Sunday, February 22, 2015

Reflecting on "Safe Spaces" by Vaccaro, August and Kennedy

         "Safe Space" is a book that was written by Annemarie Vaccaro, Gerri August, and Megan S. Kennedy where they bring up some really great points about issues in the lives of young lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people. This is another topic that I never think about enough therefore I never see how much of a problem it really is. In chapter 5 they discuss the importance of teaching children more about those with different sexual orientations in school so that the classroom can feel like a more comfortable and less judge-mental space for LGBT youth in the long run.
           I completely agree that your middle school and high school years can be some of the hardest years of your life, so adding the stress of being ridiculed for being gay can definitely feel like too much to bear. For one, I really do not think that starting teaching children about these issues as early as elementary school is a good idea. The way that the show called Postcards from Buster that Vaccaro, August, and Kennedy actually seemed like a good thing to show kids as a way to show them that there are families out there with two mom or two dads and they are just as happy and normal like any other family. I could not believe that people actually went out of their way to get that episode, which was called "Sugartime!", cancelled off of the show saying that children should not be shown these kinds of lifestyles. That is why I looked it up on Youtube and was glad to see most of it was leaked so that we could see it.
           A part of this chapter that I feel is important is where the authors talk about a girl that was in a Spanish class, and did not feel uncomfortable at all with being a lesbian in this class and enjoyed not only the class but her teacher as well. When this girl had wrote in Spanish that she had a sweetheart in the feminine form, since she had a female sweetheart, the teacher marked it wrong and changed it to the masculine form. I felt so bad for her and wished that she would have gone to the teacher and asked her to fix her grade because she really did mean to put the word in the feminine form and it should not be marked wrong since it is who she is. But I can understand why that would have been hard for her to go through with since LGBT youth can be so harshly judged.

My talking point for class would be to discuss why any teacher would compare homosexuality to bestiality and why a teacher's student being transgendered has to be a big deal.   

Sunday, February 15, 2015

"Aria" written by Richard Rodriguez

        Richard Rodriguez's approach in his article called "Aria" is quite different from any of the other articles we have read in  this class so far. Fist of all, I still can not figure out why he named it "Aria" and what the title's connection is with the article itself. Secondly, he writes it by giving us a story of his life that is meant to teach us about him becoming bilingual as a child and how it effected his life and how it effects most children in the world today. None of the other authors' pieces we had read gave their full story of why they were writing about that article; the author's background story seems to make the article more interesting for me.
         Richard begins by explaining that he started school as a child who really only knew Spanish, and at the school he went to the nuns did all they could to teach their students English. He and his siblings did not want to learn English because they felt that Spanish was a "private language" that made them different and made their family especially close at home because that is all they spoke to each other. So once the nuns went to their parents and encouraged them to teach English in the house and the kids had to take special tutoring things began to change. Their family life was strange now and Richard noticed that English basically became his primary language and he was barely ever speaking Spanish and it was as if his whole world was changed.

"Without question, it would have pleased me to hear my teachers address me in Spanish when I entered the classroom. I would have felt much less afraid. I would have trusted them and responded with ease. But I would have delayed---- for how long postponed?---- having to learn the language of public society." (page 1).

This quote seemed most important to me because it is the most true. If the nuns had coddled him and made him feel comfortable from the start and spoke Spanish, then there wouldn't have been a need to learn English and they would not have been nearly as motivated. People say that the only way to learn another language these days is to go to another country with no other devices and you will learn it from everyone speaking it around you and the other languages words written down all around you. It is the same way in school; with the nuns being around them speaking English all the time there was the need to learn it and to pick up on it.

"We remained a loving family, but one greatly changed. No longer so close; no longer bound tight by the pleasing and troubling knowledge of our public separateness." (page 2).

 Rodriguez's story was more emotional to read, but this part of it made me especially sad. The fact that the children were only speaking English and it made the family break apart and be not nearly as close was heart breaking. I wish that the kids could have become bilingual and more successful but also be able to keep that same bond with their parents that they always had. These are maybe some steps that could have helped the family, especially the parents, and could probably help keep a family close in the future with this same situation.

"So they do not realize that while one suffers a diminished sense of private individuality by becoming assimilated into public society, such assimilation makes possible the achievement of public individuality." (page 3).

Basically this quote means that even though Richard knew who he was and felt like his own different person by knowing a different language than most people knew, you can still be an individual and be unique while speaking English and having it become your primary language. Change is not always a bad thing, it can help you truly find yourself and teach you more than you had ever known before. This is why being bilingual is important, it opens so many more doors.  

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Focused on Certain Privilages

        "I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege." (page 1).

                This is one of the first quotes that stood out to me while reading Peggy McIntosh's article named White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. The title says white privilege because that is was McIntosh focuses on most, but in the beginning of the article and a little bit throughout it she talks about male privilege.When she had gotten to talking about men knowing that women need more privileges but were not willing to give up any of their own, she made the smart connecting to white privilege. It makes sense that whatever privileges we have had all of our lives do not seem like that to us, but McIntosh has paid attention to what aspects of life come easier for her than for some colored people.
             Although McIntosh first wanted to point out how men have more privileges than women, it must have made her think of how we as women are not all entirely unprivileged. It made her realize that the color of her skin has given her more advantages than some people of color which she had neglected to notice before.

        "I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race." (page 3).

             To prove her point of white privilege, Peggy McIntosh wrote a list of 26 advantages that we as whites have in the world today. I chose advantage number 14 which was the one that stuck out to me the most because it was one of the most true in my opinion. One big example of this is how Obama became most famous for being the first black president not so much for being the next president of the United States. But all of the presidents before him were just well known for being great presidents or something they had done wrong; never anything to do with their race.

           If you have the time to read something really interesting, Gina Crosley-Corcoran wrote an essay named "Explaining White Privilege to a Broke Person" and she talks about White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack in complete detail.

       "I have met very few men who truly distressed about systemic, unearned male advantage and conferred dominance. And so one question for me and others like me is whether we will be like them, or whether we will get truly distressed, even outraged, about unearned race advantage and conferred dominance, and, if so, what we will do to lessen them." (page 5).

             This quote towards the end of the article reminded me of Johnson's piece about racism that we read for class in the first week of the semester. In his piece he admits that he has white privilege but also admits that he gets male privilege too. He does not seem to distress about it but does say that he is acknowledging that he as a white male gets the most privileges but wants to work towards racism and different races having different advantages in life. Over all Johnson and McIntosh seem to have the same goals.