Through WCCUSD’s Ivy League Connection program, Hercules High School Students Justine Betschart, Stacy Chan, Ramiah Davis-Shephard, Louisa Man, Julia Maniquiz, and Yueming Wang will be attending Cornell University to either study Freedom and Justice or Hotel Operations Management during the summer of 2009.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

First Taste of Justice

Today we had our first official college lecture. Having been dealing with the material for so long, I could not wait to see what people outside of Julia, Justine, and my study group. Professor had some very interesting points on how Christianity affects America's politics. He also went over the differences between justice in the New and Old testaments. I think one of the most interesting parts was his close. He said the heart of Christianity and the Bible is the contradictions with in it. (The texts for today were excerpts from the New Testament.) This was also a big topic in our discussion group. The TA commented the professor's statement played into how racists could base slavery off of the Bible and then abolitionists - particularly Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - could use the Bible as the foundation of their arguments as well. I truly love our discussion group. Mr. Crossley explained to us that one of the key differences for us is the make up of the classroom. In this situation there is not a full spectrum of students in our class, but rather only the top couple percentage of students. I was very humbled, but in the same respect proud to be considered amongst the top couple percent of students in the nation.

Today was also our first guest lecture. Mr. Nelson Roth, who is currently the deputy university counsel and a professor of law had the honor of being the first. His presentation went really well. He told us the story of when he was once called upon by a judge to be a special district attorney for Tompkins county here in New York. His work included five trials in which state troopers were tried and convicted of falsifying finger print evidence.

Julia, Justine are all going to do our reading and then meet for dinner. There is an ice breakers event on our floor tonight that we would like to attend and then we will be meeting and discussing the reading material.


p.s. I was able to find this picture of our guest speaker on the Cornell Website.


  1. Ramiah,

    I'm glad that your prof touched on how the 'Christian" movement here in the US has become a driving force in American politics. It's hard to say exactly when it started but many feel it was just about the same time that the voting rights acts were signed in the mid '60's giving all Americans the right to vote.

    Many people from the midwest and the south still held misgivings dating back to the Civil War and earlier about the place for non-whites in this country and they simply could not accept that non-whites would have the same rights as they would.

    They often found the rationale in their faith that justified their beliefs and the subsequent actions many took to preserves their way of life. [I believe Dr. Kramnick touched on this.]

    And, of course, things escalated from there and America became polarized with devout Christians being on one side of many issues and the rest of us being on the other side.

    Two of the most polarizing ideas circulating in our country today are a woman's right to choose and what should constitute a legal marriage. And both of the arguments on these two issues center on faith based concepts.

    Since they weren't having much luck convincing the non-believers that their way was the right way, they took to politics as a means of legislating their way of life. This is a very dangerous way to affect change.

    Take a look at so many of the countries around the world where we see them as evildoers and you may see that what we see as so objectionable in them is really no different than what some people are trying to do right here in the US. Whether it's what's happening in Iran right now, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, India, China, North Korea--the list goes on.

    I hope you listen to what's being said in these lectures and open your mind to ideas outside of what you normally might be thinking.

    Listen to Mr. Crossley, Ramiah. He speaks words of truth about how easy it might be to deceive yourselves into thinking that what you hear in your class is a cross section of what the country might be thinking. Look at those from your own school and ask how many of them might agree or disagree with what they might hear in this class.

  2. Ramiah,

    I had to add another comment about your reference to Dr. MLK as an abolitionist. Was this a term used in the class to describe him or was this your own?

    I've never heard that word used to describe Dr. King and I'm not sure how appropriate it it really is. I'd like to hear your thoughts on that.

  3. Hi Mr. Gosney (and all other readers for that matter),
    You are absolutely right. Dr. King was not an abolitionist and Professor Kramnick did not describe him as such. I simply meant that in part the abolitionist ideology - inclusive of equal civil rights - was based on the Bible; just as slavery had been. It was Dr. King's name that was brought up in discussion, but rather than sticking only with the Civil Rights Movement, I wanted to expand the argument to abolition. My desire to do so was primarily because I know that church and religion played a big factor in the abolition of slavery. I did generalize it too much, I really did not want to spend too much time breaking down how the Bible had influenced both sides of the issue; and I failed to recognize my mistake.
    I stand corrected, or rather clarified.
    Thank you for staying on top of things and keeping me on my toes.