Sunday, February 23, 2014

Safe Spaces: Hyperlink

I grew up attending Catholic school throughout most of my child hood. At school when I was learning about religion, same-sex marriage was considered sinful. When I stepped outside of my church or school, my family and almost everyone I knew was in support of homosexual relationships. It wasn't until I was older that I understood the controversial topic of same-sex marriage. The unacceptance of the LGBT community by Catholics is one of the many reasons I was drawn away from the religion I grew up practicing and experiencing. 
Everyone should be accepted for who they want to be in life. This becomes very tricky to educators throughout our country. Children do not always realize the problems that are going on in the world. Many children are so blinded by their religion or home life from their parents that they grow up thinking being "different" is unacceptable. It is important to make students feel like that it isn't weird to be different from other people. "Safe spaces" is a program made to make the LGBT community feel safe and comfortable. "In this situation, the perception of safe gay space can allow the development of a sense of community and confidence, which in turn may contribute to the creation of rights-based movements." By surrounding LGBT communities with each other, it will form confidence which each individual person and allow them to progress on with their life and live their life the way they want to.

I came across an article online about a vice principal who was fired from his job because he married a man. The vice principal worked at a Catholic school in Washington state. A majority of the students protested and fought against the school departments decision. It will be interesting to see what the class thinks about this issue. 


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Quotes from "Aria" by Richard Rodriquez

"We remained a loving family but one completely changed. No longer so close; no longer bound tight by the pleasing and troubling knowledge of our public separateness. Neither my older brother nor sister rushed home after school anymore. Nor did I. When I arrived home there would often be neighborhood kids in the house. Or the house would be empty of sounds."

Rodriguez discusses how his family grew apart while they learned a completely new language that was very unnatural to them. They lost a sense of family and a sense of their culture at home. It is bad enough they had to adapt to becoming Americanized, their language was the last thing they had left. Language is not only a dialect that is spoken. Language itself can have a certain tone or quality to it that other ways of speaking do not have. By stripping diverse cultures of their native language, it limits the words and makes conversations less personal. There is little to no emotion behind anything they are saying because they are not used to speaking in English. 

"Following the dramatic Americanization of their children, even my parents grew more publicly confident."
Children and families who move to the United States are slowly stripped of their culture by our government, schools and culture. His family didn't feel comfortable in public since they could only understand very little English and couldn't communicate well with other Americans. They gained a sense of pride and confidence learning English. We discussed the "melting pot" theory in one of our first classes and said how the "melting pot" ideology is not the accurate term since it does not show everyones identity but rather melts it all together. The salad bowl term is a better term to use since it is more clearly visible of different peoples race, culture and identity. The ideology of SCWAAMP (Straightness Christianity Whiteness American-ness Able-bodied Maleness and Property-Ownership) is very clear in the text. By moving to America, citizens have to automatically adapt to the laws, regulations, customs, traditions and culture of this country. If not, they are perceived as trouble. This mindset teaches children that their is no importance of culture which goes against many mindsets of educators in our country. Colleges, universities and schools all want diversity to be a part of their school's culture, yet children and students who are diverse do not have the right to be taught in the language they have communicated in their whole life. That's America for ya!

"Her voice, like so many of the Spanish voices I'd hear in public, recalled the golden age of my youth."
This quote stood out to me more than anything in the text. Rodriguez refers to his youth as the golden age. It shows how he misses the connection he had with his parents and siblings through the language they spoke as a family. "Golden Age" is a metaphor that is used to describe when something great ocurred or was accomplished. Rodriguez had a sense of family and culture when he was in his golden age of youth, however, as an adult, he feels he will never have that same feeling again.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Other People's Children: The Silenced Dialogue Reflection

I have to be honest, this was definitely a tough read for me. Although, I did extract a few great points and messages from the text. Lisa Delpit discusses how race and social class affect the communication in schools with teachers, students and parents. Communication is definitely the most valuable tool in education and is vital to a child's learning. I tied the text together with the reading Privilege by Peggy McIntosh. White privileged America (middle and upper class) benefit from the "culture of power" and with the type of communication within classrooms. I realized in the school I visited today that more than 50% of the students were a different race other than white. However, every single teacher in the school was white. Could black, Hispanic and Latino students listen and learn more effectively from a teacher of their own race? I definitely think they could.

"Children have the right to their own language, their own culture. We must fight cultural hegemony and fight the system by insisting that children be allowed to express themselves in their own language style. It is not they, the children, who must change, but the schools. To push children to do anything else is repressive and reactionary."

This quote stood out to me the most in the reading. It made me feel like someone was taking a stand on what was right. (Hegemony was a great word to use also). Most of my life I have been expressing myself through my music. This is why I strongly agree with this quote. Children also need a good understanding of how they learn best. Classrooms have always been very regimented and lesson plans or curriculum are based off of a cookie cutter mold of a student that they expect every child to be. Now that many children are able to express themselves freely- for the most part- the education system needs to step up and act the same way. Just like the word repressive says; we are "restraining the freedom of a group of people" by holding them back from being themselves and learning the way they need to learn.

I know that most of this readings sole purpose was to discuss the element of race and education. However, we need to start looking past the difference of race and joining as a group of human beings that we are. I came across a quote from Benjamin Carson that would definitely tie up the discussion of this article pretty well.

"You know, I was asked once by an NPR reporter why I don't talk about race that often. And I said it's because I'm a neurosurgeon. And she looked at me quite quizzically. And I said, 'You see, when I take someone to the operating room and I peel down the scalp and take off the bone flap and open the dura, I'm operating on the thing that makes the person who they are.' The cover doesn't make them who they are. When are we going to understand that?"
-Benjamin Carson


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Jonathan Kozol: Not So Amazing Grace

Jonathan Kovol's Amazing Grace opens readers eyes to the inhumane conditions of Mott Haven, New York. Home to 67,000 people, Mott Haven is part of the South Bronx where two thirds are Hispanic and one third black. It is an inhumane region that houses prostitutes, drug addicts, people suffering from AIDS and un-privileged families living life day by day. In the reading, Kozol speaks with a young boy named Cliffie. Cliffie is extremely mature for his age but still has the same characteristics of a seven year old boy. Children in these types of neighborhoods grow up fast. Becoming "street smart" is a way of survival. He tours Kozol around Mott Haven, telling him about certain landmarks that could seem normal to the average person. Kozol learns a lot from seven year old Cliffie and learns even more from personal stories of the various Mott Haven residents.

 "The point is that they put a lot of things into our neighborhood that no one wants. The waste incinerator is just one more lovely way of showing their affection."
The government treats Mott Haven residents as if they are not humans. They are handled like the trash that is thrown into their backyards. If garbage trucks dumped piles of  trash all along the upper East Side of Manhattan, the government or city officials would be getting sued from a local resident. This is a perfect example of the privilege vs. non privileged. If a resident of Mott Haven tried to stop the garbage dumping in neighborhoods, they would be judged by their race and would never be taken seriously.

"If poor people behaved rationally they would seldom be poor for long in the first place." -Lawrence Mead 
This quote made me want to rip this paper to shreds. I completely disagree with the New York University professor that made this statement. I understand that some social scientists can link poor behavior to poverty, drug abuse and prostitution, but for someone to make a general, cruel statement about un-privileged families living in poverty makes our human race look disgusting and completely blinded by our glass wall in front of our own eyes. Last time I checked, wealthy and privileged people weren't behaving that rationally either. "Many social scientists today appear to hold this point of view and argue that the largest portion of the suffering poor people undergo has to be blamed upon their own "'behaviors,'" a word they tend to pluralize" (Kozol 21).

"The waste products of some of these hospitals, she says, were initially going to be burned at an incinerator scheduled to be built along the East Side of Manhattan, but the siting of a burner there had been successfully resisted by the parents of the area because of fear of cancer risks to children" (Kozol 7).

This quote took my mind right to an episode of Gossip Girl. God forbid they put an incinerator on the East Side of Manhattan! The wealthy families cannot be seen in a place where there is an incinerator, yet alone have one in their own neighborhood. The privileged families were able to put a stop to having the pollutants in the air and they decided to send it to the South Bronx where none of their residents could even step up to the battle of removing it.

Discussion Questions:

Has anything in Mott Haven changed since Kozol's research was published? What is the government's reactions to the living conditions of Mott Haven? Why do they think it is okay for so many people with sicknesses live in such close quarters of each other? How do the teachers in the South Bronx public and charter schools feel about Mott haven? Does the "destitute" state of children and families have an extremely negative impact on the students learning?