Tag Archives: education

Common Tautologies

Rhetoric Redundancy

The common usage of tautologies in everyday language

In rhetoric, a tautology is an unnecessary or unessential (and sometimes unintentional) repetition of meaning, using different and dissimilar words that effectively say the same thing twice (often originally from different languages). It is often regarded or thought of as a fault of style and was defined by Fowler as “saying the same thing twice.” It is not apparently necessary or essential for the entire meaning of a phrase to be repeated. If a part of the meaning is repeated in such a way that it appears as unintentional, clumsy, or lacking in dexterity, then it may be described as tautology. On the other hand, a repetition of meaning which improves the style of a piece of speech or writing is not necessarily described as tautology.

“Unsolved Mystery”

– “mystery” is something that is unexplained, unknown or unsolved.

“Short Summary”

– a “summary” is a “shortened” version of a text

“Free Gift”

– “gift” is, by definition, something given without charge.

“New Innovation”

– “innovation” is defined as something new.

“digital download”

– given that downloading is the transfer of binary or digital data from a higher level system to a lower one, all downloading is inherently digital.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The name of the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats is tautological, since tigers are cats

Common Acronymns that are Tautologies:

UPC code (Universal Price Code)
VIN number (Vehicle Identification Number)
ISBN number (International Standard Book Number)

Some Tautological quotes:

In a 1988 campaign speech in Ohio, George H. W. Bush said, “It’s no exaggeration to say the undecideds could go one way or another

After reading up on Tautologies, I asked myself if I did this, and I believe I am a repeat offender of this. But why do we commit to these rhetorical statements? Its either due to ignorance – not knowing the true literal meaning of certain words and/or phrases; or it could be due to a desire to sound ‘witty’ and intelligent – the more words used implies a greater depth of vocabulary and knowledge. Whatever the reason is, if you are a tautological offender, stop and think about what and why you are doing it, because you may be being redundant for no apparent reason.


Increasing Probability

Image by snoppy

Increasing Probability

Changing the variables to produce a better result for the Black Family

As a society; parents, children, brothers & sisters, the best we can do is increase the probability of success. There is not an absolute definitive formula that if practiced, will guarantee that a child will grow up ‘successfully’; there is a combination of social and economic factors that can lead the best of children to a life of violence and/or drugs. Thus, we can only try to increase the probabilities of a positive result by trying to control the variables. Especially in the Black community, it is very important that we try to control these variables as too many of our youth slip through the cracks.

Spending time with your kids and doing family activities
Sounds pretty basic, and it is – just doing communal activities such as watching TV together, grocery shopping, cooking, walking, can yield positive effects on youth. In today’s climate, we are all busy – some working multiple jobs to get by, but even just making a phone call to see what is going on with your kids can foster a relationship of warmth and dialogue; and the more dialogue that you have with your children, the better chances are that they will come to you for guidance when something is troubling them in their lives. As the parent, you must be an authoritative figure, but you must not always exercise your title with an iron fist – yelling/screaming will not develop a relationship of open dialogue; as the child will most likely not be willing to discuss their problems with you. Parents must be open to dialogue and discourse or face a child that is unwilling to share and open up.

Positive reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is an increase in the future frequency of a behavior due to the addition of a stimulus immediately following a response. Giving (or adding) food to a dog contingent on its sitting is an example of positive reinforcement. Essentially this means ‘reward youth’, when they do good, it may be best to show a tangible appreciation (if possible, like a gift or item), or at least an intangible appreciation such as accolades and praise. The common argument I heard growing up for when I do good is ‘well, that is what you should be doing’, which has some merits, but rewarding youth for their performance is a preparation for the real work world – where bonuses are giving to those that perform well. As with the real work world, once a person receives a bonus, they will try hard to maintain their behavior that led them to that award; thus, promising your kids a specific video game or outing for their performance may be advantageous – and if they fail to meet the achieved requirement, still supplement them with something that is appropriate, because you do not want them to feel resentment towards you.

Avoiding Displacement
As with everything, from time to time we may have problems with our significant others, work, school, or just the mundane annoyances of life, but that doesn’t mean that we have to displace our frustrations to our children. Displacement operates in the mind unconsciously, and involves emotions, ideas, or wishes being transferred from their original object to a more acceptable substitute. It is most often used to allay anxiety. That safe ‘acceptable substitute’ is usually our children, as they become the recipient for our frustrations.


When reading the statistics on the black family, the numbers are alarming and troubling – as a whole, we all need to be better educated on familial relationships techniques and inner dynamics. Being aware of such will hopefully lead to better independent and familial functioning for both the child and the parent. Now for some of the rough statistics, ‘rough’ as in ‘bad’:

The net worth of a black fmaily in America is $5988 versus a white family of $88651

9 million Blacks in the U.S. are in poverty.

U.S. Black women outnumbered Black males in every decade of the Twentieth Century.

White Males with a high-school diploma are just as likely to have a job and tend to earn just as much as black males with college degrees

Approximately 60% of children in public kinship care are African American.

45% of Black Children live below the poverty line, compared with 16% of White children

Although African American youth account for 15% of the U.S.
population, they account for 26% of juvenile arrests, 31% of delinquency referrals to juvenile court, 44% of juveniles detained in delinquency cases, 40% in residual placements, 46% of juveniles transferred to adult criminal court, and 58% admitted to state prisons.

African American students account for 14.8% of the general population for the 6 through 21 age group, compared with 20.2% of the special education population in all disabilities. 18.3% are diagnosed with a specific learning disability, 34.3% are diagnosed with mental retardation and 26.4% are diagnosed as being emotionally disturbed.

Although African American youth account for only 15% of the
juvenile population, more African American juveniles than white
juveniles were murdered between 1988 and 1995.

Source: http://www.blackangelnetwork.org/?q=stats

Knowledge is power …
.:: LiBM ::.

Life 101: Taxes, not pissing off authority

Life 101

Taxes, Leasing, and Not pissing off the man

There are many things that we learn in high school that we probably will never utilize in our adult lives; like Geography, History, Chemistry, Biology – unless you plan to to practice in one of those disciplines, chances are, the information will be useless to you. However, there are some things that I thought about that we all need to learn no matter if you are just going to start working after high school or are planning post secondary education.


This whole Western System is essentially designed for people to support the government. We go to school to equip us with the skills to work, and as we work, we pay taxes to the government, which in turn the government uses to provide social services. So, if taxes are going to be something that we are going to have to do until the end of our lives, why don’t we provide a mandatory tax preparation course so that we all can get a better idea to fill-out those retarded difficult forms.

So many young adults get pulled into the idea that Leasing is so easy; I know many who lease everything from their cars, apartment, electronic equipment, et cetera. Leasing fulfills the appetite of those people that ‘must have’; they must have the latest car, technology, fashion, and the like. But most don’t understand compound and principal interest that are key elements of leasing agreements. If people learned about what ‘leasing’ really comprises if, then we can probably reduce the amount of young adults who go into debt or have their items repossessed because of debt.

How to NOT piss off the Man:

If you are black or Latino, listen up here. This should definitely be taught like every year of High School; especially for males. The ‘Man’ in this term is for the law enforcement officers, and the golden rule is ‘respect’. When you are pulled over, whether you feel it was warranted or not, just answer the officer’s question with common courtesy and respect. Using vulgarity and having a rude attitude will get you nowhere.

I am sure there are other Life 101 skills that need to be a mandatory component of high schools, if you have any ideas, share your thoughts.



I was watching President Obama sign a few executive orders this week, and noticed that he was left-handed.  And then upon further research, some 5 out of the last 7 U.S. Presidents were lefties including Ford, Reagan, Father Bush, Clinton, Obama.  The prevalence of left-handed people in the U.S. population hovers around 7 to 10 percent; so it is unique in a sense that more than 1/2 of the presidents in the last century have been left-handed.  The cause of left-handedness can range from high levels of testosterone during pregnancy, genetics, and/or learned preference by observing which hand the child uses most often during infancy.  In a historical sense, lefties were frowned upon by society, and were subjected to ridicule and hardships; currently in today’s society, most tools and products are oriented for a right-handed world.   It has been well documented that in the early 20th century, many schools discouraged children from writing with their left hand; this may have lead to detrimental learning affects on the child’s development.

In terms of intelligence, a study out of the University College London argues that the proportion of left-handed people as a group have historically produced an above-average quota of high achievers.   Chris McManus argues that left-handers’ brains are structured differently in a way that widens their range of abilities, and the genes that determine left-handedness also govern development of the language centres of the brain(1).  This may explain why a good amount of academic achievers, entertainers, politicians, are left-handed, such as:

 Music and Entertainment

Angelina Jolie, movie star
Jerry Seinfeld, comedian
Paul McCartney, musician
Jimi Hendrix, guitar player
Ringo Starr, musician
George Burns, comedian
James Cameron, Hollywood bigshot
Drew Carey, comedian
Tina Fey, writer, performer, producer
Steve Harvey, comedian

Art, Science, Technology

Leonardo da Vinci, genius of the Renaissance
Matt Groening, The Simpsons cartoonist
Benjamin Franklin, inventor
Marie Curie, physicist
Linus Pauling, biochemist
Bill Gates, businessman


 (1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-handedness#cite_note-33

El ‘Nerbano’

El Nerbano
The Nerban (nerd + urban) … best of both worlds  

The Nerban is the hybrid guy that has carefully meshed the two worlds of hip-hop/urban culture and nerd/geek isms. The Nerban can run in the streets, hang on the block, be affiliated with ‘gangstas’, and at the same time be abreast with technology, have a diverse investment portfolio, and have B.A.’s and Masters.

The Nerban is respected by hip-hop culture because of his nerdy-knowledge of technology and such; in the same breath, the nerds respect the Nerban because of his knowledge of hip-hop culture. Each group lives vicariously through the Nerban to get a glimpse into ‘the other side’; the gangsta’s get to learn about what’s poppin’ with the nerds, and the nerds get to see some urban swag and style.

With the ladies, the Nerban is the prime choice for the lady that is not looking for a gangsta, not looking for ‘poindexter’, but is looking for someone with a little bit of edge & style mixed with knowledge & ambition. Most ladies will experience a Nerban at some point in their life, but will have a tendency to disregard the Nerban because he isn’t too ‘street’ enough, and usually these ladies end up where the Nerban was lacking (i.e. the Street – out on their own, lost).

The Nerban has always lived throughout history, from:

The Goofy Nerban

Will Smith a.k.a. ‘The Fresh Prince’
~ His goofy style of rap lauded him to a Grammy and a hit TV show, he then used that to develop a successful movie career – All this from “parents just don’t understand”.

The Conscious Nerban

~ The type of brother to school you with spiritual thoughts, but isn’t scared to go into battle, remember the battle with Ice Cube anyone??

The Arrogant Nerban

Kanye West

~ Do I really need to explain this???????  

The Righteous Nerban

A Tribe Called Quest
~ These nerbans are about having a good time, dancing, chilling, but can get grimey when need be.

The “Odd, but can’t hate on him” Nerban

~ Clothing and style has funky colors and patterns, social activities divert from the norm, but this Nerban can deliver in the streets or the boardroom.

.:: d.b ::.

The conditioning of Frederick Douglas

Frederick Douglas
“I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong”

Some background information on Frederick Douglass, excerpt from wikipedia.com:

Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, who later became known as Frederick Douglass, was born a slave in Talbot County, Maryland, near Hillsboro. He was separated from his mother, Harriet Bailey, when he was still an infant. She died when Douglass was about seven. The identity of Douglass’ father is obscure: Douglass originally stated that his father was a white man, perhaps his owner, Aaron Anthony; but he later said he knew nothing of his father’s identity. At the age of six, Douglass was separated from his grandmother and moved to the Wye House plantation, where Anthony worked as overseer.[1] When Anthony died, Douglass was given to Lucretia Auld, wife of Thomas Auld. Mrs. Auld sent Douglass to Baltimore to serve Thomas’ brother, Hugh Auld.
When Douglass was about twelve, Hugh Auld’s wife, Sophia, broke the law by teaching him some letters of the alphabet. Thereafter, as detailed in his
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (published in 1845), Douglass succeeded in learning to read from white children in the neighborhood in which he lived, and by observing the writings of the men with whom he worked. When Hugh Auld discovered this, he strongly disapproved, saying that if a slave learned to read, he would become dissatisfied with his condition and desire freedom; Douglass later referred to this as the first anti-abolitionist speech he had ever heard.
As he learned and began to read newspapers, political materials, and books of every description, the young Douglass was exposed to a new realm of thought and experience that led him first to question and then to condemn the institution of slavery itself. In later years, Douglass would credit The Columbian Orator, which he discovered when he was around twelve years old, with clarifying and defining his views of freedom and human rights.
When he was hired out to a Mr. Freeman, Douglass taught slaves how to read the New Testament at a Sabbath school on the plantation. As word spread, the interest among slaves in the local community was extensive enough that on any given week over forty slaves would attend lessons. For about six months, their work went relatively unnoticed. While Freeman himself remained complacent about their activities, other plantation owners became incensed that their slaves had been offered such instruction and burst in one Sunday armed with clubs and stones to disperse the congregation permanently.


I just finished reading the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, and it was a very good read, very sad at times with Douglass’ personal recollections of the horrid nature of slavery, but it was very informative. First off, Douglass is a Black History figure that doesn’t really get too much spotlight/coverage in ‘Black History Month’; for example, I was first aware of the man from a T-Shirt. After research, and then reading his book, Douglass was an extraordinary man (not just ‘Black man’) for his time. From teaching himself as a youngster to read and write (which was prohibited for black people) by secretly learning from white kids, and deceiving them to give him any reading/educational materials, to taking his literary knowledge and secretly holding classes for other black people (young & old), Douglass was a modern day renaissance as he knew that knowledge is power. Society in the south, and especially the slaveholders knew this, and would torment and violently whip any black slave who was trying to educate themselves. Mentally, slaveholders and the white racist society of that time, pulled the ultimate mind-f*ck on black people. I always knew this, didn’t really know to what extent and the details involved, but let me showcase some:
  • Slaveholders would actually be ‘generous’ enough to give slaves the holidays off until the New Year; so in a sense, slaves were literally ‘free’ during this time. However, the slaveholders would purposely intoxicate the slaves with cheap liquor, so much to the point that their little ‘freedom’ was heavily engulfed in a staggering/hangover state – which was supposed to convey that ‘freedom’ isn’t something that should be desired

  • Barbaric sports such as wrestling and boxing were encouraged by slaveholders

  • Reading was prohibited, as the belief was that an educated ‘slave’ can not handle education and will not know what is good for him, the master only knows what is good for a slave 
  • Slaveholders never starved their slaves; actually they made it known that they always gave their slaves plenty of food, the food was equivalent to slop, but it was in mass abundance
  • When black women gave birth, the slaveholders separated the child from its mother from a young age so that the child can not develop attachment and affection to its mother, but rather develop attachment to the slave owner

Some of the things that were done to black people were not just dehumanizing, but it was conditioning; in the sense of it altered the way people behaved, think, and responded. This happened all from the 1700’s to mid-late 1800’s, this conditioning was passed down with each black generation. Even after slavery was abolished, this conditioning, and more importantly, the society, was still segregated and there was a hatred/inferiority complex that existed by certain populations.

Fast forward to the current state of black people in America, and the question must be asked, when/if will the conditioning that black people have succumbed to, will subside? How much generations will it take? I mean, we have definitely made progressed, we are doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, politicians, but there are huge numbers that still have that ‘slave’ mentality that end up in jail, commit crimes, are against the ‘system’, don’t educate themselves, and so on.

How long will this ‘spell’ last????

Share your thoughts …..

Check out Vacant Lot: Science of Hip-Hop – quotes and knowledge

Freedom Writers or Dangerous Minds

I was ready & fired up to write a scathing piece on the movie ‘Freedom Writers’, starring Hilary Swank. After watching the previews on T.V., I came to the presumption that this is just another classic ‘white savior’ flick. You know the rhetoric, the Hollywood formula is comprised of:
Step 1 – An inner-city public school w/ poor learning conditions
Step 2 – Troubled black & Hispanic youth who have socio-economic & behavioral problems
Step 3- A ‘white’ protagonist who enters the environment & ‘saves’ the troubled youth from destruction

Whether it is manifested as a teacher, student, or friend, the white protagonist enters an environment & ‘shows’ the troubled youth a better ‘life’ or teaches the troubled youth how to ‘appropriate’ to society or normalcy. These types of movies kind of imply that the ethnic youth are ‘savages’, ‘misinformed’, ‘delinquents’ — and only a ‘white’ figure can change their ways, or ‘civilize’ them. Kinda sounds like the Missionary period & world exploration period all over again.

I will acknowledge that there are also black protagonists in such films (Coach Carter), but I can’t recall any films where a Black protagonist ‘civilized’ white youth delinquents …. if they exist, please let me know.

I could name countless examples of white protagonists such as:
– Michelle Pfifer in ‘Dangerous Minds’
– Julia Stiles in ‘Save the Last Dance’
– Jessica Alba in ‘Honey’
– Sean Connery in ‘Finding Forrester’

However …..

Back to my opening statement, I was going to blast ‘Freedom Writers’, but a co-worker of mines schooled me & said that this flick is nothing like ‘Dangerous Minds’, and I realized that I was going to make a gross assumption about this flick, without viewing the film first hand.

Thus, I guess the moral of this lil’ piece is not about the ‘Great White Savior’ of inner-city ethnic youth – which is a valid point by the way, but the moral is not to ASSume something, because it’ll make an ASS out of U and Me ….. yes i know, its a kinda cheesy phrase, but it is very fitting!