Sunday, September 28, 2014

Aria - Richard Rodriguez - Arguments

The author, Richard Rodriguez argues, “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”
(Rodriguez, p.39).

What I believe Rodriguez is arguing here is that in order to fit into society, you must change yourself to fit the perfect mold that society has set. The biggest characteristic of this mold is to be english speaking. For Rodriguez and his family, that ultimately meant losing their native language. Their household became so strict with only speaking English in the house, that living their became almost uncomfortable for the family. I found it extremely unfortunate that this once close-knit family became so distant because they felt pressured by the culture of power. This shows just how present the culture of power is, even in the classroom. I believe Rodriguez's excerpt is the perfect example of when Lisa Delpit says "teachers are in an ideal position to play this role, to attempt to get all of the issues on the table in order to initiate true dialogue" (Delpit, p.47). The nuns in Rodriguez's piece had the power to change the way his household operates and turned out to produce a negative result. I believe teachers can use opportunities like this and produce great results. As a teacher, I would have used this as a chance to teach the students about the Spanish culture. In almost every single classroom in the United States, children learn about the history of America, and not much about any other culture, which is a huge reason why there is still a culture of power. I would have absolutely used that as a chance to introduce the  “melting-pot” that America has become. Rather than trying to whitewash the more diverse and culturally different students in the classroom, I would want to make them feel comfortable all while improving skills that will be beneficial for them in society in the future. 

Questions/Comments/Points To Share
What are some other ways teachers could positively incorporate non english speaking students in the classroom? 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The First Step Is Admitting You Have A Problem - McIntosh(White Privilege-Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack) - CONNECTIONS

Peggy McIntosh
Just as the last few readings we were assigned, as I was reading Peggy Mcintosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” I constantly kept saying to myself “I’m so lucky.” Being a white person in society, I never really considered just how lucky I am until I enrolled in this course. There are so many things I do on a daily basis that black people can’t do that I often take for granted. One of those things is having a fair shot during a job interview. Unfortunately, black people automatically have a huge disadvantage going into a job interview just because of their race. On McIntosh’s list of things that black people cannot count on, but white people can is #22, “I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having coworkers on the job suspect that I got it because of race” (McIntosh p.3). Most white people can go on a job interview confident that they will get the job without being judged or stereotyped, however, most black people cannot. In “Data Shows Racial Bias in America” by Salim Muwakkil, he speaks of many studies that were conducted to show that racial bias is still present today. One of the studies had sent in resumes, each resume was sent in with either a really white name like Emily Walsh or a really black name like Lakisha Washington. The study showed that the more white sounding names were 50% more likely to get the job than the black sounding names, even if they weren’t as qualified as the black sounding name resumes. I just find it really unfortunate that black people who are much more qualified than white people don’t get the same opportunities as white people who aren’t as qualified. It just shows how some people are so stuck in the past that they would go as far as to hire someone who isn't qualified for a job rather than a black person who is beyond qualified. 

In her piece, McIntosh states, “It seems to me that obliviousness about white advantage, like obliviousness about male advantage, is kept strongly inculturated in the United States so as to maintain the myth of meritocracy, the myth that democratic choice is equally available to all. Keeping most people unaware that freedom of confident action is there for just a small number of people props up those in power and serves to keep power in the hands oft he same groups that have most of it already” (McIntosh p.6). In her own words, she is stating Lisa Delpit’s fifth aspect of power, “those with power are frequently least aware of – or least willing to acknowledge – its existence. Those with less power are often most aware of its existence” (Delpit p.26). Both are saying that those with power don’t want to bring it up because it may result in the loss of power. However, this absolutely needs to be done in order to solve the problem. As McIntosh, Delpit, and Johnson all state, “To redesign social systems we need first to acknowledge their colossal unseen dimensions” (McIntosh p.6), “I contend that those with the most power, those in the majority, who must take the greater responsibility for initiating the process” (Delpit p.46), “and if people in privileged groups don’t include themselves in the solution, the default is to leave it to [the people who are not in the culture of power]. But these groups can’t do it on their own, because they don’t have the power to change entrenched systems of privilege by themselves” (Johnson p.10). The first and largest step in order to create some kind of equality is to speak up. When I mean equality, I mean fair opportunities for all, as I think these authors do as well. I don't think any of them want people too look at black people and totally disregard their skin color, but notice that skin color and embrace it and make it a norm in our society just as white skin is. 

Questions/Comments/Points to Share
My biggest question is how can we fix this!? It is honestly crazy to me that it is 2014 and we are still learning about inequality and race and even crazier that I have to take a course in this in order to teach. I am just the type of person that loves everyone no matter their color, shape or size. I just hope that as an educator, I can help break the cycle of white privilege and help create equality. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Jonathon Kozol - Amazing Grace QUOTES

        The small church pictured above is St.Ann’s Church, a small episcopal church in the South Bronx where poor families go for a meal or just for plain comfort. This is also the start of Jonathon Kozol’s journey of exploring the inner city and getting to know some of the people that reside there, in which he shares this journey in is his book, "Amazing Grace." The people he meets are the poorest of the poor, living in some of the most horrific conditions. Though these people and children are surrounded by so much disease, poverty and violence, they are some of the most generous, forgiving and resilient people. I would have to say that Cliffie, the seven year old boy who acts as a tour guide to Kozol is one of the most generous little boys I have come across. The city in which he lives in is not doing anything to help the situation he and all other residents have to deal with; rather they are only making it worse as a woman Kozol meets at the church explains, “3,000 homeless families have been relocated by the city in this neighborhood during the past few years, and she asks a question I will hear from many other people here during the months ahead. ‘Why do you want to put so many people with small children in a place with so much sickness? This is the last place in New York that they should put poor children. Clumping so many people, all with the same symptoms and same problems, in one crowded place with nothin' they can grow on? Our children start to mourn themselves before their time.’ ” I found this quote to be interesting because despite little Cliffie's life, he is so giving and so cheerful. Even though the city is not helping him out at all, he is always willing to give and help others. The first example of this occurs through a simple yet telling gesture as Kozol and Cliffie are walking the streets of South Bronx, “[Cliffie] then looks up at me and asks politely, ‘Would you like a chocolate chip cookie?” (Kozol, p6) he later asks again by saying, “you sure you don’t want a cookie?” (Kozol, p9). As I first started reading through this cookie conversation, I really did not think much of it and wondered why Kozol even included it in the book. As I went on and read more of Cliffie’s generosity I knew exactly why he had included it. The next quote was the one that really made me understand why Kozol had included the cookie conversation and just exactly what it meant.  While they are walking, Cliffie tells Kozol the time he went to get pizza, “ ‘three slices, one for my mom, one for my dad, and one for me’ – he says he saw a homeless man who told him he was hungry. ‘But he was too cold to move his mouth! He couldn’t talk!’
‘How did you know that he was hungry if he couldn’t talk?’
‘He pointed to my pizza.’
‘What did you do?’
‘I gave him some!’
‘Were your parents mad at you?’
He looks surprised by this. ‘Why would they be mad?’ he asks. “God told us, ‘Share!’ “ (Kozol p8). Just as the cookie conversation, this story shows just how generous and giving Cliffie is. My first quote reveals how people just expect the children of the South Bronx to succumb to their living situation and become part of the negative they are so often afraid of. However, my second and my third quote show Cliffie doing the exact opposite. Despite all the hardships this boy faces, he still recognizes that there are those who are less fortunate than him, and he undoubtedly without question or hesitation is willing to give something up that is considered a rare treat for him. In our society most people don’t even give up the spare change floating around in their pockets to homeless people on the street, so it was incredible to see such a young boy who has it harder than most people out there be so generous and giving.
       One thing that stood out to me most that I would like to point out in class is the comment made by Lawrence Mead. Mead believes that, "if poor people behaved rationally, they would seldom be poor for long in the first place" (Kozol p21). I absolutely disagree with this statement. As Kozol pointed out, people like Alice did not choose how their life played out. She worked multiple jobs, but divorce and cancer ultimately got the best of her. She acted rationally and did whatever she could for her family, but it wasn't enough. Of course I believe there are some poor people out there who are not working as hard as they could be to get to a point where they could live somewhat comfortably, but as Kozol points out, for many it is not a choice it is just the way life happens.

Friday, September 12, 2014

About Me

       My name is Jessica Tenerella or Miss.Jessie as the children who go to the daycare I work at refer to me as. I am a sophomore here at Rhode Island College, majoring in early childhood education and special education. I hope to graduate from RIC and eventually open up my own inclusive daycare. The main reason why I am taking this course is because it is a requirement to get into the school of education, which is a big step towards my goal of opening my own daycare. Meanwhile, I work at a home daycare in Cranston. My summer pretty much consisted of me being there all day everyday, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way! The few times while I was not working, I was usually with my friends. One of my best memories this summer with one of my best friends was when we saw Luke Bryan in concert at Gillette Stadium. It was one of the best nights of my life, and I got to spend it with my best friend. Besides my friends, the other people closest to me are of course my family. Being a triplet, my brothers and I have always been super close, so any chance I got to spend with them, my older sister or my parents I was always jumping at the chance.