Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bullying Doesn't Help Anyone


I want to start with this clip that I found about a young boy who was made fun of for his hair color. It definitely sends a strong message to younger kids or teenagers that they need to stand up for one another. A child who is bullied needs someone to stand behind him or her for the confidence. The child who stood up for the bullied child really knew that he needed to interfere and the only way for children to learn this is by teaching them. It is our jobs, as potential teachers to show kids that they need to help each other out, despite their differences.

As for the GLSEN website, I wish more people knew about this website. I know many people must know about it, but there are plenty who need to take a look. This website, or components of it, could be taught in a classroom. It will give children an opportunity to see that there are ways to connect with people if they need the support. (If they fall into one of these categories. Or even if they don't then they can at least have hope that there is some one out there who is feeling the same way that they are.) 

I was reading this article and it is disgusting how many secondary school kids are being made fun of because of their differences. The statistics are absolutely horrifying! And it is really upsetting that the kids do not have enough confidence in their teachers to help them overcome their issue. Teachers should be there for the kids so it is the teacher's job to make sure each individual child knows that they can seek guidance from any teacher.

Once again, I feel a little naive. I do not remember too much bullying in high school. I must have been in my own world, or didn't even care if someone made a rude comment. I know that there is bullying because I watch my brother go through this in middle school and it is always tough to get past. Bullying is all about making fun of the kid who isn't the same, but I always liked to be different. Kids should embrace their individuality and the earlier they learn this in life the better.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Public Language


"But I couldn't believe that the English was mine to use. (In part, I did not want to believe it.)"

     Richard felt that, because English was not his primary language, he could not use it. He felt uncomfortable using it. For example, I can understand little Italian and maybe say a couple of things, but I would never be able to just speak it because that is what everyone is speaking. Within the article, this quote signifies how Richard was in a school where he had to speak English, but he didn't seem to know it well enough to speak it. He tells the reader that he often mumbled when asked a question because he was unsure of himself. A person should not have to go through school feeling uncomfortable with his culture.

"In and instant, they agreed to give up the language (the sounds) that had revealed and accentuated our family's closeness."

     It is terrible that a family would have to start speaking English all the time just because that is the 'public' language. This quote is an example of the culture of power. It seems like there is a right way and a wrong way when it comes to speaking in the United States when there really is no correct way at all. Richard explains to us that there is so much emotion and meaning behind his primary language, Spanish. The whole article is based on how Richard's family had to give up a piece of their culture to fit in. Not only was this just a change in languages, but it was a change in how the family communicated. The children did not feel as comfortable talking to their parents once they knew that had to speak English all the time.

"Though his English improved somewhat, he retired into silence."

     Richard tell the reader how his father could speak some English, he felt that it was better to just remain quite most of the time. This goes back to the way Richard felt in class, when he would rather mumble answers than speak aloud. His father's accent was still strong enough that even at the dinner table with his own family, he would take the 'backseat' so to speak and let his wife take control of grace. This is not a way of life. It is a shame that a family member decides to keep quite than to speak. The word gringos is brought up many times. Richard's father would say it derivatively with such intense meaning, but it lost it's intensity once he had to speak English frequently. A family should not lack communication because of the languages. 

Is there a reason why parents can't teach their children their primary language? It seems like children with more than one language can learn better because of the diversity. People should be able to keep their culture, as long as they can actively participate in the culture around them.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Men and Women Vs. Black and White


Peggy McIntosh's White Privilege was a great article! It is all about how black people are less privileged than white and she compares the races to men being more privileged than women. McIntosh explains to us that privileged doesn't necessarily mean being "favored", but it means that some things are better than others. I do not look at myself or my family as privileged, until after I read this article, that is. I am not wealthy and I do not have many expensive possessions. After reading this article, I learned that there are more things that can make a person privileged, such as being able to walk into a hair salon and knowing someone can take care of my hair.

My roommate last year was black. She came from Jamaica and she had many cultural differences; more differences than I thought two people could have. Sometimes, when we were going to bed (if we happened to go to bed at the same time, which was rare) I would ask her about her culture, her hair routines, even why she was always late. We would joke about our conversations but I learned so much about how she did things. For example, her hair was a whole day procedure! Who knew. I wash my hair every day but she could only do it certain days and with certain shampoos. Unbelievable!

There is more to just shampooing in life, though. On a more serious note, McIntosh really caught my eye  when she described being able to criticize her own culture because it was the dominant one. I think about when two black people sometimes address each other with the N-word. Only black people can say it to each other and they are fine with it but once a white person says it then all hell breaks loose. I was walking to class one afternoon and I walked by three black guys. I know one of them and he is very nice. But as I walked by, I heard one of them say that word. I felt rather uncomfortable and I'm not sure why. I was always told never to use horrid language such as that, but it's ok for them to say it? Double standards I think.

This article was so engaging with all the points that McIntosh made that when she brought up Combahee River Collective's "Black Feminist Statement of 1977", I decided to do a little research. I found this very interesting about how this group is trying to defeat all of the less privileged groups of people, such as racism and sexuality. It is quite a tough world, and I am only starting to see a small part of it. I never realized how privileged I actually am, when I always thought otherwise! This is a hot topic to discuss because I wonder if I am the only one who feels this way. Am I really that naive?