Sunday, March 22, 2015

From the 1950's to the present; Brown vs. Board of Ed. to us Now Having a Black President


I would like to start my blog post with a quote I wrote down from the video called "Between Barack and a Hard Place" which the author named Tim Wise stated,

         "The standard that I use, ultimately, if you want to know if a problem is still a problem it probably makes sense to talk to the ones who are the target of it, not the ones who don’t have to know because we are not………. I can be a good person, a decent person and remain oblivious and I think that is where white folks have been for a long time.”

         This quote from Wise was one of the only points he brought up that I agreed with. I thought that he did not give enough credit to how much progress has been made towards racism and having equality in this country throughout the many years, but when he said this quote I realized that maybe he is noticing things that I don't. Since he is an author who writes about these issues and wrote a book where he incorporated having our first black President into them, I figured he probably has gotten to speak to those who are targeted by discrimination and has much more insight than I do. 
            That may be a big reason why the first few times, such as in Briggs vs. Elliot, the courts did not sympathize and said that segregation was not unconstitutional. The court was made up of only white men back then, so like Tim Wise they could not understand what the colored people were going through back then because they were not the ones targeted. Not that I am justifying their decisions because I think segregation should have been gotten rid of the first time and during the first lawsuit.

"I just want to make sure that we don’t come to need black and brown folk to be like Obama"

        I thought it was strange when he described colored people in the way of called them "black and brown folk". It is comments like that which aren't helping us get any closer to eliminating racism and discrimination because everyone is from a different culture, I thought we were past just calling people things by the color that their skin is.  They were basically segregating all of us just by them separating people into different groups by the color of their skin just in their conversation. This video is also something that I found interesting because some schools still do seem a bit segregated today and it was nice to see people are still trying to keep changing things for the better.

"We are nowhere near a post-racial America....... So, to pretend or to act as though we are headed to this post-racial place would be no more logical than to say Pakistan was headed to a post-sexist place"

         I just thought this was a good quote, even though I think we are heading to a post-racial place. It may be a really slow process but we are getting there and I think we should all at least try to have faith in that because if we don't it may not work. When we all fight to make change that is when it actually happens. Like Tim Wise mentioned, that big events or when everyone got together to make a big change are what we actually still remember throughout history and what still makes a mark on everyone's lives.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

"In the Service of What?"

            When I realized that I would next be reading an article about service learning I knew that it would be best for me to do a reflection blog since our class is doing it. Reading "In the Service of What? The Politics of Service Learning" by Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer, has helped me remember how important our Service Learning Project is, not only because I am learning more about teaching but because I can help many kids learn when they need it. I personally have had a difficult time in my service learning placement and needed the reminder of why I am doing it and why I was excited for it in the first place.
            Service learning does not just have to be at an elementary school, middle school, or high school, it is meant for those to be tutored that need the help. I was sort of confused when Kahne and Westheimer gave their examples of service learning, which were helping out a center with babies that were carried while their mothers had done drugs during the pregnancy, giving homeless people survival kits, running errands for a busy doctor, etc. Don't get me wrong they all were great community service projects and they gave me good ideas for the future, but I thought in service learning projects, we the students are not supposed to be the only one going through a learning experience. In those examples, the students were definitely helping others and making their lives a bit easier, but did those that were helped by these students really learn as much as the students learned while helping someone in need? This is just something that I had to wonder since I am really hoping that the students I tutor will walk away having learned as much, or even more, from the experience of service learning as I have. But after reading this piece I realized that service learning is not a completely separate thing, it is a form of community service and volunteering.

             In the second part of Kahne and Westhemer's article, they talk about how requiring community service in high school, or in our case college, really helps with moral development. In high school I barely completed my requirement and did not understand why or how I was supposed to do twenty hours of community service in my last two years of school. Now that I'm in a sorority I have put so much time into our philanthropies such as raising money for breast cancer, cleaning a whole homeless shelter's kitchen, participating in save the bay, relay for life, doing adopt a family at Christmas time by giving presents to children that would not have had any otherwise, etc. I think that all of those experiences have had a huge part in me being who I am today and they have only made me want to help more; to help those organizations again, to do more community service, and to start helping other organizations as well. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

"Unlearning the Myths that Bind Us"

        I was actually pretty excited to read this article called "Unlearning the Myths that Bind Us" by Linda Christensen because as we all grow older we hear more and more about the messages behind fairy tales that we had not noticed when we were younger. Any bad things that I have heard about them have just gone in one ear and out the other because up until now I have not wanted to have any perception of my childhood changed. It really doesn't help that I just do not like change in general. But now that Christensen is really analyzing the messages in cartoons and fairy tales, I want to learn about it and also be able see their roles in racism, sexism or stereotypes like some of what we have talked about in class so far. By choosing to focus on quotes from the text I am hoping to analyze certain parts of it more.

             "If I want my students to wrestle with the social text of novels, news, or history books, they need the tools to critique media that encourage or legitimate social inequality."(pg. 127)
      I really liked this quote, even though it is pretty early into the reading, because it is true that in order to understand where social inequality began you have to be able to analyze where it originally came from and how. Christensen believes that if you can not see the racial and social differences in fairy tales and cartoons then you definitely will not know how to pick apart any issues that we read in articles such as this each week. She is using the media as a foundation for better understanding of the world and how we have created stereotypes.

             "It can be overwhelming and discouraging to find out my whole self image has been formed mostly by others or underneath my worries about what I look like are years (17 of them) of being exposed to TV images of girls and their set roles given to them by the TV and the media. It's painful to deal with." (pg. 129)
      It is understandable that it is hard to find out the fairy tales you loved or shows you liked to watch as a kid helped to grow who we became as an adult. Especially when you are a woman who is pretty self conscious and may think a lot that you are not pretty enough or skinny to not be practically invisible in society. In my opinion it can also be comforting to find out that these things are not just all made up in your head and you aren't crazy, subconsciously you have been taught to feel this way by what you have probably seen on the television. It may be strange to think of it that way but that is partially how I looked at it while reading this text.

         "I don't want students to believe that change can be bought at the mall, nor do I want them thinking that the pinnacle of a      woman's life is an 'I do' that supposedly leads them to a 'happily ever after'." (pg. 133)                 
      So I was happy when princess Tiana became the princess from the "Princess and the Frog" and then this article tells us part of the story called "Cindy Ellie, A Modern Fairy Tale" which is the story of an African Cinderella, which seemed like a good story so far. They definitely helped make fairy tales more racially integrated, but no matter what, getting the prince in these tales were the most important part of the stories. I wish that there could be more fairy tales made where this did not need to be an object of the story at all, but I doubt that there will ever be one without falling in love being an aspect. I personally like that part of fairy tales but I do get that finding a man is not the most important thing for a girl to do in her lifetime.

Also something to think about that could be something to talk about in class as well is how many guys feel about fairy tales which is in a small article right here