Sunday, September 28, 2014

Aria - Richard Rodriguez - Argument

The author, Richard Rodriguez argues that, 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 39). I think that Rodriguez is saying that you have to change yourself to fit into today's stereotypical American society. He shared his personal story about his spanish speaking family with readers. Reading the story and understanding his struggle as a child really put things into perspective for me. Rodriguez wants readers to know how difficult it was to unwillingly loose his spanish culture just because it was mandatory to speak english in school. For example, his teachers continued to call him Richard when he was referred to as 'Ricardo' at home. Richard and his family lived in the United States and were forced to speak the "American" language, leaving his native language behind. The author explains how heart breaking it was to see his family grow apart as they continued to speak more and more english. It was as if their spanish language was the glue that kept them together. It was saddening to read how little their family communicated after this change. This article reminded me of the culture of power within the classroom that Lisa Delpit discusses. She 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, 47). The nuns that approached Richard's family thought they had the power to change the primary language of the Rodriguez home and they did so. Unfortunately this was not a positive part of the families lives. Nowadays there is no issues with language. The United States has over 300 languages spoken within the country, spanish being one of the major ones. Signs in stores and other public places now contain both english and spanish. Languages like Italian, Spanish and French are being taught in many school systems. And in many cases, it is certainly easier to get a job if you are bilingual. 

Questions/Comments/Point to Share:
After reading this article, it is obvious that it is very important to connect with students personally. It is crucial to know about their lives at home so the teacher can help the student further. Do you feel that teachers try to know about the culture of their students? Are the cultures of other children used positively in classrooms today? I am sure many of us have heard people say, "This is America, everyone should speak english". Do you agree with this statement? Is english really the primary language anymore?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

McIntosh, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack and Dear White Mom (Connections)

After reading White Privilege by Peggy McIntosh, I was completely moved. Once again, this article brought up many topics that rarely cross my mind until they are raised. I found that her work was very interesting to read as she is a white women talking about white privilege. Not often do you see or hear those of white race bring up or even admit that they have an advantage because of their skin color. 

One of the first things that stuck out to me was the section called "Earned strength, unearned power". I immediately thought of the reading we just finished by Lisa Delpit. McIntosh opens by saying "I want, then, to distinguish between earned strength and unearned power conferred systematically. Privilege can look like strength when it is in fact permission to escape or to dominate. Power from unearned privilege can look like strength when it is in fact permission to escape or to dominate." (4-5) These words are very similar to that of Lisa Delpit who discusses the five aspects of the culture of power. Two of those aspects are, "If you are not already a participant in the culture of power, being told explicitly the rules of that culture makes acquiring power easier." and "Those with power are frequently least aware or least willing to acknowledge its existence. Those with less power are often most aware its existence." Each author discusses their definition of the advantages of power and how power still exists. They both connect in a way that says those who are white have power and therefore are privileged. I think both of these readings go hand in hand as privilege and power are essentially the same thing. 

The next article I read was Dear White Mom. I enjoyed this reading very much. It was alarming to read how distressed the author was about her colored son growing up in today's society. She discusses the Michael Brown shooting case that recently happened. This is not the first time a shooting like this has happened and unfortunately it probably will not be the last. She says, "Tell your children about how unbalanced it is — to put it mildly– that the news makes it seem as though only African-Americans commit crimes." I found again that this article was similar to that of McIntosh's. She brings up the issue of how colored people are followed around in stores or are assumed to be dangerous while white people rarely have that happen to them. A few things I found interesting that she said: "Speak up to the checker who asks for your black friend’s ID to take a check and not for yours.Talk about how racism isn’t history, it’s now." 

Racism and white privilege are happening now and many of us do not even realize it. Those of white race are privileged daily and may not be able to point it out like McIntosh did. Unfortunately it occurs in daily life. Why do we only sell nude colored band-aids? Why were 'flesh' colored crayons once made? Like McIntosh said, "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." Its time to recognize the problems and deal with them.