Sunday, February 27, 2011

GLSEN Hyperlink

     As I read the various articles on the GLSEN website, what first struck me was the websites claims to raising awareness about Lesbian, Gay and Transgendered with the statistical information to back up their claims.  I immediately thought about my awareness about the gay, lesbian and transgendered society, people and culture.  From the first time I asked my Mom what "gay" was, after watching an episode of the Ellen Degeneres show, no it wasn't during that iconic moment but rather later when my older sister pointed at her and said she was gay.  Since then LGT remarks with a negative connotation have become a common part of societies' vocabulary.  Despite this insensitivity towards the subject of LGT issues, I noticed there have been movements toward equality and sensitivity to the issues, especially in the media.  I believe that the media has played a big role in desensitizing society to the LGT.  These two movie trailers are movies that received critical acclaim and numerous awards, I had to watch both of them in High School in my health class, the artistic qualities of the movie highlight the feelings and difficulties that LGT people go through and I credit my teachers to having us watch them and to the creators and actors in the films for trying to bring some justice and respect to Lesbians, Gays and Transgendered people through film.  After watching the movie I definitely was more conscious of mine and societies prejudices against LGT.     
     The bullying article, From Teasing to Torment, had the greatest effect on me.  Everyone has felt bullied at one point or another, including myself but I always had someone I could turn to, who would understand because we had something in common.  Along with the academic issues that the article highlights, there is also the mental well being of the bullied kids.  A lot of LGT kids in schools  who are bullied feel like they have no where to turn and this can lead to social problems and even attempts at suicide.  I don't know if everyone remembers when this student at Rutgers committed suicide but it was truly horrifying and a sickening display of bullying. The numbers in the article are also truly staggering to see the direct correlation of LGT students who are essentially bullied out of school.
     Because of the religious sentiment toward homosexuality, our predominantly christian society has taken issue with a lot of homosexual culture.  This had led to negative connotations with the words "gay" and "homosexual"and has had a harmful affect on any and all students, employees and people that are lesbian, gay or transgendered.  However I believe that the right course of action is being taken to raise awareness through the media, organizations and groups to start a movement to move for equality.  This website is a perfect testament to this.  Regardless, atrocities still happen.  Matthew Shepard was kidnapped, beat up basically tortured and left to die tied to a fence in the middle of a field in Laramie, Wyoming because he was gay.   It is important to remember that people who are Lesbian, Gay or Transgendered are people, and they should be treated as such.               

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Reflection on "Aria" by Richard Rodriguez

    I have long envied bilingual people.  I think the ability to speak two or more languages is awesome, door-opening and interesting.  With that being said I believe that it is of the utmost importance that immigrants coming to live in this country learn the language and this article has strengthened that belief.  To not learn the language of a country you move to is ignorant, how do you expect to get along in the society? or communicate with people? For whatever reason some people believe that society should adjust itself to accommodate immigrants who do not speak the language, but does that really make sense?  If you move to Italy, should your teachers immediately teach in english on your behalf?  Because we live in an immigrant friendly country some people believe that we should cater to their disadvantages.  Rodriguez offers the perfect counter argument to those people advocating for bilingual education.  His experiences that he outlines in "Aria" exhibit the benefits of being forced to learn the language of society.  He claims, even though it made his relationship with his parents deteriorate, that by being "americanized" by learning english, he became part of the public realm.
    I see a lot of Lisa Delpit's argument in this article.  Delpit argues that it is the white educator's duty to assimilate colored students with the culture of power, in order for them to find success.  Rodriguez would agree with Delpit and could back up his successes with evidence of being force to learn english (or in other words, the culture of power).  The Delpit article seems to be creeping its way into every article i read for this class, proving its relevance and legitimacy.
    Like I said earlier though, I believe that being bilingual is a great thing.  It is a shame that it can be a burden to balance the "public language" and the "private language," but it is a burden worth carrying (in my opinion).  If speaking your native tongue is a way to keep your culture alive, then by all means do so, however, what I'm saying is, don't be so naive as to not learn the language of the culture as well.  This is another Delpit argument, one culture is wrong, but in order to be successful one must be familiar and comfortable with the culture of power.
    As teachers, I believe, that it is important to always have this in the back of our minds.  To be patient with students and considerate of whatever background they are coming from.      

Sunday, February 13, 2011

White Privilege:Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

      In White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, author Peggy McIntosh argues that she, and other white people, are not overtly racist but instead are just oblivious to their own privileges.
      McIntosh uses the metaphor of a knapsack that is filled with survival materials that can help you get through and tell you what to do.  She says that white people have this knapsack and minorities do not.  White people are privileged with every day things that they take for advantage, things like just knowing that you won't be out numbered in most given situations that you enter into or not having to worry about their race counting against them in various situations.
     I really liked the way this article was written.  I like the way the author discovered her views on racism through advantages of being a male.  It seems simplistic and obvious but for me, as a reader, it gave me a new angle at which to view the topic. After the unique introduction of her argument, I was able to read through the rest of the article with out being put off and feeling accused.