Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Fighting Against Unjustness

Discrimination towards African-Americans continued after the Civil War. Most of white built paradigm that African-Americans were proud to be the second-class citizens due to their unintelligence and weak power compared to white. During decades, they worked as a labor in white homes in order to fulfill their needs. It might be true that Civil War Amendment struggled for blacks by enabling Congress and States in creating equality. However, blacks still need greater effort to be accepted as citizens with the same exact civil rights implementation as whites.
By the end of nineteenth century, disenfranchisement and segregation towards Civil War Amendment happened because of Jim Crow Laws. This law legalized segregation between white and blacks in using public facilities as well as accommodations (Saylor, 159). Basically, there were three main ideas regarding to blacks’ limitation, especially in the voting process. They were poll tax which asked voters to pay, literacy test as a way to ensure voters ability in reading, and white-only primaries which prevented blacks and whites in influencing Democrats candidate in the election. At first, these seem fair for both whites and blacks. However, the practice was different. One of the examples lies in the literacy test where blacks got difficult type of questions while white easier. This rule even supported by grandfather clause which enabled whites to vote even if they failed as long as their grandfathers were registered as a voter before the Civil War.
Due to the unjustness of Jim Crow Laws, Supreme Court emphasized that federal government did not even have a right to ruin individual’s right. Therefore, the Court supported Plessy v. Ferguson case in establishing “Separate but Equal” notion to underline that race did not determine the unequal protection towards people (Saylor, 160). It can be said that both whites and blacks receive the same treatment although they were separated. Not only that, they were also some mobility against segregation; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909 served as a interest group who likes sue people under the case of equality, World War I (WWI) caused blacks got more freedom since white immigrate to Europe in order to find job, and World War II (WWII) enforced black men learn on how to fight to defend their families.
Ironically, in the 1940s, the practice of the notion “Separate but Equal” has to be ended. It happened due to the existence of Brown v. Broad of Education which was finally supported by the Supreme Court to end segregation. This case emphasized that separation will never create equality. Because of this, blacks began doing a mass movement in their colleges and churches (Saylor, 162). One of the most famous movement done by Rosa Parks who rejected a rule to give a sit for whites. It caused she was being arrested. However, this significantly brought impact in declaring equality by boycotting Montgomery bus led by Martin Luther King Jr. although in the end, the Court rejected this action (Saylor, 163). Furthermore, another movement also happened by 1960s. It was Greensboro four who bravely had a lunch in white’s restaurant. The same as Rosa Parks, they were jailed but also successfully influence the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to do more confrontational actions (Saylor, 164).
These actions show how blacks want to be not only officially recognized as US citizens, but also gain the same rights implementation as whites. Luckily, their effort heard by Congress which then pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act to protect them towards discrimination against “race, color, religion, or national origin” (Saylor, 166). It also applied the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as well as asked primary and secondary school to teach students both their native language and English as a Second Language (ESL). In addition, a year after passing Civil Rights Act, Congress also approved the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to help the use of each individual political right. This act regulated the voting document to be written in the voter’s original language, too out the literacy test, and ensured the federal government monitored the voting process.
The above two acts, unfortunately, trigger the benefits for other minorities, women, lesbians, gay men, and disabled. The examples can be seen from the idea of ESL which benefited Latinos to learn English, the recognition of Asian Americans as US citizen in 1988 where 62% of them being arrested during WWII, and the protection of Native Americans by the Indian Civil Rights Act (ICRA) of 1968 (Saylor, 174). Furthermore, the 19th Amendment has also served as the first women’s right to vote. It enabled women to get protection against sexual harassment. These benefits were accumulated in the affirmative action which increased the greater involvement of minorities and women in the workplace as well as attend higher education (Saylor, 168). Not only that, lesbians and gay men were finally able to vote and supported by EEOC to get the same opportunity in the workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) were also enable people with disabilities to get access towards public facilities (Saylor, 183).
Diversity might become the most crucial and sensitive problem in the past with some cases keep happening today. However, with a good understanding towards diversity and awareness to be global citizen, people starts to realize that diversity is a gift.
The Saylor Foundation. (n.d.). American government and politics in the information age. Retrieved from http://www.saylor.org/books
Sokol, J. (2008). White southerners’ reactions to the civil rights movement. Retrieved from http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/publication/2009/01/20090106143801jmnamdeirf0.9369623.html 

Minority’s Power in Judicial Offices

Judges have crucial role in the judicial power to solve any disputes both categorized as civil and criminal cases. In the mid-nineteenth century, the process of choosing state’s judges had metamorphosed from appointive system into election. This transformation explicitly explained the hope of states toward judges to truly represent their community (Ifill, 1998). However, this hope becomes only a will in Texas. According to the data of total judges in 2014, it noted that 77% of Texas’s judges were whites although the population of African American combined with Hispanics reaches 50% in this States (Texas Politics 2015, 7.10). This condition leads to representation gap between whites and minority group.

            In 2011, federal judges found some cases indicated as discriminatory intend towards minority group in Texas. One of the examples is redistricting area or usually called as gerrymandering. While drawing the 23rd congressional district, Texas lawmakers deceived Hispanic’s district by taking over the district of active Hispanic’s voters and change it into Hispanic who tend to be apathetic towards voting. This widened the chance of whites to win the election. Furthermore, lawmakers had also intentionally reduced the number of minority’s districts in congressional seats. According to census of 2010, Texas’s population has increasing rapidly which dominated by 65% of Latino and resulted on gaining more representatives in Congress. However, although 14 districts claimed as Latino’s, Texas lawmakers only registered 10 of them. As the result, Latino had limited power to vote their representatives. The issue became even worse when minority groups had complicated requirement to get their voter-ID. They need to go to state Department of Public Safety Office and pay for high cost to get the required document. Most of African American as well as Hispanic who was more likely poorer compared to white had difficulties to afford it (Beckett & Lee, 2013).

            The above cases reflect a great strategy done by lawmakers to weaken the Voting Rights Act among minorities; they made transparent all the needs of this Act to benefit whites. Although these cases can be considered as civil case, however, it remains debatable to make sure that redistricting will trigger a party sue another party since both Democrats and Republicans usually done it together for the sake of their own party. Therefore, none of them will sue one another. Before 2000, state courts have right to regulate redistricting process although today it becomes the responsibility of federal judges (Boatright, 2001). Yet state judges still play important role in investigating the issue. In the past, the condition was not balance where whites or Republicans become more powerful rather than minority group especially African American who belongs to Democrats in almost all governmental branches. If Democrats party intended to sue Republicans, they would mostly fail due to the inexistence of their supporting power in state’s government. When they tried to rely on fairness value towards states court nonetheless, they would not get succeed either due to limited number of their representatives in judicial branch. In so doing, people are concerned on the issue of having equal representative in state courts exceptionally state trial courts.

            State trial courts have lower level compared to appellate courts since every dispute will be brought, proceed, and decided in trial courts before appealing process in appellate courts. For that reason, trial judges become intimately close with the disputes both for understanding the root of the cases as well as analyzing certain circumstances that will affect their decision (Ifill, 1998). Since people rely on them to represent their community’s values, many highly personal disputes asked them to find a solution. Hence, any subjectivity could not be ignored. In the United States, racial discrimination does still exist although not as extreme as in 1880s or 1990s. This becomes such a tradition in this country as well as downgraded into each states including Texas.

The racial discrimination is such provincialism; never be objective in valuing any objects and issues. If this applies in trial courts, trial judges will only struggle for cases of people with the same race; zero chance for another race to win the case. As the consequence, when minority groups’ representatives absent on this judicial offices, minorities’ voice will mostly be neglected. Therefore, more minorities should hold judicial offices. If this happens, Texas will able to eliminate redistricting issues as well as any other issues and make fairness truly implement among its citizens regardless their race. 

The Texas Politics Project. (2015). Texas politics (2nd ed.). Retrieved from http://texaspolitics.utexas.edu/textbook
Beckett, L., & Lee, S. (2013). Five ways courts say texas discriminated against blacks and latinos voters. Retrieved from https://www.propublica.org/article/five-ways-courts-say-texas-discriminated-against-black-and-latino-voters
Ifill, S. A. (1998). Judging the judges: racial diversity, impartiality, and representation on state trial courts. Boston College Law Review, 39(1), 95-149. Retrieved from http://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2086&context=bclr
Boatright, R. G. (2001). Judicial independence and partisan politics. A Paper for the Brennan Center Conference on Judicial Independence, The University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved from http://www.swarthmore.edu/SocSci/rboatri1/brennan.html

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Investing in Indonesia’s Future

Source: http://data.whicdn.com/images/66957882/large.jpg
Bhinneka Tunggal Ika or “unity in diversity” has been Indonesia’s official motto since its independence in 1945. It reflects Indonesia’s commitment to create peace within the local, national, and international societies despite race and ethnicity, socioeconomic, cultural, and religious differences. Since Indonesia has 250 million people who speak more than 300 different languages, it is crucial to engage them in implementing tolerance and solidarity while keeping the traditional culture and values alive. Today, this population is dominated by youth, and the sustainable development of Indonesia lies in their hands.
Globally, this phenomenon known as a “youth bulge” or “demographic dividend” propels national productivity. Most people define it as the total population of a country dominated by people between 15 and 64 years old. People in this age group are in what social scientists call the productive age. According to the DBS Asian Insight Conference, in 2010, there were 60-70% of people in the productive age range in Indonesia. This percentage will reach its peak in 2035 where 80–85% of the total population will be considered productive. As a result, the Indonesian ex-President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, believed that in 2030 Indonesia will become the nation with the 10th biggest economy in the world.
Considering these circumstances, demographic dividend can potentially boost the growth and development of Indonesia. However, if this potential is not supported by high quality human resources with a reach toward global competitiveness, the opportunity demographic bonus provide will be wasted. According to a World Bank Survey, 56% of young Indonesians reported that they feel poorly prepared to enter the workforce in terms of skills. Because of this, 22% of Indonesians between 15 and 24 years old are unemployed. This was threatened due to the opening of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in the 1st January 2016 where it provided the free flow of goods, services, investments, and skilled labor across the Southeast Asia region. Since English became the official language of AEC, language skill also appeared to be an issue in Indonesia, with 48% of employers saying their skilled employees lacked English language proficiency. Compared to its neighboring countries, Indonesian’s English proficiency is still lagging. The Education First (EF) English Proficiency Index noted that Indonesia’s English skill in the Asia region is ranked eighth, while Singapore ranked first and Malaysia second. Today, although Malaysia reaches the second highest rank in the index, they still put a big effort to maintain their achievement by conducting national teacher training programs in advanced levels. Furthermore, Thailand has also showed their commitment to improve English skills by making a new standard of proficiency, as well as enrich their competency by learning a new language, Bahasa Indonesia. This action indicates a great intention to enter Indonesia. Indonesian unemployment may rise if Thai citizens, and others, begin to seek employment in Indonesia.
Source: http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/j/MSNBC/Components/Photo/_new/pb-121129-bridge-da-01.photoblog900.jpg

These conditions indicate language barriers might harm national growth and require a new method of teaching. Therefore, there is a need to manage youth bulge as soon as possible and develop students to communicate effectively in English. This can be done by implementing English through formal education, informal ways, and to create a conducive environment to help foster these efforts. Concerning formal education, a teaching and learning methodology has to be in line with the 21st century education model where students become the center of learning activities. Teachers can shape the classroom as the venue of sharing ideas between them and students, as well as student-to-student. This provides a more effective learning process where students do not need to memorize theories and become mark-oriented; they will be triggered to think critically towards an issue and commit to addressing and solving these issues. The effectiveness of an active learner can be seen from the learning pyramid published by the National Training Laboratories in Bethel, Maine. This learning pyramid underscores that students are able to get only 10% of the overall learning material taught by lecturing and reading, while students gained 50% of material from discussion and 75% from practice. When schools are able to combine lecture, discussion, and practice in their method; the implementation of values and skills towards student will be easier.

The student-centered learning method was applied in my high school where it offered me an opportunity to live in the dormitory with diverse students across East Java. Since I had to share a room with friends from different backgrounds, an adjustment was needed when we faced differences related to our habit or even dialect while having conversations. Although my friends and I came from the same province, East Java, our dialect and manner in doing certain activities were quite different. These differences, however, provided a conducive environment in which to learng English due to the implementation of English hour and English pin. During 7 to 9 pm, students have to communicate in English. Not only that, the English pin with a sentence “Speak English to me” also pushed students to speak in English both in the school and dormitory area. If they were known for having a conversation in Bahasa Indonesia or Javanese, a penalty would be given. Despite offering boarding school programs, my school also applied International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), a curriculum from Cambridge, in the first year and Indonesia’s own national curriculum, Kurikulum Tingkat Satuan Pendidikan (KTSP), the following two years. Although the learning materials provided in the IGCSE was quite similar to the materials I learned in junior high, it still benefited me to understand scientific terms in English as well as enrich my vocabulary. The experience I got during a year learning international curriculum assisted me to be globally-minded while maintaining the values of my local and national culture. It was true that my teachers and I often spoke in English during that time, but we were communicating in Bahasa Indonesia outside the class and during national events. I also still held conversations in Javanese with my friends and local people around the dormitory. These helped enhance my language ability and served as a step toward shaping myself as a global citizen without forgetting my origins.

Source: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/ce/af/7b/ceaf7b200394089d89dcd135b988512a.jpg

Other foreign languages implemented in my senior high were Japanese, Mandarin, and Dutch. It was a good program to introduce students to the basic understanding of these foreign languages. An interesting story happened when our Dutch teacher exposed us to access "Brieffreunde.de", a communication site used by Europeans. She targeted each of us to have at least three friends from Germany, interact with them, and report the conversation we did by the end of each week throughout a year. Although we only knew the basics such as greeting and other basic conversations, helped by e-translators, this helped us knowing about other cultures better, and facilitated the exchange of ideas, as well as increased our confidence on having interactions with foreigners. Not only that, we also learnt Japanese culture by making sushi, Japanese traditional food, and memorizing Mandarin vocabularies by playing games together with our teacher.
            After learning languages in high school as well as in the campus, I further nurtured my ability by joining an international forum. I attended Asia Pacific Urban Forum-Youth (APUFY) conducted by the Ministry of Public Works and Housing of Indonesian Republic in collaboration with UN HABITAT. This forum is a particular program for achieving sustainable development agenda held in Jakarta for two days and immediately proceeds to APUF-6 and the HABITAT III Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting. It gathered 300 young people from 22 countries across Asia-Pacific and exposed me to a new look on how beautiful diversity can be. I saw this when delegates delivered their perspectives as well as their exchanges with others of different ethnicity, race, religion, and skin color. This program also provided a wider range of insights and aspirations. By joining this forum, I learned the importance of creating mutual understanding needed for effectively tackling the diversity challenge.
             Reflecting on the above experiences, improving language competencies towards youth can be done by understanding their character and passion before starting to implement programs in formal education. It will also be better to increase youth participation in the learning process rather than letting them become passive learners. When youth have already got enough skills in school, we need to expose them into the more complex and diverse world instead of just the local and national environment. If youth are solely attuned to tackling language barriers within themselves, it will be easier to trigger them in learning other skills necessary in life. This will help youth to get access into global knowledge which in the end increases their competitiveness in the global market.
The urgency of improving youth language proficiency increases when Indonesia has to face challenges in attaining Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Since efforts to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were not quite successful indicated by unequal welfare across the nation, Indonesia needs to build partnerships at the regional, national, and international level. Only by having good communication, Indonesia will be able to address its concern in understanding and solving society’s needs, wants, and problems in these forums as well as harness its natural and human resources effectively. Therefore, when Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono becomes optimistic that Indonesia will become a nation with the 10th largest economy in the world by 2030, this optimism is rightly placed and can be achieved.


Oberman, R., Dobbs, R., Budiman, A., Thompson, F., & Rossé, M. (2012). The archipelago economny: unleashing indonesia’s potential. McKinsey Global Institute.


DBS Group Research. (2015). DBS asian insights conference 2015. Igniting possibilities for the asia for tomorrow. Asian Insights Office.

Outcomes report: asia-pacific urban youth assembly at APUF-6 (APUFY). (2015). Jakarta: Ministry of Public Works and Housing Republic of Indonesia.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Why did the colonists declare independence from Britain in July 1776?

                  Declaring independence was not easy in colonial era. A lot of parties have to struggle through wars, debates, and changes among them. It also happened to the colonists who would like to declare independence from Britain in July 1776. They need to face the Seven Year’s war, changes in political and economic as well as debates with certain parties. The American Revolution was also impacted to them. Although those moments were hard for colonists, the war that happened in Massachusetts leads them to declare the independence.
                 The American Revolution brought development on political, intellectual, cultural, and economic in the eighteenth century. However, in the middle of those developments there was a failure made by Britain in defining the relationship between colonies and the empire as well as the imperial reform. The cause of this failure was the Seven Year’s war that asks British to pay fully attention on that both politically and economically. This pushes British to let the Spanish Succession happened in the beginning of the century and doubled its national debt into 13.5 times of its annual revenue. Another cause of Britain’s failure was the debate between its officials. Old Whigs and their Tory supporters believed to pay national debt by taking benefits through its authoritarian empire which are land and resources. However, the radical Whigs which usually called as patriot Whigs would like to focus on the national economic growth in terms of trading and manufacturing as well as to create equality between colonies and the mother country. The ideas from both sides were powerful to eliminate national debt. Ironically, it became powerless since both sides prevented coherent reform. Thus, there were notions developed by colonists about their place in the empire as well as their own local political institutions which resulted on the existence of colonial assemblies with duties to manage resident’s tax, colonies’ revenue, and grant salaries to royal officials. In addition, the eighteenth century also became the moment of Anglicization where colonists were similar to Britons in terms of culture. It could be seen from middling-class colonists who were able to afford British fashions and dining wares as well as to enjoy British liberties. Most immediately, the American Revolution was meant to reform British Empire in which this empire led to resistance.
                 After the victory of Seven Year’s war which also known as the French and Indian war, the parliament created Sugar Act and Currency Act in 1764.  Sugar Act was intended to increase enforcement towards smuggle of molasses in New England but cutting the duty in half of it. In the other hand, the purpose of creating Currency Act was to conduct a restriction towards colonies from producing paper money due to the scarcity of silver and gold coins. Those two Acts were restricted by Proclamation of 1763 so that some colonists feared the pattern of increasing taxation and liberties restriction. Because of this, the Stamp Act was created by Parliament in 1765 to regulate many documents to be printed on paper and stamped. To be detailed, there were three forms of Stamp Act depend on the class; elites for legislative resistance, merchants for economic resistance, and common colonists for popular protest. In the same year of creating this Act, the Stamp Act Congress was also conducted in New York in October attended by delegates sent by nine colonies, including Benjamin Franklin, John Dickinson, Thomas Hutchinson, Philip Livingston, and James Otis. This Congress issued a “Declaration of Rights and Grievances” to reassert idea about the same rights applied for both colonists and native Britons; rights to be taxed by the elected representatives and trial by jury. This brought a conflict since colonists disagreed with virtual representation addressed for them due to the unelected members to Parliament. Most importantly, there was a widespread of violence and intimidation throughout the colonies. One of the tragedies was violent riots in Boston that made Andrew Oliver, a stamp distributor for Massachusetts, resigned from his position.
                 Not only that, the participation of elite, middling, and working class colonists emerged to form a new resistance. There were circulated lists complete with a promise under signatures to not buy any British goods. This resulted on the cultural shift in which women took important role on that. They created spinning clubs to produce homespun clothing so that they will not rely on the imports of British clothes. This non-importation and non-consumption contributed to unite the colonies by forming Committees of Correspondence which will help to give the updated information about colonial resistance progress. In the middle of 1765 and 1770, there was a change of colonial resistance to be more inclusive and well-coordinated. If previously colonists of all ranks were not participated in politics but they were now took a role in the resistance by monitoring and enforcing the boycotts as well as not buying British goods. It was supported by fifty-one women in Edenton and North Carolina who signed an agreement about the existence of to boycotts. This agreement became popular across the continent since it was published in numerous newspapers. Then, Britain gave a fast respond on it. They made a “Coercive Acts” which combined four acts; Boston Port Act to close the harbor and cut off all trade, Massachusetts Government Act to control the entire colonial government, Administration of Justice Act to allow any royal officials who committed crime to be tried in Britain, and Quartering Act to allow British army arrived in colonists’ homes quarterly. However, the ministry seems did not support this Acts since they were still allowing colonies come to the aid of Massachusetts. By early 1774, Committees of Correspondence and or extra legal assemblies seize the power of the royal government as what Massachusetts did.
                 However, in 1775, a war happened in Massachusetts. There were 20,000 colonial militiamen, militia members, trapped the British effectively. The radical Massachusetts delegates asked the Continental Congress to lay siege to Boston until no supplies remained. Finally, Congress formed Continental Army, adopted the Massachusetts militia, issued a “Declaration of the Causes of Necessity of Taking Up Arms”, and approved the “Olive Branch Petition”. Before the petition arrived in England on August 13, 1775, the King issued “Proclamation for Suppressing Rebellion and Sedition” due to his belief about North America leader as dangerous and ill-designing men. He also had no doubt that independent empire carried by the resistance. Because of this, in the beginning of 1776, independence issue became popular debate. Colonies, localities, and groups of ordinary Americans adopted resolutions that encourage Continental Congress to draft the formal independence declaration by selecting five members of committee. Firstly, Thomas Jefferson drafted the document to be edited by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin as well as the Congress as a whole. During drafting the document, there was a radical idea to be the preposition made by American revolutionaries who said about equality endowed by creator. Finally, Peter Timothy of Charleston printed the Declaration of Independence document then brought it to South Carolina.

The American Yawp. (n.d.). The american revolution. Retrieved from https://www.americanyawp.com/text/05-the-american-revolution/
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. (n.d.). Declaration of independence, 1776. Retrieved from https://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/war-for-independence/resources/declaration-independence-1776
*Halo, this is my 1st essay of US History (a course offered by Lone Star College) assignment.