Sunday, February 28, 2016

Safe Spaces By: Gerri August

Safe Spaces: Making Schools and Communities Welcoming to LGBT Youth

By: Gerri August


      In Gerri August's piece he argues that the LGBT lifestyle is not given enough recognition. As well as not being recognized, many LGBT children feel like their lifestyle is incorrect. The article states, "...(the) LGBT topics arise are nonverbal messages that tell youth that being LGBT is abnormal or wrong" (August). People feel uncomfortable talking about this type of lifestyle, so because of the lack of "saying the words" leads children to feel that they are wrong for being who they are. This type of seclusion is also discussed in a school setting. Teachers teach their students about different kinds of families including single parent families, adoptive families, and divorced families. Teachers make sure to include these types of lifestyles in their curriculum to help include more children. They also explain how families can come in different sizes and shapes or live in different types of houses. Even though they include all different factors, most educators take the "path of least resistance" by not talking about LGBT families. This makes it easier for adults and other children to not have to worry about understanding or offending this type of lifestyle. Ignoring the issue makes these children feel less important than others. In many instances children feel like suicide is their only option to turn to. August argues that LGBT lifestyles are equally important to any other, and they should be spoken about as freely as other family settings. 

Just because someone doesn't share the same lifestyle or sexual preference doesn't
mean they are any less of a person. It also doesn't mean that they are a bad person or make bad parents. 
Questions-Comments-Points to share:
I really enjoyed reading this article. It brings up a lot of really great points especially in the lives of children. The part where they are explaining the story of the children's show "Sugartime!" wasn't allowed to air because of the portrayal of lesbian mothers. The broadcaster company was afraid that people wouldn't watch their channel because of the exposure of an alternative lifestyle. This book was published in 2011; very close to 2015 where gay marriage was legalized. 

One part that gave a read flag though is when they are talking about teaching lifestyles in schools. I agree that gay marriage should be discussed in schools because it is a very important to recognize all families; however, I think the reason that teachers tried not to talk about it is because same sex marriage wasn't legal in all states. People want to talk about LGBT but felt they couldn't because they don't want to promote "illegal" activity. I think it was an iffy thing to talk about; but now since it's 2016 I think accepting this lifestyle and teaching children about it will be easy.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us

"Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us"

By: Linda Christensen


"Aria" by: Richard Rodriquez 

      In Richard Rodriguez's story he is explaining his struggles of a language barrier. Speaking spanish at home and english at school wasn't cutting it; so the nuns asked his parents to help him and his siblings practice their english at home. This soon lead to them no longer speaking spanish at all. Rodriguez is pleased that he finally fits into the culture of the people at school; however he loses the close blond he shared with his family through speech. This relates to Linda Christensen's article because she is talking about how there is a "secret learning" that takes place through children's movies.  They discuss aspects like gender, race, wealth, and physical aspects in many popular Disney movies. The students found that there were very specific portrayals for each category. Women were overly sexualized and inferior to men. African American's were seen often as servants; while fat people were seen as foolish. Take for instance when Christensen says, "there should be more women of color who play the leads in these white-on-white wedding cake tales" (Christensen 131). This reminded me of Rodriguez because he was seen as a classroom problem until he learned the english language. He states, "at last, seven years old I came to believe what has been technically true since my birth; I was an American citizen" (Rodriguez 36). A young boy didn't feel he was part of America until he was able to speak the same language as everyone else. I think this directly relates to there not being any movies for children that showcase any main characters as other races besides white. 

"White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" by: Peggy MacIntosh

     Peggy MacIntosh talks about the idea of there being a level of superiority between different people. Wether it be between man and woman or between the races, there are people who have advantages because of their race and/or their color. She especially comments on noticing "men's unwillingness to grant that they are overprivileged, even though they may grant that women are disadvantaged" (MacIntosh). Here she is explaining that although a white male is able to see that a white woman is at a disadvantage to him, he is less likely to admit that he has more privilege over her. This relates back to Christensen because these ideas that a white man has the most power is portrayed through these children's films. For example, most Disney princesses are not fulfilled until they find a man that they can be with. Movies like Cinderella, Beauty and The Beast, and Snow White all end with the princess finding the perfect man that will make them better as a person. Each of these girls are petite and white. This excludes any other body type or race to find their "happily ever after." If more children's movies featured other "types" of people, young children like Rodriguez may feel more included in the American culture. 

Although these princesses have a few different races, they all share the same body type. This doesn't promote diversity.

Questions-Comments-Points to share:
I agree that all types of people need to be able to express themselves; and there definitely is media influence as to what is accepted in American culture. But isn't that what a culture is? A special set of rules that define what is assigned to each type of person. When reading these I found myself feeling sorry for people like Rodriguez because they are not being able to express themselves. I immediately blamed the American culture for being flawed and not accepting other. But other cultures do not follow the same ideas of the U.S. and no one seems to bother with that. Yes, America is a much more diverse country and a lot of people are uneducated about these other cultures (including myself). I think Americans also have the right to embrace their whiteness; but they cannot ignore and shun those who have other values. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016



By: Richard Rodriguez

Reflection Prompt 

       When reading Rodriguez's story it was unclear in the beginning what he was talking about. When I realized that he was faced with the issue of a language barrier the first thing that came to mind was Johnson's idea of "just saying the words." He uses the word "gringo" a lot throughout his story when referring to others who don't share the same hispanic culture. This was of using the words I think shows the social norm in America of white, english- speaking people. Learning a new language can often time she difficult; especially when someone is thrown into that environment where speaking a different language is a must. Rodriguez's story is a prime example of how someone in a minority situation is at a disadvantage because of the "rules" set up by society. 
       In comparison to Rodriguez's experiences, I also find the language barrier very frustrating. In spanish class if I am asked to answer a question I feel uncomfortable answering because I know it won't be correct. However the biggest different between Rodriguez and I is that I know that the other students in the class are also struggling with the same language. He feels that he isn't even "allowed" to use the english language. He states, "I moved very far from the disadvantaged child I had been days earlier" (Rodriguez 36). Feeling in the minority he and his family changed to assimilate into american culture. This lead to him feeling like he lost the close connection he had with his family when they were speaking spanish at home. 
The dog in this picture is a representation of people in a minority setting who may not speak english. The man is pretending or may even believe he understands what the dogs issues are; however he truly has no idea because he cannot understand his language.

Questions-Comments-Points to share:
The language barrier in the United States I think has a lot to do with the school systems. In other places of the world they teach other languages a lot more diligently. For instance, last semester there was a girl from Russia in one of my classes and when she went to school over there, english was a major language they were expected to learn. If these types of courses are enforced in American school, I think there would be less of a minority/ majority type attitude.  

Sunday, February 7, 2016

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

"White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack"

By: Peggy Mclntosh

Quotes Prompt

     "I was taught to see racism as only in individual acts of meanness, 
not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group."

     The above quote is what the author starts the article off with. By this quote she is setting up her main point which is that white people have an unwritten dominance over any other race. The word "conferring" is a very appropriate term for what she is portraying. Conferring is the transfer of information; whether or not this information is being push upon something, or given to. Mclntosh explains how the race barrier can also be seen from male to female in the same race. Men tend to have an advantage over women; however they are less apt to admit that than they are that women are at a disadvantage. People in power are more willing to acknowledge others struggles rather than their own privilege. 

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

     An article written by Tanya Somander explores the value of a dollar between men and women. The study shows that for every one American dollar earned by a man, a woman will receive $0.78. Although this article was posted over a year ago, the study still stands true. They then compared the pay of women who are non-hispanic black will make $0.64 and hispanic women will make $0.56. A hispanic woman makes almost half the amount of a white male who is equally qualified and experienced. This helps strengthen Mclntoshe's point that the correlation between white privilege and male privilege isn't that far off. 

"When I am told about our national heritage or 'civilization,'
I am shown that people of my color made it what it is."

      This is taken from the "white privilege" list in the article. There are countless examples of how whiteness is subconsciously valued in everyday encounters. Mclntoshe explains that white children will be taught that people of the same race were the most progressive when establishing "civilization." While children who are of color will not have this relation as much. This can also be affiliated between man and women. Although there are many progressive women that are taught in schools, the majority of history is about white men paving the way for everyone else.

Questions-Comments-Points to share:
I really liked Mclntosh's relation between the race gap as well as the gender gap. I think that this relates to the idea of "tapping the glass" that we talked about in class. In today's society maleness and whiteness is valued in our society as uncovered by our SCHWAAMP activity. Our ideology is based around people being white, straight, male's and anything that challenges this is often shut down. Mclntosh challenges this idea by talking about the social norms that favor white culture. She doesn't blame this ideology on any one person; but she presents the idea that people push this idea onto white's as well as white's bestowing their culture on the world. 

I also found the initial quote along the same lines of Delpit's "rules of power." "If you are not already a participant in the culture of power, being told explicitly the rules of that power makes acquiring power easier." People who are in power don't seem to want to recognize it; but those who do not have power seem much more aware of it.