Sunday, September 25, 2016

Richard Rodrigues "Aria"

Richard Rodrigues "Aria"
Lisa Delpit's "Other People's Children"
Peggy McIntosh's White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
Lesley Griner's SCWAAMP


This week, the reading I will be covering is that of Richard Rodrigues who wrote "Aria".  The first hand account of a young Spanish speaking boy who, living in America was forced to speak English in all aspects of life and was subconsciously taught the codes and culture of power. The code and culture of power is a topic which Lisa Delpit confronts in "Other People's Children". She outlines the idea that there are strict invisible standards set for everyone living in today's American society. Through these standards there are certain stigmas to obtain power such as speaking the right language and presenting yourself properly in order to be seen as a person of quality.

 Having spoken very little English and feeling detached from the language, Richard clung to his family's Spanish heritage and had lack of confidence in his ability to have his English voice heard. He did not feel like his English voice belonged to him. So, for a long time this bullied Richard into staying silent during class discussions, when called upon he kept his voice low and mumbled the best answer he could devise. This lack of interaction did not conform to the standards of the school system(which we know to be the code and conduct of power) and the Nuns from his school came to his home to speak to his parents about properly integrating English into Richard and his siblings lives. From there on out his parents would insist on speaking in English only and what seemed to be a fun and tactical way of becoming more confident in a foreign language soon turned into the detachment of how close he once was with his heritage.

Richard discuses how difficult this transition was for him and it reminded me of a quote from Peggy McIntosh's "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" where she states "as my racial group was being made confident, comfortable, and oblivious, other groups were likely being made un-confident, uncomfortable, and alienated". After reading this article I can not agree with McIntosh anymore, through the Culture of Power people are so focused on making everyone look and act the same. The Nuns saw Richard as an introverted child and blamed it on his inability to fully understand the English language, and even though Richard really did struggle with speaking the language out loud it was not because he didn't know how to speak in English. It was because English was not his language, he was un-confident in how he pronounced the language. He was uncomfortable with having people hear his accent, and he constantly felt like an outsider who no one beside his Spanish speaking family would understand. Sooner or later he gained confidence in his ability to speak in English and began becoming embarrassed of his parents who had thick accents and did not understand the language as well as their children. He began feeling distant and alienated from them because their ability to understand English lacked in experience. This is a never ending cycle that is forced upon people in America whose first language isn't English. What can we do as future teachers to stop this cycle?

Questions/Comments/Point To Share:

  • How can we as future teachers make our classrooms more comfortable and accepting of all students who speak all languages?  Is it acceptable to integrate some Spanish and French into our daily classrooms? 
  • Why is the major focus on students being forced to learn English when all other students aren't forced to learn Spanish or French in the classroom. It should be implemented into all elementary class curriculum, to mainly benefit those who are still learning the English language but it will also be for the students whom are going to spend the rest of their lives surrounded by Spanish speaking people having no idea what they're saying. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

"No Business as Usual"

White Privilege to a Broke Person by Gina Crosley- Corcoran 
All Lives Matter by Kevin Roose
and referenced Amazing Grace by Jonathan Kozol 

Quotes/ Connection

What I love about FNED is that we get to explore a variety of topics heard from a spread of voices from all different cultures, races, and social classes. I enjoyed this weeks selections because we hear from a middle class white feminist exploring her advantages and disadvantages in American society, a lower class white woman discussing lack of privilege based on economic status, and a man's point of view on the how were discuss the "Black Lives Matter" movement.  

"As my racial group has been made confident, comfortable, and obvious, other racial groups were being made un-confident, uncomfortable and alienated" - Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by McIntosh
I chose this quote from McIntosh's piece "Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" because it clarifies how in American culture white people are subliminally taught to ignore their privileges. This quote highlights how in our society there are certain standards or ideals which define what our society views as beautiful. As a white person I can be assured that when I turn on a tv, look to the faces of my leaders and people in power I can take comfort in the fact that people of my race will be represented. As a white woman there is comfort in the fact that my body type and skin tone are similar to those represented in the media represented by princesses, pop culture figures, ect.  The same comforts do not apply for people of other races who speak other languages and do not conform to the mold of the power of culture in America. Because they do not conform to the dominant population there are less accommodations to make them feel comfortable. 

The idea that some people are worth more focus than other people gets re-discussed by Kevin Roose who says;
"If we do not pay as much attention to certain peoples deaths as we do others then we do NOT treat all lives as if they matter equally." 
In relation to what McIntosh explores about privilege this quote solidifies the basis that our dominant society only wants to hear news relating to themselves. Roose outlines the difference in saying "all lives matter" in response to the civil rights "All Black Lives Matter" campaign. I've discovered that even in the best of interests stating that all lives matter in response to the BLM campaign only takes away the importance of discussing how important black lives are. This quote spoke to me because it couldn't be more realistic, there are many people who die every single day but the only people who we mourn as a society are those who our society idolized. I read more "news" on social media that discusses pop culture and who's who than I care to admit. This is reflected on all the news which is selected to be exploited. Selected by people who focus more on connecting with their audience's interests than it does on what the most important news is. If we can't talk about all peoples problems equally than how do we begin creating a fair and equal society???

"Middle class, educated people assume that anyone can achieve their goals if they work hard enough" - White Privilege to a Broke Person by Crosley- Corcoran 
I personally related to this article because I would consider  myself to be apart of the lower economic class, and there have been a few times when discussing the dominant ideology theory where it hits me like a ton of bricks that I am privileged based on my ethnic(or lack of) background and geographic location. Although being apart of the lower working class means that there are privileges that I am handicapped from.  Jonathan Kozol agrees that demographics create a lack of opportunity, which in return keeps people in their economic state. This becomes an infinite cycle that only a percentage of people escape from. But it is possible, and I am a strong believer that your life is what you make of it and with some luck and a whole lot of hard dedicated work it is possible to be more than a percentage.  

Point To Share:
  • If you didn't get the chance to read White Privilege to a Broke Person by Gina Crosley- Corcoran you should check it out. It's a quick and to the point read which I feel like rounded the selections off nicely. 
  • Also I think that the "All Lives Matter" article was a really great choice for material which intrigued me to hear more voices on the topic... Here is Brown Blaze talking about the civil movement. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Land of Limitations

                                          "The Land of Limitations" by Nicholas Kristof

In this article, "The Land of Limitations" by Nicholas Kristof argues that success is not a result of the choices a person makes nor their personal responsibility but it is far more complicated than that. He states, rather repeatedly in fact, about how a persons success is determined based on the social and economic status of their parents and grandparents. Kristof highlights the idea that those who are born in the bottom quintile very rarely become successful enough to rise to the top quintile. He followed these statements with short factoids and multiple quotes from republican standpoints who see minute potential in anyone of the lower class.

What Kristof doesn't fully explain is the WHY when discussing how people are falling into this statistic. Why is it that those with more economic privilege also continue to stay in the highest quintile? I began wondering if this was a mental barrier that humans created for themselves, having only known one economic class their whole lives. Did they go on limiting themselves and their own successes based on the successes of their parents? Why is it that a persons skills and abilities are deemed less resourceful than the amount of money they have in their bank account?

The writer uses a man whom he knew personally named Rick as an example of how no matter how hard you work in life, without money, one's ability to become successful is futile. He highlights how hard Rick had to work his whole life in order to stay afloat and how ultimately he died because he could no longer afford his medicine to live. Having been raised with no father and a mother who died when he was young, Rick looked after and raised his two younger siblings. He dropped out of school so that he could work and take care of them, and from that point he worked for the rest of his life. I believe the purpose of bringing in Rick's misfortunes into the light in this article is to reinforce the ideal that "the best predictor of where you end is where we start".

What you should know about me

These are some of my roommates and best friends here at RIC,
these girls encourage and motivate me everyday and
I could never imagine being without them.
It's true! You really do meet your best friends in college!
I play ultimate Frisbee for RIC, it started out as a way to stay
fit through out the school year but it has become a major part
of my life. This is the only sports team I have ever been I have
ever been apart of!  
I love to travel
Last November my older sister and I went to the Azores in
 Portugal where we swam in volcanic waters, hiked, and
ate some island delicacies.
I love being outdoors, going on adventures, hiking and

This is Mr. Boudreau, my high school Auto Mechanics teacher.
Thanks to the great guy I now know how to work on cars!
I love working on my own vehicles and having common
knowledge about cars!