Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Tracking: Jeanie Oakes

In her piece, "Tracking: Why Schools Need to Take Another Route" Jeanie Oakes discusses the effects, of tracking on students, both in regards to their emotions and their education. Through this discussion she then explains why this form of education needs to be abandoned, and also new ways to go about doing so. 

With tracking, those students who are placed in the higher tracks flourish, while those placed in the lower tracks often do not get the attention and support in their education that they need. Oakes also brings up another factor of the lower tracks, "Many express particular concern about tracking's effects on poor and minority students, who are laced in low-ability groups more often than other students and are less likely to be found in programs for gifted students or in college preparatory tracks". This relates back to Kristof and his explanation of how institutions make it so much harder for children of minorities and low income families to raise up in class standing and be successful. From the start of their education, students are being placed in a group which does not provide them with the tools needed to e successful. It also can be related back to Kozol and his discussion of clumping people who are struggling all together and leaving them with nothing positive to latch onto and grow off of. This video quickly expands how tracking in students goes beyond just testing and perceived education, and is based on looks, behavior, and other factors. 

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In regards to the classroom experiences of students who are in the higher tracks, Oakes explains, "Many teachers realize that for students, feeling comfortable in class is more than just a nice addition to learning". The classrooms which are in the higher tracks tend to focus on giving students more options in regards to what they are doing in the classroom, as well as topics, and discussions. They have more time to work independently ask questions, and participate in discussion. Classrooms in the lower track on the other hand, are more often focused on discipline, behavior, and routine, rather than academics. This creates a more stern atmosphere, which pulls away from students feeling comfortable in the classroom. As explained by August, students feeling comfortable in a classroom, helps students' education to flourish as they are focused and feel stable in their environment in the classroom. They are solely focused on the work they are doing and are not mainly focused on worrying about breaking the rules or going outside of the typical routine for the day. 

But fixing this is not something which can not easily be done effectively. Oakes explains that the best way to do this is to have a curriculum which "is organized around the central themes of a subject area rather than around disconnected topics and skills, all students stand the greatest chance of enhancing their intellectual behavior". Through creating a theme based curriculum, it allows for there to be more open-ended right answers, and for students of all abilities to take part, as there are various paths to these answers. This helps eliminate there being different "Tracks" and different levels of work for students, as they are all being allowed to participate. It also helps to create a comfortable and inclusive feeling in the classroom, which also helps further the learning happening as said above. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Kahne and Westheimer: In the Service of What?

Throughout the piece In the Service of What? The Politics of Service Learning, Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer discuss the affects of service learning on students and the community as a whole. They define service learning as learning which, "makes students active participants in service projects that aim to respond to the needs of the community while furthering the academic goals of students". This includes a variety of opportunities and projects, from working with the homeless to working with the environment. Either way they are working to look beyond themselves and help those around them in the form of service. The question that Kahne and Westheimer are aiming to answer though, is whether or not this service is actually helping, having an effect, and causing change, or if it is just an act of charity. 

They begin to focus on the fact that while these acts of service are good in nature, the goal of the project needs to be established and lined up with the project. While being progressive is good, they say "more attention has been focused on moving forward than on asking where we are headed".  Kahne and Westheimer then discuss how it is necessary to ask question the values of the projects, what relationships are being formed, what society is being lead towards, and other underlying issues in the service learning project. 

helping-others.jpg (600×400)This then comes down to the aspects of Charity vs. Change. Kahne and Westheimer compare various different service learning projects which were done in classrooms. The service project "Serving Those in Need", done in Mr. Johnson's classroom exemplified acts of charity. Through this project they provided time and fulfill their "civic duty" and built a sense of altruism. It was a temporary project, which paid no attention to the the greater system at hand and helping to fix it. Very much like Kozol's idea of putting a band-aid on a broken leg. 

The other project done in Ms. Adam's classroom involved analyzing the system and causes of the homelessness issue as a whole, including the impacts it has, the difficulties faced by those involved. The project involved discussion and self analysis as well as the analysis of the overall systematic issue. This situation falls more into the idea of a change focused service learning project. Focus is placed on the idea of creating a lasting change, both in the system itself, as well as in the ideas and minds of the students in the classroom. 

There is not specifically a right or wrong answer in regards to having a service learning experience which is charity focused or change focused, as long as it aligns specifically with what kind of service learning experience you are aiming to achieve. In the original formation of the Service learning aspect, the goal was for students to be able to "recognize that their academic abilities and collective commitments could help them respond in meaningful ways to a variety of social concerns". These situations are the ones which are charity based, the focus is placed solely on the student and their response to things in the future.

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John Dewey was one of the main advocates for
the change style of Service Learning.
On the other hand, those Service Learning projects focused which fall under the 
change category were focused not only on where the child is now, but also where they are going and what they can do. This was explained by Lawernce Cremin saying, "by manipulating the school curriculum, they could ultimately change the world".  Through this project, they are bringing up discussions of systematic change to be able to make a greater difference throughout our society. They are making the most out of this possibility, rather than just settling at a positive feeling left behind from an act of charity. 

These charity acts are not completely dissociated with future change, and often times charity works as a stepping stone towards future change. Whether it is just an aspect of a change project or it is a project done alongside that of change, the positivity expressed and created through charity acts can act as a benefactor to that of change. Charity on it's own is also not negative and the positivity in it is still valued, but when that charity is viewed as change and nothing more is done with it, then that is where a problem my arise. 

Promising Practices

The first part of the Promising Practices conference on November 5th, was lead by keynote speaker Robert Brooks. Throughout his speech, he discussed the "The Power of Mindsets: Strategies to Nurture Resilience". He told stories throughout his life as a psychologist and educator, and how they apply to helping build resiliency in students. One aspect which he put a lot of focus on was he importance of being a "charismatic adult". He describes this person as one who can connect and relate to a student on both a professional and emotional level. This allows the students' to create an emotional connection not only to the adult but also to the information and education which is being taught, as well as creating a positive feeling. 

This idea of a charismatic adult ties greatly into the topic of my first workshop which was titled "Social and Emotional Learning (SEL): Developing A Common Cross Cultural Language". The workshop was lead by Soraya Gomes, a Hispanic woman, and Kathleen Nerstheimer, a white woman. In regards to the way the program was run, I felt that it was very disorganized, they had a lot of information they tried to push into an hour so nothing was too in-depthly discussed. We were handed a thick packet of information to follow 

social-and-emotional-learning-core-competencies.png (1000×1000)along with the power point, as well as a link to a website with a compilation of other sources related to the discussion. This allowed me to dive more into the content which was discussed afterwards and get more out of it than just what was presented.  They focused on discussing the idea of SEL which is a way to create a learning atmosphere both in adults as well as students which is socially and emotionally aware. This involved being self-aware, knowing how to self-manage, being socially aware, having proper relationship skills, and being able to make responsible decisions. In regards to being socially aware, they discussed the importance of being aware of the social situations around you and being able to empathize with those of different cultures and social standings. While this relates back to the majority of our class, it specifically relates the most to Johnson and his discussion of the necessity of being socially aware in regards to privilege in order to make any progress or change. This also relates back to Delpit and the necessity of teaching the rules and codes of power. Through SEL, students are learning the aspects needed for success in the future. On the same page of Delpit, the different types of teaching, the indirect white teaching style and direct teaching style were very visible in the way the two women went about presenting the information in the presentation. They pulled a lot of attention to it, explaining how through SEL, teachers are able to utilize both and know how to approach the students at hand rather than having a specific style used at all times. 

Through following this, Teachers are relating in that professional yet emotionally understanding way, characterizing them as the "Charismatic adults" Brooks exemplified earlier in his speech. Also, through being these "charismatic adults" and creating a space where the students feel emotionally engaged as well as safe, this is helping to create a safe space in the classroom or community they are working in, which as August explains helps further learning, in many of the same ways exemplified by Brooks. 

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My second session was titled "Building Resiliency Through Play". I was not provided as much information in this session, but it was very interactive and fun, and the information provided was valuable. We opened up with different cray hand shakes which forced many of us out of our comfort zones, as well as forced us to interact with those around the room. We then did an activity which required us to find a partner and hold three blocks together with just our index fingers, and then go around and try to keep our blocks up, while trying to knock down those of the people around you. We then split up to play various other games, such as operation, Jenga, and a game called Builders and Bulldozers. In Builders and Bulldozers, there where a few builders building block towers three blocks high and everyone else going around and knocking down the towers, as the game went on more and more people were added and the rolls of builder or bulldozer were constantly changing. Afterwards, we discussed the various games we played and how these activities all had a sense of risk to them, but that when portrayed properly, it can encourage students to know how to handle situations of failure properly rather than negatively, as well as helping to promote social relationships and positives through resiliency.  Kristen Pepin, a professor here at RIC who led the program also provided resources of books containing various ideas filled with different games and activities which can be enacted to help build resiliency through acts of play in children.  

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Pecha Kucha


Monday, November 28, 2016

Christensen- Blog Post

In her piece, Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us , Linda Christensen discusses the underlying messages, described by author Ariel Dorfman as a "secret education",  found in children's media such as books, TV shows, and movies. 

Christensen describes how this secret education "instructs young people to accept the world as it is portrayed in these  social blue prints. And often that world depicts the domination of one sex, one race, one class, or one country over a weaker counterpart" (126). This is the same one sex, race, class, and country which makes up Leslie Grinner's SCWAAMP. This information which is portrayed captivates and manipulates the views of societal members at a very young age. Growing up children only experience first hand their own way of life, their race, their culture, their social class, etc., and therefore to formulate an opinion of other cultures, that information is received second hand through various forms of media. Due to this these opinions are often formulated into stereotypes of these other cultures rather than fact. 

She then quotes Dorfman, who says, "we are also taught how to love, how to buy, how to conquer, how to forget the past and suppress the future. We are taught more than anything else, how not to rebel" (128). These media forces and the SCWAAMP-ness of them reinforce a society which only has one way to success. This relates back to Delpit and the culture of power. While it is shown through the media, it is wrapped in stereotypes which increases the value of the one culture of power, while decreasing the value of all others, making those rules and codes seem unattainable to those outside the culture of power. 

The majority of these stereotypes are most easily found in the older cartoons, where aspects are most blatantly portrayed. But it is also necessary to note that these stereotypes and the culture of power are still portrayed in the media today, you just need to use a more focused lens to locate and find them in some situations. Beyond the stereotypical representation, being accurately represented beyond just a background character itself is a rarity. A woman main character is hard enough to find, let alone a main character who is a woman of color, and even then having that be character be a strong established character is even more of a feat to find. 

One of Christensen's students wrote "Women who aren't white begin to feel left out and ugly because they never get to play the princess" (131). Controversy over Disney and their lack of proper representation in their princesses and movies is something which still is occurring and flourishing. In 2012 with the release of Disney's Frozen backlash broke out over the whitewashing of the native Scandanavians, as there was not a single person of color in the entirety of the movie, and the fact that it is a repeated pattern in Disney's movies. 

While searching for a picture of the story which Christensen mentioned
as representation, all the search results were still of a white Cinderella. 
As mentioned above, having a strong female lead character is something which is not easily found in children's media. Christensen explains how representation for women of color could be found in Mary Carter Smith's "Cindy Ellie, A Modern Fairy Tale", a retelling of the classic "Cinderella" where Cindy Ellie is a young black woman from East Baltimore. While it is a quality piece for representation, Christensen explains "if the race of the character is the only thing changing, injustices still remain" (132). The character of Cinderella is still only focused on winning a man, and her value is found in a transformation of beauty and consumption. While breaking down racial walls, typical gender stereotypes are still exemplified and young girls still see their only worth being found through getting the looks and getting the guy. 

Christensen focuses throughout on the importance of educating students about these issues in the media they have experienced their whole lives. While in many ways it is difficult for students to come to the realization that their perceptions of the world have been manipulated by the media, it allows for the beginning of a change to be made. The enlightenment to the manipulation of representation and views in the media moves beyond just that and is made applicable to other aspects of life and those walls and stereotypes can begin to be broken through and a change can begin to be made. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Safe Spaces Blog Post

This is a Reflection post about Safe Spaces: Making Schools and communities Welcoming to LGBT Youth by Aneemarie Vaccaro, Gerri August, and Megan S. Kennedy. 

This piece discusses the necessity and importance of having safe spaces for youth members of the LGBTQ+ community, specifically in educational settings. It explains, "To the extent that teachers, school administrators, and college professors create an atmosphere in which difference is not only tolerated but expected, explored, and embraced, students will be more likely to develop perspectives that result in respectful behaviors" (83). The piece then goes on to explain how without that kind of environment the SCWAAMP aspects of our society thrive, and those aspects that go against it, specifically the LGBTQ+ identity are assumed deviant. 

Me, age 13, in the "closet" at
 church camp.
While I am now an out member of the LGBTQ+ community, growing up I was raised in a Christian home and was a devout Baptist. With this being said, my knowledge of the LGBTQ+ community was almost nonexistent, and what I did know about it was that it was viewed as wrong, due to the opinions of the adults I had been surrounded by my whole life. By the time I reached high school the only time the topic came up was in my health class when we had a few guest speakers throughout the semester, two of whom were gay, one came in to discuss AIDS, and the other came from and LGBTQ youth center in Providence to talk just about the community itself as well as the center he works with and provide resources for anyone who would want them. While these two men were obviously not the first gay people I had met in my life, they were the first ones who I had ever met who talked about their experiences, and I was not very happy about it. Looking back I can quote my fourteen year old self saying "I don't have a problem with it, I just don't think they should be encouraging their lifestyle and they shouldn't be talking to a classroom about it". 

Throughout my experience in high school, beyond those two men who came to talk to my health class, the discussion of the LGBTQ+ community now nor its history were ever really discussed in the curriculum of the classroom. Through my own experiences I know that as I began to interact with a community of people who were open to and discussed the LGBTQ community and issues I found myself becoming more and more accepting, as well as realizing my own identity. Had the curriculum in the schools and school systems I had attended been more inclusive, I would have been able to begin to form a more open opinion from the beginning, and so could other students, and lessen issues of homophobia and heterosexism. 

The authors of this piece make another point following this saying, "Most educators do not set out to marginalize LGBT youth. They simply follow paths of least resistance. They put one foot in front of the other in what seems the natural, even the right, direction..." (84). Heterosexism is a norm in our society and often times is not given a second thought and is then applied to the curriculum in schools. Whether that is in classroom examples in stories, or word problems, or picture books, the people are almost always straight, and this furthers the continuation of heterosexism as well as not allowing a space to feel accepting to those LGBTQ students. With it being seen as the norm, it allows for teachers to use that as a crutch for not including it in their curriculum as they have just not thought otherwise, but changes need to be made to provide teachers with that information and allow them to have the knowledge to create a safe space in their classroom. 

Mapping the Authors Document


Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Problem We All Live With Blog post

Throughout this episode of This American Life; "The Problem We All Live With" Ira Glass talks with investigative reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones about the issues facing African American and Hispanic students in the United States Public school system. More specifically they focus on the solution of integration and how it is overall beneficial, but often ignored as a solution.

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Hannah-Jones puts focus on the Normandy school district in Missouri, the school district which Michael Brown attended. She discusses Lesley McSpadden, Michael Browne's mom, who after her son was shot, one of the first things she said to the media was about how hard it was to get her son to graduate as a black man.  She writes, "Most black kids will not be shot by the police but many of them will go to a school like Michael Brown's...the school district he attended is almost completely black, almost completely poor, and failing badly" . Here she discusses how this school district represents many throughout the country, that students of color will attend and be segregated from the white students in the surrounding community. This is similar to a process which Kozol touches upon in Amazing Grace where he talks about the community of Mont Haven in the Bronx, and where a woman from that community says, "Clumping so many people, all with the same symptoms and same problems in one crowded place with nothing the can grow on? Our children start to mourn themselves before their time" (Kozol).  Whether it is in New York or Missouri, the institution of the United States works to pile more and more into one place to further prevent movement out of the lower class, or in this case to even be properly educated.

Once Normandy lost its accreditation and students were allowed to transfer to another school nearby, this brought about the accidental resurgence of integration in schools in Missouri. Hannah-Jones explains the positive aspects of integration and how it is beneficial for the students of color coming from the worse school district, and also does not
francis-howell-exterior-1ht-desktop-616-538.jpg (616×538)negatively affect the schooling scores of the students in the schools that students are being integrated into. But she also puts much of her focus on the struggles of getting to integration and why it is not the used solution today. For one, the school districts themselves furthered the explanation of institutions making it harder for students to be educated and raise out of a situation. When the Normandy school district needed to choose a school for their transfer students to go to, while they had a plethora of options and the school chose one which was over thirty miles away, making the option unappealing and harder for the students of Normandy. Also, those parents at the school chosen, Francis Howell, worked to try and make it as hard as possible for the Normandy Students to attend as well. One parent suggested, "Has anyone considered changing our school start times? Moving start times up 20 minutes, maybe 40 minutes? Making it a little less appealing?". Both of these school districts were doing whatever they could to put up road blocks for these students to prevent them from getting a proper education.

Bob Herbert of The New York Times wrote an article, "Separate and Unequal", further explaining the benefits of integration of schools, how test scores increase and the overall well being of poorer students increases when they go to school with middle class students. He then goes on to explain, "Studies have shown that it is not the race of the students that is significant, but rather the improved all-around environment of schools with better teachers, fewer classroom disruptions, pupils who are more engaged academically, parents who are more involved, and so on". But even though it is not the race of the students that is playing the significant role, it almost always is viewed as a racial issue.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The 2016 Presidential Election and Gender

For this blog, I chose to read the New York Times article "Hillary Clinton Raises Her Voice, and a Debate Over Speech and Sexism Rages" by Amy Chozick and the Time article "Jill Soloway on Donald Trump, Locker Rooms, and Tragic Masculinity"by Jill Soloway. 

The New York Times article discusses how as the presidential race began to intensify with the Democratic debates between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, there was suddenly a wide spread opinion that Clinton's voice is annoying. People have described it as shrill and harassing. Chozick further explains how Clinton is described as "shouting" while her male competitors, such as Bernie Sanders, are most praised for their remarks which are described as being delivered forcefully.This can be through the ways in which gender and public speaking, and politics relate. Men are typically the ones in power and specifically in politics, the ones speaking out. With this presidential race being the first in United States history to have a female candidate,it has opened up the way in which women are viewed in society. Typically, women are expected to be reserved, and quiet, and when she breaks that and speaks out, it seems wrong and makes others uncomfortable, as she is not fulfilling the expected role. Also, her speaking up is placed in comparison to the expected reserved and quiet demeanor and therefore is exemplified to come off as harsher than it is in reality. Clinton spoke out against the accusations of her shouting by saying, "sometimes when a woman speaks out, some people think it's shouting"

Chozick also discusses Denise Graveline's research which says, "Women can be competent or likable, but not both". She then discusses further the 1984 election when Geraldine Ferraro was the first ever female vice president candidate, and how she faced similar issues. Graveline describes her as having taken on a masculine approach to her candidacy as she had lacked the credibility of her other male candidates, but this masculine role did not suit her well. Lisa Delpit says, "There are codes and rules for participating in power; that is, there is a "culture of power"". This culture of power varies slightly depending on the situation, but is almost always rooted in male masculinity. Specifically in the world of politics, the rules and codes of power are all based in the masculine sense, being stern and forceful about ones beliefs is the way to be respected and obtain power. As explained above, the expectations for women go against this culture of power, and therefore when they act alongside the culture of power they are able to be forceful and gain some respect,but then lose their likability as they are forcing those around them out of their comfort zones. 

The Time article focuses on the new release of information in relation to Donald Trump and the video released of him speaking vulgarly and inappropriately about women, and how his defense was to call it "locker-room talk". Soloway discusses how even though many men have rebutted that their "locker-room talk" is not as vulgar as the word's which Donald Trump used, they have admitted to discussing and objectifying women in overtly sexual ways.These talks and behaviors are passed off as expressions of masculinity; as "boys being boys". But these discussions are as Soloway describes them not classic masculinity, but rather toxic masculinity. In their discussions, these men continue to talk up sex, as it fuels their masculine feeling so they feel as though they are a part of the male community around them. Soloway explains, "They can't say anything about it because they don't want to be the bitch, they don't want to be the faggot". This again goes back to Delpit and the culture of power. In this male locker room situation, masculinity needs to be at it's highest, and following those masculine rules of power are a necessity to feel connected, and by doing or saying anything against them, they are then associated with the opposite side of the power spectrum, femininity. But with this,it is also explained, that females are not always left on the bottom of the power spectrum. As long as they are connected to a man, through a relationship or marriage, they are now viewed as closer to equal, but the farther from that relationship a woman goes, the less and less power she has. As Soloway ends the piece she discusses how being aware of the issue is one of the main steps in making sure the issue gets resolved rather than gets worse in the future. This is very similar to what Allan Johnson wrote in Privilege, Power, and Difference where he discussed the necessity of being aware of privilege as well as how everyone, including white men, need to help take part in bettering the situation. Johnson writes, "we are prisoners to something...and we are far from helpless to change it ourselves" . In this situation taking a step towards preventing further detriments can be taken through voting.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Aria- Richard Rodriguez Blog Post

This is a quotes post.

Throughout his piece "Aria", Richard Rodriguez discusses the faults in the way which the education system handled/handles teaching Spanish speaking students and its repercussions.

In his first paragraph, Rodriguez discusses how his English speaking classmates could have become bilingual, learning Spanish or French, easier than he could have entering the school already speaking Spanish. He follows this up stating, "In my case such bilingualism could not have been so quickly achieved. What I did not believe was that i could speak a single public language"(Rodriguez 34). At home he spoke Spanish with his whole family, and that was his identity as a person and then at school he was secluded. His teachers spoke to him solely in English and reprimanded him for not following suit.He uses the term "public language", as he felt that English was the language he was expected to learn at school, yet at home he had an entirely different culture and background focused around the Spanish language, and to him he felt the two were unable to mix and he had to choose one or the other, as at school his Spanish was punished and ridiculed and he was discouraged from using it at all. 

As he went through school and his English did not initially improve, the nuns from his school eventually requested his parents begin to speak English at home, and they complied. Rodriguez discusses how the process started out fun, like a game and eventually became a normal thing. "One Saturday Morning I entered the kitchen where my parents were speaking Spanish. I did not realize that they were talking in Spanish however until, at the moment they saw me, I heard their voices change to speak English" (Rodriguez 35). This moment was incredibly significant as it is the point where the transition to English was fully made in the home, as Rodriguez felt he had lost his Spanish Identity. His parents were converting to try to help make it so that he could progress in his education as his teachers had suggested, but in doing so, by fully cutting off the Spanish language at home, he felt as though he was fully cut off from the Spanish language, and the culture and identity surrounding it. While this worked as the school had hoped, and he began to embrace the English language as his own to be spoken everywhere, including the classroom, it negatively affected Rodriguez as he no longer felt connected to an entire part of his identity. So much so that even his name was changed and he was no longer Rodrigo and rather now Richard. 

He also discusses the other side of the situation, how forcing English upon students at home tears away the identity of the parents as well. Rodriguez uses the example of his father stating, "His children became so accustomed to his silence that, years later, they would speak routinely of his shyness...But my father was not shy, I'd realized, when I watched him speaking with Spanish relatives. Using Spanish, he was quickly effusive" (Rodriguez 37). While the education system affected the way in which Rodriguez as a child formed his views of his identity, it also muted the identity of those around him, including his fully grown father. He was forced to change to accustom to society and the opinion that English is superior and when he struggled with the change, he gave up speaking all together as his surroundings and the identity of those around him and himself began to change and he was not caught up with the change. As well as his personal identity in this new surrounding changed, the way he was viewed and his identity  to others changed as well. He was pushed inside and now viewed as shy, while when placed in a comfortable environment he was able to still embrace his true identity.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

McIntosh- Argument post

Throughout her piece, "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack", Peggy McIntosh argues hat those with white privilege are often oblivious to the fact that they have it and therefore also oblivious to the unconscious racism which they commit. And with this obliviousness, they are unable to make progress. 

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McIntosh begins by comparing the obliviousness of those with white privilege to that of men and male privilege. By having this privilege, one does not notice it and sees it as something they believe to be normal for everyone, that they would not think that someone else may not have. Allan Johnson also described this in his piece Privilege, Power, and Difference discussing how privilege can be defined by not knowing you have privilege. McIntosh describes white privilege as "an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was "meant" to remain oblivious". Once white privilege is known, it no longer remains unconscious and something needs to be done about it. 

The first step is to examine the ways in which white privilege unconsciously exists as actions of everyday life which often go unnoticed or things which you would think should be basic rights for any human, regardless of race, gender, economic class, sexuality, etc. Many also seem to go beyond just a person and be a systematic issue. One which is passed down and is intertwined with all other forms of privilege and oppression. 

With all of these different types of privilege and oppression being intertwined and brought up, it brings about a feeling of needing to change it, so as to keep a clean moral state. Yet oftentimes, when someone has privilege they do not want to have to give it up, and McIntosh states that because of that, systematically in the United States, the obliviousness to white privilege, as well as to male privilege, is consistently reinforced in our culture. It allows those with that privilege to believe in a country of equal opportunity and the American Dream, even though it is not actually a reality. 

Class Comment:

I felt This piece was written in a very confusing manner which left me unsure of whether or not I was properly interpreting parts of it. But I did feel as though much of it connected to both Johnson and Kristof very well. While Kristof wrote specifically on the topic of economic stagnancy, they both connected with the way they discussed the necessity of breaking through the myth of meritocracy in the United States. 


This is a quotes Post. 

Nicholas Kristof discusses the issues of economic mobility in the United States in his article "U.S.A., Land of Limitations".

blogging-land-of-opportunity.jpg (342×194)Oftentimes, the United states is seen as a "land of opportunity" where no matter what your starting situation is, if you work hard enough for something, you can achieve it. Kristof explains, "That's a lovely aspiration...Yet 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".While this idea is something which people optimistically believe in and which oftentimes motivates people to work harder and to improve their place in life, it is not realistically applicable to most people. The economic system in the United States is set in a way that moving economically upwards is incredibly hard. Yes, sometimes people do do it and achieve the "American Dream", but that is a very rare occurrence. Kristof explains that in the United States, there is only a four percent chance for a boy to move from the bottom quintile economically to the top in his life time.

But while that percentage is so low, people often still pursue the fact that the only thing preventing people from getting to the top is their lack of motivation to get there, the decisions they make, or the situations they get themselves into which prevent them from doing so. People argue they know people who have started out incredibly poor and made it to the top, but as Kristof explains, that is a rare occurrence comparable to the outcome of a tall basketball player coming from parents who are both 5'6". While it does happen, it is very rare. Kristof quotes Professor Reardon who stated, "Rich kids make a lot of bad choices, They just don't come with the same consequences". Starting at a lower economic standpoint, the number of obstacles that need to be overcome to get to the top is much higher, including the consequences to actions being much higher as well, just adding another level to the hurdles which need to be overcome. This is expanded on with the story of Kristof's hometown friend Rick, who started out in a dysfunctional family at the economic bottom, and never moved in his economic standpoint. Kristof explains how in Rick's life while he made a few bad choices, but he also had incredible strength to overcome issues in his life like alcoholism as well as intelligence and hard work, but that he lacked opportunity.

He finalizes his argument by saying, "Success is not a sign of virtue. It's mostly a sign that your grandparents did well". This encompasses the overall message, that economic mobility and success do not lay solely on the individual. While like he said, sometimes there is that one person who makes it out and makes it to the top, more commonly than not the situation is out of the hands of the individual, and no matter how hard they are to try, they will not be able to make it to the top.

A Bit About Me!

Hi!! I'm Becca! I love sunsets, glitter, and the color yellow!
I also love to bake and have an obsession with sweet things!  

This is me and all of my siblings at my older
sister Tessa's Wedding! 
This is me and my niece, Lemon.
She may have a sour name, but she's
the sweetest!! 

My girlfriend, Jess and I! 

Also, this year I am secretary of RIC's chapter of RSA!
It's a really great organization and one of my favorite things about RIC!