reach the workplaces, flights were cancelled, banks were unable to open, the PBR was at a standstill, the EMR jammed and let’s not speak about the Highways. .

The greatest however, were the images that were flooding social networks. Photos taken by the frustrated drivers held up in traffic of Police officers efficiently and meticulously doing their work by checking oil, spare tires etc. because we all know that in T&T the officers of TTPS are the most multi-talented and diverse. However, don’t mind my sarcasm. This was true; the image below is of a news report from CNC3

Photocred: CNC3 via "Wa Chubble is Dis?"

Photo: Wa Chubble is Dis
Photo: Wa Chubble is Dis

See didn’t I tell you they were checking every single thing?!

Let’s stray from this disaster that took place and focus on what the theme of this blog is about…. Stereotypes; this blog entry will delve into “Stereotypes attached to TTPS”

Photo: Wa Chubble is DIs
Photo: Wa Chubble is DIs

By no means are these MY PERSONAL VIEWS, the following are stereotypes I’ve heard over the past few years and the number of them that came up on my news feed during Monday’s roadblocks.

  • Police doesn’t do anything and get paid
  • Police corrupt
  • Police like too much woman
  • Police does take bribe
  • Police wotless
  • Police does wine on people for Carnival
  • Police disrespectful
  • Police like to abuse their power
  • Police slow and unresponsive to crime
  • Police afraid to go in bad man area
  • The worst man you could be with is a Police man
  • Police men are people who failed high school and getting paid more than people with degrees
  • Police were people who used to get bullied when they were younger so now they take advantage of other people

I can bet my last dollar, that you’ve at least heard 3 of these stereotypes; if not then you’re clearly not from Trinidad & Tobago or you’re a Police (no offense). However, are there truths to any of these stereotypes? Comment and let me know.

Now being as objective as I can be with the issue on Monday, the Police are in fact right for protesting for their raise of pay since they have one of the lowest paid jobs in public service as well as having the highest risk. According to the Secretary of the Police and Social Welfare Association, Michael Seales said that members have been complaining that since 2011 there has been no progress in the negotiations with the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO). Seales said the basic salary of a junior police officer was TT$5,123 (One TT dollar =US$0.16 cents) and just about TT$1,000 more in benefits. However, the manner in which they protested by holding our island under ransom caused massive losses to productivity and finances, which set the state back millions of dollars just for that one day. So yes, the police were wrong in the way they protested but they aren’t wrong for wanting a raise in pay.

If you’re a UWI student like me you would remember the strike of the OWTU, the janitors did not clean bathrooms or empty garbage for more than 2 weeks. The stench was unbearable and there was litter everywhere, garbage cans were overflowing and flies and bees were beginning to circulate.

Everyone protests in some way or the other to get what they want, this has become a norm in T&T so don’t be mad at the Police for protesting, be mad at them for holding the state as ransom. Also, don’t lose faith in them they were doing their job after all and very efficiently might I add. At the end of the day the Police are the first people we contact during emergencies and mishaps (excluding the Ambulance) so let’s work together with them instead of criticizing, give constructive criticism, they are not all bad, there are good ones out there.

Let’s just say thank God that T&TEC didn’t decide to strike

😀 :v (y)

REFERENCES:

Read more: http://www.caribbean360.com/news/trinidad-comes-to-a-virtual-standstill-as-police-deny-embarking-upon-industrial-action#ixzz3VqnONyT7

Wa Chubble is Dis via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Wachubbleisdis?ref=ts&fref=ts

CNC3 via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CNC3Television?ref=ts&fref=ts

Guardian: VIDEO: Gridlock across T&T roadways as police conduct stop and search exercises during rush hour traffic. Video: Jeff Mayers / T&T Guardian

De Only Good Red Thing is a Dollar

A calm Sunday evening while taking a drive with some friends around the savannah, we saw this gorgeous red-skinned girl. Her skin flawless, legs for days as she was showing them off in short shorts, curly hair, and brown eyes. Plaint talk… She was a looker (coming from a heterosexual female) even I did a double take, along with my two male and two female friends. Comments were “Damnnn that body”, “Omg, I love her hair”, “Woman to have”… and then out of the blue, “Too bad de only good red thing issa dollar!” that last comment had everyone else saying “For real” and in agreement. However, I’ve heard this all my life and its a social belief that majority of Trinibagonians use. Let’s be real if you’re a Trini there’s no doubt in my mind that you’ve heard that phrase.

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“De only good red thing is a dollar?” but why? My friends didn’t know the girl personally so why jump to that conclusion? This is where my curiosity to understand such a stereotype came from.

What does this statement even mean?

In the simplest way to put it, “De only good red thing is a dollar” with reference to a female who has lighter skin or as we know it “red skin” (usually mixed women), means that when it comes to red “things” the dollar beats back the woman, as the woman isn’t good, then she obviously has to be bad, right? Not really, this statement also attaches a connotation behind it that implies that “all red woman bad”. Don’t front here people we know what bad in Trini slang means.

trinidadmoney

Patriarchal Society

As much as we have feminists in an abundance these days, we can’t forget that we live in a patriarchal society where in the colonial era women were objectified and seen as objects to use, this is where we get the reference of encapsulating a women when speaking of “red things”

Unfair Stereotype

Being as objective as I can be and also doing research, surveys and ethnographic studies, I came to the conclusion that this stereotype is completely unfair to say the least. Majority of these women are usually perceived in a negative light because of this local stereotype that has existed since I could remember myself.

Why do people think red women are “bad”?

So I did some investigation into why people assume this. My method was to post a status on Facebook and allow the comments and opinions to pour in, the following images are screenshots of what was said.

The status I posted
The status I posted

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From the screenshots you can see that although there is some division among the comments, the majority of people agree that “the only good red thing is indeed a dollar”

The following are screenshots from a heated conversation about “red women” on Twitter:

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Now these screenshots are extreme opinions of red women

People have usually said:

  • Red women have a bad attitude
  • Red women feel they better than everyone else
  • Red women like to “horn”
  • Red women too stush
  • Red women like material things
  • Red women can’t cook
  • Red women too high maintenance
  • Red women only good for looks and nothing else

The list goes on and on and on and on

Good “red women”

I can’t agree with the popular consensus because I have red skinned friends who are nothing like what these stereotypes state. My friends are all humble, friendly, faithful , down to earth, independent and ambitious. These young women have more to offer than just their great looks and complexion. They’re all furthering their studies and have never been in any compromising situation where they characters were questionable. However, they have all been victims of these stereotypical comments and even thought they’ve complained, they moved passed them because their goals are bigger than stereotypes that aren’t true, especially those that are attached to them because of their complexion.

adri
Adriana Salandy Student at UWI BA in Psychology
faithy
Faith Espinoza Administrative Secretary, Student: Associates in Tourism Management
lizzie
Elizabeth Cox Corporate Secretary Student: Business Management

So to conclude this blog, the only good red thing IS INDEED a dollar, because women aren’t things… We’re human beings.

“I Live Where You Vacation”- Trinibagonian Stereotypes

“I live where you vacation”

"I Live Where You Vacation"
“I Live Where You Vacation”

Trinidad and Tobago’s scenic landscapes attract many tourist and quite often people are “surprised” when they observe that we actually have an economic industry beside tourism. Absurd right? I recently had an encounter with a relative from abroad who’s never been to T&T but has heard of it. The questions she asked me about where I live had me picking up my jaw from the floor. First the way she spoke as if I was deaf had me telling her, “I’m Trini… Not deaf.” made me think about how many other people think these very obnoxious stereotypes about our twin-islands. Here’s a list of general stereotypes I’ve come across, ranging from some drastic ones to some that have truth in them.

Anyone with a Caribbean accent is automatically from Jamaica

Sesame Street's Representation of the Caribbean
Sesame Street used Jamaica to represent the entire Caribbean

I have some friends studying abroad who frequently complain about foreigners asking them if they’re from Jamaica as soon as they hear their accents. Newsflash, not everyone with a Caribbean accent is from Jamaica. Jamaica isn’t the only island that exists in the Caribbean, get an atlas, this is the 21st Century. Seriously? Many times we can see Jamaica being used as a representation for the Caribbean as a whole, so the media is partly to blame for some of the stereotypes. Some may even blame Trinibagonians for not promoting their culture as much as Jamaicans do. However, the point is there are many other Caribbean accents and not all of them sound like Jamaicans and come from Jamaica. They’re the Bajans, the Vincentians, the St. Lucians and so forth.

Everyone in Trinidad lives next to a beach

Home to some of the most beautiful beaches
Home to some of the most beautiful beaches

Beside the fact that this question is so stereotypical, how is this logically possible that 1.2 million individuals has the beach as their backyards? What happens to all the other land away from the coastlines? Are they “undiscovered” still? This is such an annoying stereotype that upsets me because it makes me think that people believe all we do in Trinidad is live this hyper-fantasized idea of living on the beach and relaxing ALL THE TIME.

economy  Silhouette of oil platform in sea against moody sky at sunset

Let me eliminate that idea one time, we do not ONLY have beaches here in fact we have a series of successful business and we can boast of islands rich with natural resources. People hustle and bustle daily to their jobs which isn’t just being a coconut or doubles vendor, which brings me to my next point…

Coconut Vendors, Doubles Vendors, Vegetable Vendors and Women Making Ornaments at the road side.

COCONUTS2

This is such a pervasive stereotype that Trinbagonians and by extension Caribbean people face, that we do not have other jobs beside selling something made by hand or selling fruits and vegetable and honey at the side of the road. The movies really has a primitive way of portraying “island life” as extremely laid back and not taking things seriously, when in fact we do more than pick coconuts and sell.

All Trinis do is LIME!!!

ave

There is definitely some truth in this stereotype and if you say no, “Yuh blasted lying”. We see you on the Avenue liming and drinking, taking a wine on the ‘smallie’ that pass in the short shorts, you and your girls tracking that fineee man passing by and if you’re still in denial Triniscene and Lime.TT can prove you wrong.

Admit it, Carnival is the most anticipated time of the year for Trinbagonians whether you play mas or you’re anti-Carnival you still look forward to the season. Some may go to every single fete and participate in almost all/ all Carnival related activities. Whereas, those who participate may go to the beach or camp etc. Whatever you do you see it as a lime and Carnival happens to be a great reason to lime.

Carnival5
The Greatest Show on Earth

Let’s be real here whether you and your friends are catching up on some hot gossip over dinner or partying it out on the Avenue you’re still liming. Trinibagonians make a lime out of anything and find any reason to lime. Can’t necessarily blame us when we live where you vacation 🙂

“Woman make me a sandwich!”, said the man. GENDER STEREOTYPES IN SOCIETY

Men- breadwinner Women- homemaker
Men- breadwinner
Women- homemaker

Gender stereotypes have existed for as long as we all can remember. There has always been constant and fixed characteristics expected of men and women.

Oh mighty men, the strong and powerful, who are expected to be the breadwinners: dominant, independent and full of reason. While the ever so sensitive and fragile women who are natural caregivers and homemakers: submissive, dependent and emotional. These are just a few of the many characteristics expected from each gender role.

Stemming from medieval days, women were seen as objects “trophy wives” if we may call them. They were ornamental objects. Men made the decisions, they had the careers, they got the adventures. While women sat at home cooking, cleaning and taking care of the children; until her husband came home of course, so she could serve him. Women were not seen to be able to perform tasks that required much physical labor. The ads in the 1950s-1970s frequently portrayed women as helpless, weak and incompetent. This Del Monte Ketchup up from in 1953 shows the woman looking almost surprised in knowing she can open this “woman safe” ketchup bottle, as they coined the term. Talk about making a mockery of women, the feminists of today would throw a never ending fit about this ad.

Del Monte Ketchup’s 1953′s ad campaign
Del Monte Ketchup’s 1953′s ad campaign

Today in our society, women’s strive to gain equality has landed us being able to have careers in teaching, medicine and even law; which were all predominated by men. However, it is stereotyped that a woman is manly if she opts to become a mechanic or a carpenter and men are stereotyped as being effeminate when they choose to be a makeup artist, hair stylist or even design women’s clothing.

Although, times are changing and women are “taking over” we can still see that patriarchal backbone in the society still coming through. Indira Ghani, the first and only female Prime Minister of India was assassinated by two of her own body guards. What was the reason? Her gender of course, she was assassinated mainly because of the fact that she was a woman (O’ Connor, 2010). Margaret Thatcher once said, “In politics, If you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman.”  women are seen as being unable to lead. Leading is stereotypically a man’s job.

I recently heard a story on the news about a man who had this unquenchable dream to become a pilot but did not have the financial resources. He was willing to do just about anything to achieve this dream of his, His wife being the “tradition woman” was a housewife. Being the loving, caring woman she is by nature, suggested that her husband sell their house in order for him to go away to aviation school to make this dream of his a reality. He did indeed sell the house and become a pilot after a couple years, all because of his wife’s sacrifice and submission to her husbands dream. He was praised for becoming a Plot and eventually opening his own school in Trinidad. But what about her? The news didn’t even make mention of what happened to his wife. Where did she stay all those years while he was at school? What did she do? Who did she have at her side with their children? What about her dreams?

Stereotypically, women didn’t have dreams and if they did they belonged in their heads -_-  how unfair! The husband’s dreams however, are to become the wife’s dreams essentially. Of course that was traditional ways of thinking. Today through compromise and understanding both partners can have successful careers and make it in the professional world. Roles are even being switched up where men are the “stay-at-home-fathers” and the mothers are the breadwinners. As Judith Butler said in her article that gender is not biological but it is performed.

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References:

Butler, Judith. (1990) Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, 128-130.

O’ Connor, K. P. (2010). Gender and Woman’s Leadership: A Reference Handbook, 384-385.

Margaret Thatcher Quotes. http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/gender-stereotypes

Social Media Purge

We build our lives around and about Social Media
Social media buttonsWe build our lives around and about Social Media

Social Media is the greatest gift to mankind… Or so I thought. My first day in the lecture for Communications Technology at UWI, our Lecturer Dr. Smith challenged us to a “Social Media Purge.” This purge entailed staying away from every social forum; that meant no Whatsapp, no Twitter, no Facebook, not even Tumblr. The only forums at our disposal were email, SMS texts and phone calls. We were to uphold this purge for three (3) ENTIRE days!!! That’s like 3 months in Social Media world, do you know how much could happen in those days??

The horror that consumed me when I processed this nightmare of an assignment was overwhelming. This purge was scheduled to begin midnight of this same day, what madness??? Instantly I did what any social, young adult of our era would do, I took it to Social Media to rant of course. I tweeted my disbelief, while followers replied and retweeted, posted on Facebook, getting much support from friends and family in comments.

The night came too soon, I binged on Twitter like I was leaving for a trip to the other end of the world, tweeting literally every 2 minutes. Withdrawals began to kick in before I even began. At exactly midnight I switched off Wi-Fi and Data with the intent to leave it off for 72 hours. I fell asleep in no time. Waking up revived and ready to go, I realized I arrived on time to class- first time ever. Throughout the day my fingers twitched with the urgency to tweet, post or message someone. However, my control was beyond strong. I made a commitment to take on this challenge and be successful, especially after knowing our lecturer would be doing the reverse of our challenge, a “Social Media Binge”.

My first day went by with me finishing assignments that were due weeks ahead of when I did them and again an early rest. On day 2, my friend Johann, from UTT gave me a surprise visit on my campus. All my classes were finished on that day so we took a drive all the way to Chagaramas where we met up other friends who I didn’t see in what felt like forever. We went to Macqueripe beach and had the most spontaneous day. It was an adventure, from driving new routes, walking new paths to climbing trees. I realized the simplest things that day that I would never have if I was able to be on my phone to use Social Media. I even had a girls’ day with my best friend Mervina, we spoke so much uninterrupted by pings and dings of Social Media notifications. I took the time to appreciate the real things and people in life rather than the virtual ones..

By day 3, not using Social Media was way too easy. Assignments were being completed by the masses, quality time was spent with my friends and family and I was able to get enough rest. At the end of the purge at midnight on day 3, I didn’t even want to switch my data back on as I was dreading the flood of messages and notifications- so I didn’t. I left my phone as it was without the Social Forums to annoy me and slept peacefully for a third night in a row.

I can say without a doubt that although Social Media is arguably one of the most evolutionary and fun inventions of the 21st Century, it can cause much procrastination and makes you lose out on life that’s passing you by. Another purge is in my near future. I urge the excessive Social Media users to try it out and see how beneficial it can be and just how much you have been missing out on while sitting and killing  your overworked phalanges and further damaging your already strained eyes. Trust me when I say waking up without those horrid bags under your eyes and relaxing while everyone else is rushing to meet deadlines on assignments is worth it. It may not seem like Social Media is consuming all that time, but giving it a break shows just how much it was taking away.