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!