Saturday, March 30, 2013

Brown vs. Board of Education- QUOTES

This week's assignment reminded me of a show I used to watch. In this episode of American Dreams, we see an extreme amount of racism and discrimination in the 1960s (not far from Brown vs. Board of Education). The white police officers mistreat African American men and women simply because of their race. 

     The two videos featuring the author of Between Barack and a Hard Place, Tim Wise, really stuck with me. Since Brown vs. Board of Education and other anti-discrimination events did not happen in my lifetime, I think of it as history that does not need to be focused on. These videos, however, proved me wrong and showed that these events have all formed the way America is today.

     The passionate author of Between Barack and a Hard Place says, "There are a lot of people out there every bit as intelligent, every bit as wise and capable as Barack Obama but who have a different style." He explains that some people view Obama as not really black because he doesn't fit the typical stereotypes. This proves that America is not a non-discriminative place because we stereotype often. Electing Obama as President of the United States was a step in the right direction but the problems of stereotyping and discriminating still exist.

     Tim Wise says, "We as white folks can be really articulate or really inarticulate and still become president." This quote shows that Americans are living a double standard. Just because Barack Obama is our first black president does not mean that there is no racism in the United States. Obama is respected for how successful and well-educated he is. He had to work extremely hard to be respected as President of the United States while white men have a much easier opportunity to do so.

     Wise then goes on to say, "In 62 almost nine out of ten whites said that black children had fully equal educational opportunities. So we've been in denial a long time." When Wise stated this fact, I was appalled. This statistic proves how Americans were and still are living in oblivion. This also hits home because it ties into my service learning school. The school I am placed at is very diverse and it is able to be that way due in part to Brown vs. Board of Education. Nonwhite students are having more equal educational opportunities but it is not this way everywhere and certainly was not this way in 1962 with segregation of schools. 


QUESTION: Tim Wise makes a strong point about Barack Obama not fitting the typical black stereotypes. Why do you think this is? What are these stereotypes and how can we put a stop to them?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Service Learning- CONNECTIONS

For this blog, I read “In the Service of What? The Politics of Service Learning” by Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer. This piece speaks about  service learning and its importance in the classroom. Kahne and Westheimer make very strong points about service learning that can connect to “Other People’s Children” by Lisa Delpit as well as “110 People Who Are Screwing Up America” by Bernard Goldberg. In this text, Kahne and Westheimer say, “Just as the difference between change and charity may provide an important conceptual distinction for those analyzing service learning curricula, it is helpful to distinguish the moral, political, and intellectual goals to motivate those who support service learning” (5). This quote states that it is important to realize the meaning and purpose for what someone is doing in order to get the best results. Similarly, Delpit says, “I try to give them my experiences, to explain.” (22). The authors of both texts agree that it is crucial to explain the purpose of doing something to achieve the best possible outcome. Students and teachers will not be interested or try hard with something they think is pointless and therefore they will not benefit from the task. Kahne and Westheimer agree with Goldberg about what is being covered in the classroom. One section of this text focuses on the politics of service learning. It says, “When I care, Noddings explains, a relationship develops in which ‘the other’s reality becomes a possibility for me’” (7). This explains that each person is able to use each other to create their own success. Goldberg correspondingly says, “Jonathan Kozol is so admired in the education establishment, his ideas are put into practice every day in classrooms all across America, from high school all the way down to preschool” (295). With this statement, Goldberg supports Kahne and Westheimer’s main idea that students should work off of one another as well as with the teacher to be as successful as possible.

COMMENTS:  I did not enjoy reading this piece at all. After reading the past few pieces for the blogs, I found this one very difficult to read. It was not as interesting as the other texts and I found it hard to get into. This text is written more formally which I did not enjoy. It speaks more about professional and scholarly things than the other readings do.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Princess-A-Pleanty ARGUMENT

                                           (My personal Disney Princess doll collection)

Peggy Orenstein, the author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter, argues that the idolization of Disney Princesses can be detrimental to a young girl’s self-image.
            Orenstein focuses on how the Disney Princess franchise emphasizes the importance for little girls to be beautiful and abide by the typical female guidelines. The Princesses are all very pretty and present themselves in a lady-like fashion from the way they dress to how they attract men. Almost all of the Disney Princess tales feature a gorgeous woman portrayed as a damsel in distress. Orenstein is disgusted by this fact and does not want her child Daisy growing up believing that she must live up to these impossible standards in order to be accepted by a man. When speaking about the negative effects these Princess “role models” may have on one’s self-esteem, Orenstein states, “The number of girls who fretted excessively about their looks and weight actually rose between 2000 and 2006 (topping their concern over school work), as did their reported stress levels and their rates of depression and suicide” (18). Growing up is stressful enough, never mind when you add the constant pressure of looking perfect. Although Orenstein is a Disney fan herself, she brings light to only the negative affects the Princess franchise has. The movies and products brainwash the minds of innocent children and eventually cause them to be teenagers with no self-confidence. Each princess is so perfect and idolized that females end up striving for the unachievable goal of becoming perfect just like them. Orenstein strongly argues that the massive success of the Disney Princesses is in fact diminishing the self-worth of  innocent children.

COMMENTS: I am a huge Disney Princess fan (as you can tell by the picture) and I did not like reading this text because of that. Although I respect where Orenstein is coming from, I think there are many other issues that are detrimental to children's spirits. A child may want to be like Cinderella but they do not know that her beauty is her main asset. It's just like when a little girl plays dress up. Just because she has fun putting on makeup doesn't mean she will go into a depression if she doesn't wear it everyday. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What Children Do Not See- EXTENDED COMMENTS

                               (This picture shows how sexist some children's cartoons are.)

            The reading assignment this week was “Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us” by Linda Christensen. This entry is based on my classmate Lauren Gilbert’s blog post. I chose to comment on her thoughts due to her strong identifications of Christensen’s argument. Lauren makes it clear that, “Their main argument is that cartoons and Disney movies are distorting children's images of what the world looks like”. I agree with this statement whole-heartedly. This is an unfortunate truth that both children and parents face in society today. When I was a child, I was no stranger to Disney movies and I must admit I idolized the princesses. Reflecting on my childhood after reading both Christensen’s and Lauren’s pieces, I realize that my innocent views was not so innocent. A child’s mind is constantly being molded and something as “child-friendly” as Disney can negatively affect a child’s views towards others.  From her piece, I can tell that Lauren is passionate about Disney as well and is unfortunately crushed by some realizations as an adult.
         Lauren continues her blog by saying, "Letting them watch these episodes that exhibit sexism, racism and overall stereotypes are forming our children into the exact opposite of what we, as parents and educators are trying to mold them into". This is a very strong point which ties in with a quote from one of Christensen's students. Justine says, "My dreams keep me from dealing with an unpleasant reality" (129). Both quotes are extremely powerful and display how delicate of an issue this can be. No parent or educator wants their child to be negatively influenced by a program and it is important to look into the deeper meaning of stories. I believe Lauren feels this way as well. Her blog has served as a very useful tool in this post. I truly agree with the points she made. 

COMMENTS: I feel as though everyone has been affected by something Christensen speaks of in her article. Whether it be watching a Disney movie, reading a book, or playing with toys, society has impacted the way we are today. The children who are affected by these things may not realize there is an issue in how a character is being portrayed. However, that thought is embedded in a child's mind forever and will most likely affect the way they view people who are not in power in these images. If production companies such as Disney do not change their politically incorrect ways, how will America be able to do so?