Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Women in Hip-Hop Culture

I came across this article and thought it applied well to SCWAAMP. This article focuses on how women are degraded within the male dominated hip-hop culture. It may be an interesting read for anyone who is a fan of hip-hop music. It definitely opened my eyes to issues that I have always looked right over because it is what I have been trained to do because of the rules and codes of power within our culture.

In this interview with Drake, he says "hip-hop has elements of comedy in it, those make for the best quotes" however this comedy is delivered at the expense of a woman's identity.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Teaching Multilingual Children - Hyperlinks Post

In the article "Teaching Multilingual Children", written by Virginia Collier, Collier offers teaching strategies for educators in classroom settings where English is not the only language spoken. This article can connect to our discussions about Lisa Delpit where she says that unless you are explicitly told the rules of power, acquiring power is much more difficult. In this case, speaking English is the power, and those who do not speak it, are at a disadvantage in our society. Collier discusses how important it is for a classroom to have "two-way bilingual instruction" in order for students to effectively learn English or any second language. In some of the research I have done, I have come across many articles that say there is not enough being done in schools to help the students who do not speak English as their first and most fluent language. This can be a product of systemic racism, which is racism that is influenced by a system or institution (in this case, a school). In previous discussions, we have talked about how education is geared more towards the white, english speaking, upper-middle class Americans. So, education systems think it is not necessary to effectively teach people how to speak English, even though their entire curriculum is based off of the assumed knowledge that every student can speak and understand the English language. Collier talks about how many students can converse with their peers in English because it is easier to acquire a different language in a non-professional setting. Collier says, "politicians, believe that if limited English proficient students can converse with their monolingual English-speaking peers, then these English-language learners can compete with them on an equal footing". This is the assumed knowledge that the people coming up with the curriculum are not paying attention to. This is how students start to fall behind in their education, because they are not given the proper tools necessary to effectively learn how to speak and understand English.

The sixth strategy that Collier offers says "Provide a literacy development curriculum that is specifically designed for English-language learners". This is the one that stuck out the most to me because it seems like it would only make sense, right? However, this all depends on the funding of the school at hand. If the school cannot afford to hire extra ESL teachers, or have the technology or materials required to effectively teach a student a second language, then of course the students will start to fall behind. Collier is saying that every school should have a system in place for students who are English-language learners in order to allow them to succeed just as well as the rest of their peers.

Here is a Ted Talk about the important of bilingual education. I thought it paired very well with the article written by Collier. In the video, you will hear a lot of recurring themes from the Collier article. Such as why it is less effective to take a student out of their regular classes for an hour a day, in order to learn English.

This picture simply made me laugh because it perfectly describes how a student can be incredibly intelligent in their native language and because they do not speak English we automatically assume they are less intelligent than the people who speak English fluently.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Peggy McIntosh / "All Lives Matter" Post - Reflection

In "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack", Peggy McIntosh discusses the issues surrounding white privilege and how many white people are unaware of its existence. McIntosh describes white privilege as, "an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day". McIntosh begins to "unpack" this invisible knapsack by listing "ways in which [she] enjoy[s] unearned skin privilege and [has] been conditioned into oblivion about its existence". By doing so, McIntosh attempts to remove the silence surrounding white privilege by creating this list and sparking a discussion that creates consciousness about white privilege and power.

In correspondance to McIntosh's suggestion to eliminate silence surrounding race power systems, the Black Lives Matter Movement has prompted more discussion and consciousness regarding these systems and the racial equality imbalances. In an article from Fusion titled "The next time someone says 'all lives matter', show them these 5 paragraphs", Kevin Roose accessibly defines the issue with responding "all lives matter" to the black lives matter movement. His conclusion is that the black lives matter movement is saying that "black lives should also matter" and that by responding with "all lives matter" ignores the problem and "falsely suggest[s] that it means "only black lives matter".

The black lives matter movement is fighting to say that black lives matter also because their lives are currently undervalued and don't receive the same privileges as white lives. Therefore, the response "all lives matter" to the black lives matter movement is in accordance to McIntosh's conclusion that "obliviousness about white kept strongly unculturated in the Unites States so as to maintain the myth of meritocracy...Keeping most people unaware that freedom of confident action is there for just a small number of people props up those in power and serves to keep power in the hands of the same groups that have most of it already". Ultimately, the black lives matter movement is an incredible example of the discomfort most white people feel acknowledging their advantages and power because it means they will have to begin to either lessen it, share it, or eliminate it so that all lives can truly be and matter equally.

After reading McIntosh's list of her own privileges, I attempted to create my own and realized my list could be more extensive because of my advantage as a male. Until this reading, I hadn't realized all of the daily privileges I carry with me because I've never been without them before. I've also noticed that I have never paid as much attention as I should to the black lives matter movement and that I have once been a participant in the "all lives matter" side of the argument. I now understand how problematic supporting "all lives matter" is and I'd like to continue to address and unpack my own privileges by ending the silence surrounding white privilege, and continuing to engage in discussions regarding racial power and privilege.

I also found this HuffPost article that discusses white privilege and the "white guilt" people feel when they begin to acknowledge and address their own white privilege. I found this really interesting, because I've felt this guilt before and the author does a good job of explaining what it is and what it means in relation to identity and culture:

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Kristof Post - Argument

In Nicholas Kristof's article, "U.S.A., Land of Limitations?" Kristof argues that in recent years this country has allowed social class to hinder the opportunities and growth of children and adults. Kristof opens his article by saying, "I fear that by 2015 we've become the socially rigid society our forebears fled, replicating the barriers and class gaps that drove them away." Kristof is bringing to light the fact that what our country originally prided itself on (opportunity) is now falling into a societal pattern which other countries in the past have fallen victim to. The United States is allowing those who are already in poverty, to remain in poverty, and those who are rich, to remain rich.

Kristof says, "talent is universal, but opportunity is not". Meaning that everyone in the world has talents, but not everyone has the same chances to display those talents and use them. In my own experience, two aspiring dancers may both be equally talented, however only one of them can afford the fancy dance studio where all of the opportunities lie to make it in the dance world. The dancer who could not afford the studio falls victim to the social class gap that we have in our society and is forced to find a different path.

Kristof acknowledges that some people who are in the lower classes slip through the cracks and overcome amazing obstacles and become very successful people; this is not usually the case however. Children who grow up in a low income household, may be forced to drop out of school to be able to work and help support the family. However, because of their little education they cannot get a job that pays more than minimum wage, and now that they have dropped out of school they are stuck in this low income environment for the rest of their lives.

Here is a video that focuses on two students, one from a rich community high school, and the other from a poorer district. It outlines the differences in their learning environment that make it obvious why a student is more likely to succeed later in life coming from a wealthier area. Two things that stuck out to me are how the students get to school and what the school is able to spend its money on. In the wealthier school district, most kids drive to school which allows them to get there early and have more study time. In the poorer district most students have to take all sorts of public transportation (which they must pay for) and barely make it to school on time. In the wealthier community, the school is able to spend money on more tools to enhance student's learning, as opposed to the poorer school which has to spend its money on security measures to keep the students safe. It is a prime example of the class gap Kristof is arguing in his article.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

My name is Alex Grover and I am 20 years old. I attend Rhode Island College and my major is Elementary Education. A large part of my life is devoted to an activity called color guard. It is the flags, rifles, and sabres you see that enhance a marching band's performance. I am a member of The Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps, which is basically marching band on steroids. Here is a video of our show from this past summer. For three months in the summer, The Cadets learn a field show and travel around the country to perform for thousands of people every night. I am also a member of an organization called Alter Ego, which is a winter guard based out of Trumbull, CT. This requires me to be at rehearsal every Saturday and Sunday from mid October until finals in April. Outside of this activity I don't have much time for anything besides school and a small part time job teaching color guard at Dartmouth High School in Massachusetts.
 The Cadets performing at Epcot 
 My best friend at The Cadets, Lauren 
 Alter Ego 2016