Published on November 27th, 2011 | by thevyne1
Five Sure Fire Conversation Starters
There’s no time of year quite like the “end of year” holiday season. It’s jam packed with food, sequin adorned attire, cinnamon scented candles, and invites to one soiree after another. Have you ever noticed though that sometimes, no matter how interesting a group at the soiree, conversation can end up going the usual way of pop culture, boys (if its an all girl gathering), weight loss (again, if its an all girl gathering) and random updates on each others lives? Nothing wrong with these topics but what if you’re the girl in the group who’s not up on pop culture, way so over discussing your recent weight gain or perhaps you don’t have a particularly scintillating new boy tale to tell? What does that girl do? She starts a completely unrelated yet captivating conversation, that’s what she does! If you happen to be that girl, here are a few sure fire topics to get you started:
1) African American TV Viewing Stats – Issue: According to Nielsen, AA’s watch 40% more television than general market, prefer live TV and rank shows like The Game, NCIS, RHOA, Young & the Restless, Law & Order SVU and House of Payne among our top 10 most watched shows. Question to Start the Convo: Why do we watch so much more television than general market? Is our preference for crime dramas and reality madness disproportionately and adversely impacting the collective unconscious of the AA community?
2) Charter Schools vs. Public Schools – Issue: Charter schools are primary and/or secondary schools that receive public funding but are not subject to the same regulations as public schools. They are autonomous for the most part and operate with high achievement expectations for all students, which have tended to yield positive results for at-risk youth. In some urban areas, the local charter schools are producing higher rates of high school graduates entering college. Question to Start the Convo: Which is more effective, traditional public schools or charter schools? Does the presence of charter schools undermine public schools by cutting into public funding?
3) Republican Presidential Race – Issue: As we watch the leaders of the Republican presidential race (Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain) battle it out we witness one gaff after another. Aside from Mitt, who ran for President three previous times, all of the candidates are either new to the scene or have already been involved in some level of scandal. Question to Start the Convo: Partisanship aside, given the amount of scandal and obvious lack of preparation and due diligence around the issues on the part of the majority of the Republican candidates, is it safe to say that none of them seriously want the job of President? If they are serious, should they be held to a higher standard of answer when engaging in these political debates?
4) Meat Glue: Safe or a Disgrace? – Issue: A recent expose’ style report on transglutaminase or meat glue, set the web a blaze. Basically, meat glue is an enzyme used to bond pieces of meat together to make larger cuts of meat. The report asserted that this was a cover-up used to disguise and sell non-premium cuts of meat as premium. Question to Start the Convo: Should grocery stores and/or restaurants have to disclose that they use meat glue? Is this an issue that is “much ado about nothing”?
5) Dr. James Gilligan’s View on Violence – Issue: Dr. Gilligan is best known for developing a general theory of the causes and prevention of violence. He was also the psychiatric consultant for Martin Scorsese’s film ‘Shutter Island’ which featured a character based on Dr. James Gilligan during his time as medical director of the Mass. Hospital for the “criminally insane”. His theory suggests the universal cause of violent behavior stems from being overwhelmed by feelings of shame and humiliation as well as being insulted, disrespected, ridiculed or rejected by others, or treated as inferior or unimportant. That is, violence is always a desperate and risky attempt to gain respect, attention and recognition for oneself or the group with which one identifies. Question to Start the Convo: Do you agree with this view on violence? Assuming this view on violence is true, should the penal system be re-evaluated to include more therapeutic treatment?