Sunday, February 28, 2016

Who Cares What Makes Everyone Else Happy, Who Makes You Happy?

Safe Spaces
Making Schools and Communities Welcoming to LGBT Youth 
Annemarie Vaccaro, Gerri August, and Megan S. Kennedy 

Schools should be a place where children and young adults go and know that there's a purpose for them there and are not being singled out for being "different".  I put different in quotation marks because that word is used a lot by people who feel as if people who are gay, lesbian, transgender etc., are different then people who are straight. The article expresses a lot how hard it is for children to feel safe at school because even some teachers, along with other classmates are picking on them and not allowing them to be themselves. Teachers choose not to express different family style units because they feel that children shouldn't be expose to anything other then a man and woman relationship. The idea is put in people's head that those relationships are wrong but they're not. People are people and they should be able to express who they are and who they are interested in without feeling like they don't belong. Kids go to school and express there time there to be unsafe. They get bullied for being who they are and that's wrong. No one goes around picking on someone who is in a straight relationship because that is the "normal" relationship style. In the media, most relationships are between a man and a women and there were very few situations where a different family unit is expressed. Over time, things have changed but still not enough. There are still kids who go to school scared of what his peers will say or do. For some, it's even the teachers who are putting them in such situations. 
August expresses a lot that things in the schools need to change. This is where the change will begin. A lot of the time the bullies in the situations are the kids who have never been introduced to any other family unit and that is why the sight of seeing two people of the same gender together is odd to them. They've grown up seeing a man and a woman together as normal so of course they are going to pick on something that they see as not normal. I think the ideas of changing the way the lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender youth is looked at would be useful. From a young age, children should be expose to families with two females as the role of parents and also two males as parents. To take a quote directly from the text, "As the issues become commonplace in the classroom, students may be better prepared to accept, support, and appreciate gays, lesbians and bisexuals out of the classroom as well."(August Page 92) It is because we are not expose to it at a young age, it is harder to accept, support and appreciate LGBT youth and adults. The issue came up a lot that the school felt that it just wasn't their place to expose other children to it. I do see where that is coming from but on the other hand I also see it as, everyone gets exposed to it sooner or later so why does it matter if they get exposed to something outside their normal a little sooner?
As a kid, I was never expose to anything like that. Not in TV shows, books, magazines and definitely not through conversations with my parents and family. There is not a single couple in my family that is not between a man and a woman. My family has always had a strong opinion on this issue and they have always made it clear to us that a marriage should only be between a male and a female. So with having that basically drilled into my head, it was strange to see couples who weren't like that. When I got a job and went to High School, I definitely saw more of how other people can be happy. I'm not going to lie, it was weird to me at first but over time it definitely became just another normal to me. Having such a strong opinion coming from my parents I did face hard things with my friends. My best friend for example is bisexual. She hid it from me for so long because she knew how I was raised and my opinion on the topic. When she finally came out to me I was lost for words. At this time, she was just telling me that she was talking to a girl and probably was going to start dating her. After fights and long periods of not talking, I aloud myself to see from a different point of view. I had to realize that she was happy even if she was with a girl instead of a guy. It took awhile and I know I said some terrible things over the time to her, but we got through it. Every one is entitled to their own opinion but I think it is important that I was able to see that I was wrong in this situation because it was unfair to her. She didn't feel that she could be herself around me but now she can and our friendship is closer than ever because I am able to accept her for who she is. 

I choose to include this video because it just a good video that expresses happiest can be found with everyone no matter who they want to be with. People who are with the same sex and feel like they are different are expressed through this. They should be happy everyday and should be comfortable and proud to be who they are. These people in this video talk about how scared and nervous they are to be coming out and I see that as sad because for a straight person, we don't feel scared or nervous to talk about who we are interested in. They have to face this and struggle everyday with the way people talk to them and treat them. This was just another eye opener for me because there's really nothing different about the people in this video. These labels mean nothing and we are all the same.  

I watch Ellen  a lot and I remembering watching this video and it's really important in my opinion. All this student wanted was to go to Prom like everyone else in her school with the person she wanted to go with. It's because she wanted to go with her girlfriend that things got hard for her. She was told by her principal that it just wasn't allowed. To avoid her showing up with her girlfriend, the principal decided to just cancel Prom all together. Almost everyone looks forward to their prom, especially girls and now she wasn't able to go like she always planned because there was being rules put in place for her that restricted her to go with her girlfriend and have fun like everyone else. 

Relating to Other Text: 
Automatically I related this to our SCWAAMP activity. The S stands for straightness and how much we value it. People who are gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, etc are only facing these issues because of how much straightness is valued in our society. It's not likely to see a gay couple on the front cover of a magazine. It's not likely to see a lesbian couple be aired on TV. Yes, there are cases where it happens but if you hold it in comparison to how much a straight couple is in the media, there's a huge difference. 

Questions/Comments/Points To Share: 
This  topic really just bothers me because we are not exposed to it nearly enough and that is why this problem occurs. How can everyone accept, appreciate and support something that they know nothing about. In my High School, I remember only seeing one poster in my spanish class that talked about gay, lesbian , bisexual etc. relationships and it stood out to me. It stood out because It was one of the only ones up in the school. People just associated the teacher with maybe being gay because she had the poster up. I find that wrong because all she was doing was trying to bring the topic up in the classroom so people are comfortable. 
There's so much that just keeps coming to my head about this topic but another thing that I find important is just how people are able to throw around this words but either don't even know what they mean or are just not even using them right. People are just blurting things out, not thinking it is effecting anyone, but what they are really doing is bullying because words really do hurt. 
Another link to just add is a link I found that talks about things everyone should know. These situations are sad and I think everyone needs to be more aware, and open-minded so everyone can just feel happy and safe no matter where they are.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us

Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us 
By: Linda Christensen 

This article really opened my eyes to these issues that are exposed to us since as young as we remember. A lot of the sexism and racism that was talked about in this related back to Walt Disney. It's crazy to actually think about and realize that movies and cartoons that we always saw as normal, really have underlining issues that are not clearly shown on the surface. This whole piece talks about these myths that are within the story lines that are going right over our heads. A lot of them shocked me but when I typed "sexism and racism in Disney" into Google, tons of examples came up. Towards the end and a little throughout of this, Linda Christensen talks about how people can be more aware of what is out there in these movies. I think it really all comes down to more and more people being aware so that children don't get expose to these things. Even though they might be too young to even catch on, they're being exposed to it and those are the things that they are being taught. That is the way they are thinking life should be. 

"Our society's culture industry colonizes their minds and teaches them how to act, live, and dream." 
"When we read children's books, we aren't just reading cute little stories, we are discovering the tools with which a young society is manipulated." 
(Christensen,Page 126)
I thought Cinderella was a good example to go along with this quote because this movie showed that fairy tale life that everyone wants to live up to. After watching this movie as kids, we now assume that step siblings are just horrible because we think of her situation. I think this movie shows that looks will get you wherever you want to be. Her step sisters weren't as good looking as her and in the end, she got that guy who chased after her. This makes us go crazy about our relationships also. We all want that "prince charming", who does all these grand things and is seen as the "perfect guy". We have these thoughts in our head of what our boyfriend should look like and act and we create these high, unrealistic standards because we saw this movie as kids. 

"Woman who aren't white begin to feel left out and ugly because they never get to play the princess." ( Christensen, Page 131)
This quote touches on the fact that all our disney princess's were white until a certain time. Even though there are princess's now in Walt Disney that are of color and different cultures, they are still not the popular ones. When some one says name a Disney princess, most people go straight to and say, "Snow White, Cinderella , Ariel and Belle." All these characters are white and those were the first Disney princesses that we were exposed to. Those are the templates of what a princess should look like and that definitely leaves people out. My point here is that there are people who think a princess should look a certain way. Even though there are colored princesses, not everyone agrees with it. I think it is great and it is important that everyone can feel special and know that they can live up to the standards of a princess. 

"At first glance the precocious ducks are cute, but look closer and see that the whole show is based on money." (Christensen, Page 136)
 I choose to include this quote just because it shocked me a lot. Just this past Christmas, I watched this DVD I had with a little girl I baby sit and it was all these different stories involving Mickey Mouse characters. There was this one episode that was focused on Donald Duck and his family. I've watched this tons of times in my life and I never once thought of the main focus to be money. Now, looking and thinking back I see where she's coming from with that statement. This proves that these cartoons have their way of manipulating children and in ways I think we all can connect. 

Connecting to Text: 
We can make the connection to Grinner's activity SCWAAMP. Mainly, the letter W, Whiteness. We value whiteness so much that we only had white princesses for awhile and now we have a few princesses that are different races. A Disney Princess was always thought to be as white and that's the problem. You don't need to be white to be a princess. 

Questions/Comments/Points to Share: 
I think this is important and makes us think of what myths we picked up on from children movies. I know one myth that stuck with me is the prince charming from Cinderella. Obviously, I know that's crazy but I do make jokes and say that Prince Charming would of done this, and Prince Charming would do that. It's a list of requirements that this film put in our head's of what a relationship should be like. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Reflection on Richard Rodriguez

      Richard Rodriguez struggled his whole childhood growing up in a bilingual home. He would speak non-stop spanish at home with his family but when he was at his catholic school, he was expected to be able to speak English like the rest of the kids. His problem was that he didn't speak English like his fellow classmates. It wouldn't flow and it wasn't comfortable for him to speak English but being in the school he was in, he had to learn to be comfortable with it. In his essay, he talks about how things changed for him once teachers from his school made a visit to his home. At his home they asked his parent's if they could start speaking more spanish at home, which they did. From there, he got more and more familiar to speaking English that hearing people speak Spanish became strange to him. Richard said that learning to speak English better definitely helped him go farther and be more successful which was something that would of never happened if he stuck to only speaking spanish. Learning to speak more English than Spanish did push his family apart a great deal."The family's quiet was partly due to the fact that, as we children learned more and more English, we shared fewer and fewer words with our parents." (Rodriguez 37) I see his situation as a win one, lose one. 
     While I was reading this piece of writing, I couldn't help but relate this story to the struggles that my little sister is still dealing with. My sister is sixteen now but when we were all growing up, my grandmother lived with us and all she spoke was Portuguese. Not a single word of English. I can understand a few words but I was never close to being able to have a full on conversation with someone. On the other hand, my sister Bethany can. Along with my grandmother, her godparents also don't speak a word of English. Basically, she has been around the Portuguese language way more than me for example, so she can have a conversation with someone in another language and it is more comfortable for her. She can speak more English but for some reason, she has always been more comfortable speaking in Portuguese. This comes to be a struggle for her because she starts to stutter and get nervous whenever she has to talk to someone in English outside my family. She's always saying how she think she sounds funny and how she can't pronounce anything right. When we go to Dunkin Donuts, she just now ordered what she wanted  for herself about a week ago. She has trouble being comfortable talking English and that relates to what Richard Rodriguez went through because she's learning to adjust and always talk English because that's what everyone else around her is speaking. 
       I related Richard Rodriguez's struggle in life to the issues that were brought up in the SCWAAMP activity.(Grinner) The fact that Richard went to a catholic school relates right to the christianity aspect of the activity. Also, I notice the connect to White-ness and also Americanness. White-ness because throughout this entire piece, you can pick up on the fact that the English language was the center of attention and it's because we value it so much, we expect everyone to speak it. Americanness relates also in a similar way because we see the language of American's to be only English. 

Questions/Comments/Points to Share:
I was always told that I should pick up on another language because it could only help me later on in life with my career, etc. , but this article kind of makes me think that it's bad to learn anything else besides English because is it really useful?

Sunday, February 7, 2016

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh 

This article talked a lot about how there's clearly more privilege that whites have over other races. This has been a problem for so long and it really doesn't, and won't go away because if you don't have white skin, you struggle with daily situations. Peggy McIntosh writes this strong piece about how much people with white skin do really have an advantage when it comes to what comes easier and harder to them. Even though it's disappointing and unfair, I always knew that whites have life easier but after reading this article, specifically the checklist, it made me actually realize that this is a bigger issue than I thought. 

" Many, perhaps most, of our white students in the United States think that racism doesn't affect them because they are not people of color; they do not see "whiteness" as a racial identity. In addition, since race and sex are not the only advantaging systems at work, we need similarly to examine the daily experience of having age advantage, or ethnic advantage, or physical ability, or advantage related to nationality religion, or sexual orientation. " (McIntosh)I picked this quote because I think it showed that life just isn't fair. In our society, I think there are standards that everyone try to live up to but honestly,they're not realistic. As someone that's white, we don't notice how much we have advantage over other people. It's not even our fault, it's just how it is now. This quote points out that race and sex are not the only things that people use to their advantage. There's age, ethnic, physical ability, nationality, religion and sexual orientation. Overall, there is an easier way of living for some people while there are other people that deal with daily struggles because they're not white basically. For a white person, education, jobs, and careers as well as much more come easier to them and those are the things that people of different races struggle with their whole lives.

"I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group." (McIntosh)Peggy McIntosh starts her article with this quote and I think she did this because she is right off the back telling everyone where she is coming from while writing this. A lot of people think of different races and automatically think of something bad. It stereotypes that are tagged along with certain races. There are people who right off the back, think for example, colored people commit the most crimes or overall are more violent. That's strictly due to people seeing racism as groups of people. This quote brings us the thought of how parents or teachers tell younger people whether it's their children or students what their race is. In a group of white people, more than likely you would talk about other races besides the race of being white. As a white person, I agree that we almost ignore the fact that we too are a race, and it's as if we have dominance over everyone else. It's what McIntosh refers to and the "invisible knapsack".

"In the end however, it is men and not women who make the most money, men and not women who dominate the government and the corporate boards; men and not women who dominate virtually all of the most powerful positions of society. And it is women and not men who suffer the most from intimate violence and rape; who are the most likely to be poor; who are, on the whole, given the short end of patriarchy's stick." (Deutsch)I don't know if we could go on and comment regarding something said by another author but I scrolled down to read The Male Privilege Checklist by B. Deutsch and a lot of things that were said made a whole lot of sense to me. This relates back to what McIntosh is saying in ways because this checklist shows what kind of advantages that men have over women. I agree with every part of his checklist but I wasn't going to quote it all. I picked this quote to sum it all up because it really shows the advantage men have over women. This list could be some of the invisible privileges that men have. We all know the saying, " the man of the house", and "women belong in the kitchen", and even though these saying make people mad, there's a reason to why madness comes from them. Women really do get the end of the stick while men can basically do what they want because they are men. The have better jobs, earn more money at their jobs even if there's a women doing the exact same job. Our society is shaped to put men on a pedestal. I agree with this quote completely because it's true. Men get more credit for doing the things that women do and I think it has to do with advantages that men have over us. 

Connecting to Other Text: This can be related to the exercise we did in class that was developed by Lesley Grinner, "SCWAAMP". Mostly what the letter W stands for which is whiteness. Like we discovered in class, we value whiteness a lot more than we thought. In everything around us, we don't always realize it but there's something there that shows that we value whiteness too much. Also with the Maleness part of the exercise. We don't realize it always but being male comes with a lot more advantages than disadvantages. 

Questions/Comments/Points to Share: *How and can this issue ever go away? I have hope but then again I don't. I think men will always be put on a pedestal when being compared to women. For some reason people just think men are better at everything. Now a days things are just different because there's things that women can do just as well as men or even better. I think of body building when this topic comes up because now there's a lot more women trying to get fit and big and I think it could be because they're trying to prove a point. They can be just as strong and want to erase the thought that men are always stronger and women are weak. *I also aim this towards the issue of white people and dominance. The problem is that everything McIntosh said was true and because other races are put down, the race of being white isn't being put down therefore giving it dominance over other people. Will we always be in a "white man's world?"

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Add On to My Nicholas Kristof Post

After discussion in class Tuesday February 4th about how blogging went, I realized that I left out making a connection to another text that we already discussed. I can connect this text by Nicholas Kristof to ideas that were said by Lisa Delpit. Kristof says that everyone isn't given a fair chance at making it far in life and Delpit in ways gives reasons why and backs him up. Delpit brings up the fact a lot that people are at such a disadvantage because not everyone is informed of the rules and codes of power. By Delpit saying this, she is saying that there are people who are not told what to do , how to do it, where to go and overall, how to be successful in life while there are other people who are told and can use that to become and do whatever they want to do. I relate this back to Kristof's text because his main argument is that people are not given the same opportunities as other people and that all comes down to the fact that some people know and some people don't know the rules and codes of power. For example, Kristof mentions Rick and how he could never make it in life and I relate that back to the issue of where he came from and not being told how he should go about making success.