Sunday, February 28, 2016

Safe Spaces: Making Schools and Communities Welcoming to LGBT Youth -By: Annemarie Vaccaro, Gerri August, and Meghan S. Kennedy

Reflection/ Connection: 
I really enjoyed reading "Safe Spaces", because it discussed a topic that I feel especially strong about. The article discussed the importance of introducing and welcoming LGBT society to youth. The chapter also acknowledges the consequences of not welcoming the topic of LGBT into youth classrooms. Youth classrooms should be considered a "safe space", students have the right to an education and they should be able to receive that education comfortably.
I get especially defensive when the subject of LGBT society comes up because I have an older brother who is gay. He came out as gay when he was a freshmen in high school, which to me is incredibly brave and admirable. I remember him being teased as a kid for wanting to play with barbies and play dress up with me. In middle school, kids used to come up to me and say things like, "Why does your brother talk like a girl?" and it really irritated me. After reading this article it clearly demonstrates why welcoming LGBT into youth classrooms is important.  Obviously my brother felt different, out of place,isolated because nobody ever spoke of being gay, therefore all his classmates had to judge him because to them he was "different". Fortunately, I have wonderful, loving, accepting parents who fully support my brother no matter what. However, I think that the students reactions may have been different if LGBT had been introduced in our classrooms. 
This article is a great representation of Grinner's "SCWAAMP". Straightness is the highly valued sexuality in society. Therefore, it causes any other sexuality to be seen as taboo. This idea could also be applied to Delpit's "Culture of Power". Straightness holds all of the power in society, straightness is what is assumed as normalcy. But really, who has the right to decide that? There are so many brilliant, successful LGBT people out there who deserve the same amount of respect as those who are straight. For example, take a look at these 50 Famous Gay People.
Comments/Points to Share: There was one quote from the article that really stood out to me. One of the students stated, "In my opinion, children at any age shouldn't be educated about that (because) I see it as a perversion and not a natural way of loving someone" (pg.93). This is really upset me. In my opinion, no it actually is a quite natural way of loving someone. People do not make the decision to be gay, bi, or transgender. It blows my mind that people actually believe someone would put themselves in a situation that caused them to feel isolated from society. It is biological. Every one deserves to love and to be loved. If you look up the term, love in the dictionary the definition does not specify that it is a requirement to love only the opposite sex. :)

Saturday, February 20, 2016

"Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us"- Linda Christensen

Christensen shares one of her own personal experiences as a teacher. She describes an assignment that she gave her students. The outcome of the assignment was the idea that societies favorite movies and t.v. shows have a "secret education" hidden behind them.

The study that Linda Christensen's students took part in proved the hidden stereotypes woven into our favorite childhood movies and cartoons. The "secret education" as Christensen refers to it is especially fitting.The part of her article I want to focus on is the concept of self image. 

 I do agree that in some ways our favorite cartoons and movies have manipulated us with many unrealistic expectations of what is desired by society. My favorite example is, the female lead roles always having the hour glass body shape, clear skin,  just flawless. Followed by the handsome prince falling in love with them. Oh if only it were that simple...

However, I think that Disney has made an effort to include other cultures and nationalities into their movies. For example, Mulan, Pocahontas, Aladdin. I know that plenty of people could find countless negative things to point out about those movies but I think its a start. It's important to acknowledge that we have come a long way. Christensen's student, Kenya (African American) shared her feelings towards Disney movies. Her negative attitude about the lack of African American lead roles was extremely justified during the time this study was done (pg.131). I babysit ALOT and on  Disney Jr. they now play a show called "The Princess and the Frog" starring an African American princess, Tiana. It really excited me to finally see that.

Comments/ Points to Share: I think it is great that a variety of races and cultures are being included in Disney movies, but I think a major issue with negative body image still exist as a result of the media and needs to be acknowledged. Young girls especially are highly vulnerable to the messages that the most popular movies and t.v. shows are sending out. Personally, I have to admit that it is something that has affected me. Seriously, where did these ridiculous standards for women come from? 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

"Aria" By: Richard Rodriguez 
I thought this picture perfectly exemplified the meaning of this article.  Society values English and has made it the clear that it is the "public" language. In Richards case the shapes trying to fit into the circular hole, represent he and his family. The circular hole represents his teachers and society. They neglect to understand how much of an impact depriving them of their culture has on them individually and as a family. tumblr_inline_n37j2kXper1qfb043.jpg 
Reflection/ Connections: 

I really appreciated Rodriguez sharing his personal experiences in this article. I felt like I was able to connect to his feelings and experiences to a certain extent. Luckily, being American and having English as my first language, I have never encountered a situation like the one Richard and his family did. However, I connected to the author on a more sympathetic level. It made me think of my family and I. I love to go home to my family because I share such a close, unique bond with them outside of society. I believe that is what makes us a family. In Rodriguez's article he discusses how tight knit he and his family were. A huge part of that was contributed by their culture and the language that they shared, their "private language". Something about sharing a separate language than the rest of society made the author and his family connect more intimately. Richards unfortunate experience made me think back to Lisa Delpit, and her idea of the "Culture of Power". Not once did Richards teachers demonstrate that they were interested in him as a unique individual, or welcome his culture into the classroom. As a future educator that part of the article really infuriated me. Why is it okay to deprive someone of their own culture? Inside AND outside the classroom? Or really anywhere for that matter. 

Questions/ Points to share: Why is it necessary that only Richard learn English? Why can't the teachers and  students make an effort to learn a little Spanish as well? I think this would be a great idea, it would bring the class closer together. People deserve the right to their own culture!!!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack- Peggy McIntosh

I thought this political cartoon was especially relevant to McIntosh's article.  It is a perfect example of what  the author meant by "Daily effects of white privilege".  enhanced-buzz-27562-1389051959-22.jpg
1. "My schooling gave me no training in seeing myself as an oppressor, as an unfairly advantaged person, or as a participant in a damaged culture."I found this quote of McIntosh quite significant. It is so true. We are not taught in school that whether or not we are aware of it, whites are seen as oppressors. McIntosh gave a great explanation of why that is. There are so many advantages that whites take for granted. Many of the advantages that Peggy McIntosh lists, I would have never thought of on my own. However, I found each of her advantages extremely accurate. McIntosh's quote also reminded me of Delpit's article and the idea of "The Culture of Power".
2. "If these things are true, this is not such a free country; one's life is not what one makes it; many doors open for certain people through no virtues of their own." -McIntosh meant that if all of these advantaged that come along with being white are true, then in reality it is only a free country for people of white privilege. No matter what, America has become a white country. There is always more doors open for white people. What people have to offer is much more valued if they obtain the "Culture of Power". 
3. "I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group" -This quote reminds me of the first quote I have listed. Once again, we have been conditioned to view racism as an action, not as something that we come with, attached to us. It is more than that, it is something that is not always seen with our eyes.  

Comments/ Points to share:

After reading this article, it leaves me with an unsettling feeling. The author asks at the end of the article, "I imagine, for some others like me if we raise our daily consciousness on the perquisites of being light-skinned. What will we do with such knowledge?" I wonder the same thing. If we become more concious  of the assets that follow being light skinned, will we actually use it to better society? Or will we continue to walk around "pretending" that the advantage does not exist? Is it actually possible for this issue to be resolved?