Dehumanization of Human by N.N.


In A Place to Stand  a commonly recurring  theme is the loss of humanity. He mentions his loss of humanity in jail, in solitary confinement, and when he is with his Teresa.  It seems as though when he refers to loss of humanity, he is referring to events in which he does not act like a human, or does not want to act like a human, and thus his existence is not that of a human. I myself have never felt like I have lost my humanity. Sure I have been shamed, embarrassed and annoyed, but I never have really been prompted to act in an inhumane fashion. In addition, I have never really felt like a human being, but as myself. I think a person can not feel like a human until they have been forced to act as an animal. on page 134, Baca mentions” I’ve never gone into my memories so vividly before.”  After attacking a person in prison, he was sentenced to solitary confinement. In solitary confinement he looks back on his life, and realizes all of the beautiful parts of it “ Outside I walk alongside grandpa, carrying his black lunch pail in the red wagon I pull behind us… When I am with him like this, life is beautiful.” After acting  unlike a human being, and having his humanity ripped from him, Baca realized he was actually a human before going to jail. He realizes the parts of his life that were normal, and happy. During that time with his grandfather, he would have never looked at himself as a “human” but after acting unlike one he is forced to realize the contrast. The aspect of realizing what one has lost after one has lost it is common in many scenarios. In my life, I only realized how truly impactful my grandmother was after she died. I only saw her maybe twice a year and only for a few days at a time, but after losing her, whenever I visited I would almost expect to see her. In addition, when my dog passed away, my life felt a lot emptier as well. I would imagine I could hear him walking around, or find him running up to me and barking when I opened my door, but while I was with him, I never felt like he filled anything that could be taken away. In the book, Santiago Baca remembers his happy times after the change as a distraction, similar to what I did with my dog, as a way to accept his current state. His future was ruined, and he was not leaving prison for at least another 5 years. Only after losing his humanity could he then have an urge to strive and maintain some. After isolation he picks up his reading in a more intense fashion, ready to work hard to regain what he lost. He could only arrive at that point after he realized all he lost.


Accepting loss and living with change can be very motivational. In A Place to Stand Baca needed to go through this traumatic change and loss of humanity to realize a goal to strive for and ultimately live a successful life.  


Collection of Poetry by O. K.

Thursday march 3rd 2016

‘I have nothing else to give so it is a pot full of yellow corn to warm your belly in the winter’

let the fire crackle and the metal fence warm your toes

I have nothing else to give you so I give you time.

time to sit and share

your worries and your wonders, I open myself to you so you can see my soul

I give you my soul because I have nothing else to give.

A soul that cares

the trees grow naked, the sun goes away

a soul that never ceases to think of running away

I have nothing else to give you so I give you my love.

love that makes you feel strong

on the days that you feel defeated and to love feels so hard

laugh so loud it echos for miles

a love that will last well after we walk down the aisle

‘It’s all I have to give

and all anyone needs to live

to go on living inside

when the world outside no longer seems to care


I love you’


Baca workshop

I lost who I am

let go of approval

Be one with the world. not my world

let go of the control and need for change

be still and watch the waves

take a step back let me see

all of the things the world has to offer me


Baca Workshop

Something happened to me when I was found myself in a dark pit

cobwebs of lies

whipping winds of betrayal

I am in the wrong?

short skirt and tighter shirt

let me show you how to really flirt

you stare at me, longing for anything to let you know I am okay

cold anger stirs in my heart. eyes wander astray

my head dizzy and chest tight

please god help me tell me how to go back

how to make things right

I’m in a pit trapped in insecurities, don’t take one step or they will call you out for your insanity

i am alone

but i have it all!

the nice hair, long legs big boobs and all

f*** you don’t see my mirror, the image that flashes back wants to disappear

the pressure for perfect it’s all too much

take me to the time in the park with my mom, the sun’s shining soft touch

i’m sorry i made things complicated

your words of affirmation are silent

my frustration is getting violent

i long for something deeper

an adventure far away in another world, something simple

somewhere that i feel safe and have a smile dimple to dimple


Something Happened to me When by L.E.

Something happened to me when..

Something happened to me when my parents split up. I did not see the profound effects when I was younger, I had no capacity for it because they divorced just two days after my 5th birthday. However, I do vaguely remember little snippets of memories. I remember running into my brothers room late one night listening to them fight. We pulled the covers over our heads and hoped the yelling would stop. One night we got so desperate that we walked into the living room and told them to do rock paper scissors to determine who got the couch. After they separated, I would walk down the stairs of my mom’s new house late at night to see her sitting in the living room, on the same couch, crying.

I remember the pain I saw in my mother. My perception of my mother permanently changed after I saw her cry. When you’re a child, you never forget the first time you see your parents cry. It was my first time seeing what pain, loneliness, and hurt can do to a person.

All of a sudden my brother and I plunged into a pattern. Shuffling between their houses, packing our clothes all the time, and always moving.

My dad remarried first to a nice woman who was going to be my stepmom through eight very developmental years of my life. But two years ago she left my father a voicemail on his phone that when he got home from his ski trip, he would find her stuff gone. She preferred a friends couch over my father’s heavy drinking and endless yelling.

Not even before the divorce papers would finalized he had found another girlfriend, and they were engaged by the end of the summer. It wasn’t until he had to quit drinking for legal issues before he gave it up. He looks better and we bond like we did before I knew what a few beers could do to him.

I owe much to all of my parents. Yet, the thing about having a broken home all your life is you never know what it is like coming home to mom and dad. You never know what having one christmas celebration, one birthday party, or one thanksgiving dinner is like. It was normal that friends’ parents had to ask at which house to drop me off. I look back and think about how kids my age balanced homework and playing outside while I balanced parents. My parents separation so generously gave me the inability to handle somebody leaving. No matter how anybody made me feel, whether it was shitty or wonderful, I would rather have them in my life than not. I held on, and I swear to you that everything I have ever let go of has claw marks on it.

Something happened to me when I realized that everything is temporary. You never think that the last time is the last time. You think there will be more. You think you have forever, but you don’t. You never know when it is going to be the last time you’re going to see somebody before they change forever. You never know if tonight’s or last night’s dinner wa the last time you will ever have a meal with that person. You just never know. Everything is so fleeting- one day you’re hugging a person goodbye and the next you pretend you are complete strangers.

Everybody says that it will get easier. Everybody says it is for the better. I agree, but what they don’t tell you is how tired you get of living out of a duffle bag. What they don’t tell you is how often you have to put on a brave face for your father. Or how often he is puts one on for you, or how you both see right through each other’s. They never tell you how to prepare yourself. They never teach you how to cope.When you’re in the fourth grade they ask you, “If both your parents are in a burning building and you could only save one, which one would you save?” They never tell you that the common app requires you answer the date when your parents got a divorce. And they never tell you how your mom will look at you when you have to ask.

A Place To Stand, B.W.

In my opinion to be whole is to speak and feel your true self, without the interruption of any emotion, just who you are without any other input or adaptation.  I feel this way because it is very easy to be caught up in an environment or action while containing an emotion. While playing a competitive sport I would say I am fueled with a bit of anger and rage, while in school I am bored and relaxed, which sometimes makes me irritable. To me it all depends on the current mood of the person which upon itself relies on multiple factors. So to make it short, no one is ever one-hundred percent “whole”.

Since being introduced to the question, “what does it mean to be whole” I have been trying to evaluate my actions, past and present. And due to this, I have realised I am as whole as I can be when at home and in my form of a “comfort zone”. I would say this is my closest place to being whole, true to myself, due to the ease of getting there. Inside my comfort zone I am not under any influence from the outside and am able to be myself without any interruption. While in the outside world many factors contribute to the makeup of whom I am, while in my safe space I am unchanged, without any influence. This goes along with my definition of being “whole”, which is to be true to yourself and those around one hundred percent of the time. I believe this because I think it is very easy for people, including myself, to get caught up in their feelings or the emotion of the situation. When at home I rarely have a care in the world, and due to that, never get put into an emotional state. Unfortunately for some they do not have the option of going to a comfort zone so they must deal with the cards they are dealt. In A Place to Stand by Jimmy Santiago Baca, Jimmy’s mom, for example, made for her own life the focal point of her decisions which made it really hard for her to be whole. First, the willingness to forget her heritage and to become more white is hard for me to comprehend. It more or less seems that throughout history, and across the world, having a culture is very representative of who you are and where you come from. This is a source of pride for many and can even provide benefits,  and unfortunately for some there is still harsh attitudes in the corners of the country. This is what seems to have sadly influenced Jimmy’s mom into giving up her hispanic heritage, and given her already white features, made it easily possible. She was able to create a comfort zone for herself by not being her true self; for me that is hard to understand because I have access to a comfort zone where I am whole, but she has a comfort zone where she is part of the mother she used to be. At this moment I came to the conclusion that She saw herself as the most important person and emotionally acted to keep things that way. The part I’m truly calling into question is the fact that she makes her own children feel inferior and bad about being non-white. She says things such as “ act like those kids”, or even her not saying things to defend Jimmy’s desire to eat tortillas around Richard. I can see that she wanted a better life but to make your own child think that he is “not good” is very bothering. Even when Jimmy saw his mom with her new kids, she introduced him as an old friend and nothing more. She became dependent on her comfort zone and in turn could not be whole, this showed how she only cared for what benefited her life and did not act without emotion. These actions, and mindset, clearly impacted Jimmy later in his life with incidences arising as he struggled to become the man he is today. In the end this gave Jimmy a great example of how to hold himself high, to represent himself as a true person.

While reading at times I’d realize that his past would haunt him for a very long time. When he found himself attending Harrison Junior High he stated times when he felt overwhelmed with the ease that the other kids moved around and held themselves with. He was way out of his comfort zone and in turn could not associate wholly. Especially when it came to the academic aspect he felt very out of place, so he easily went into a safe zone of doing what he knows and likes, daydreaming. Not knowing how to read, do math, or generally associate with the other students Jimmy quickly stopped participating and did his own thing until the day was over. Jimmy would create his own safe environment where he could be whole with himself, this would come in handy later in his life.  What made things worse was his attitude towards himself and the other students. He said things like, “ they were the kind of kids my mother would point to, saying I should be like them,” this already mentally told Jimmy that he was bad and dumb, and that these kids were better than him. Luckily he was introduced to Coach Tracy he was immediately hit with his kind nature which made Jimmy open up. Eventually Jimmy was seen as the star of the team that the other kids looked up to. When looking at his time on the football field it is clear Jimmy is the most himself there, he is in a safe zone. He still was seen as an outsider but some of the kids already put out a helping hand, this showed Jimmy that he wasn’t just what his mom said, which helped start him in his process to become whole.

When Jimmy found himself in Jail he had to use his raw emotion to stay alive on the inside, but hide it to stay alive on the outside. He regularly created his own time to spend on what he wanted to do which put him in a natural environment. This was the beginning of his transition to find his whole side. From the early months of incarceration he learned how to act without emotion, even though throughout his life his mom did the opposite, he was able to surpass her. This all became extremely helpful for Jimmy when he went into solitary confinement, he had to rely on his non-emotional state to stay alive. This all created the man that writes the great American poetry we know today, and the whole-hearted person that has inspired us all.

In the end I think that it is hard for the average person to be whole due to many factors from outside life, private life, and social media which will all take an impact into the type of person you are and the choices you make.


Writer’s Memo: I was introduced to the question what does it mean to be whole while I was in my Diversity class and it was phrased to be one about comfort zones and vulnerability. Nonetheless, it made me start thinking about my life and how I present myself, added to the prior thoughts from my diversity class to what was running through my head while reading APTS. This all led me to the prompt “What it means to be whole” in which I tried to analyze using my prior knowledge, however I regularly found myself sidetracked from what I truly meant in the introduction.  I strongly feel that if I sat down with no outside thoughts to interupt me I could easily express myself, but for some reason I feel as if I am restraining myself from showing 100% myself. I still agree with what I say in this piece of writing but just that a lot of the content is put in the wrong place, or wrong time. Regardless I found myself contemplating my day-to-day actions past and present and as well what I could do in the future. My favorite take away is how I have begun to judge those around me. More specifically those on tv, news, internet, and social media to see if they are being whole, or what their perspective on the situation is to give them an opinion. This has given me a more understandable approach to things, besides a traditional black vs white argument, I try to see in between as to why.


REVISED: I reevaluated what I had written in the draft and focused in on the main idea of being whole. I got more evidence to add to the body of the paper. In the end I cleared everything up and made it sound like a good traditional paper.