Monday, April 21, 2008

Talking Point 10

Privilege, Power, and Difference by Johnson

· Exclusion
· Rejection
· Privilege
· Harassment
· Discrimination
· Violence
· Change
· Challenge
· Society
· Privilege
· Racism
· Sexism
· Oppression
· Being able to say the words
Johnson argues that the problem of privilege and oppression is deep and wide, and to work with it we have to be able to see it clearly so that we can talk about it in useful ways, but to do so we must first understand the language/vocabulary.
1. “Once we can see and talk about what’s going on, we can analyze how it works as a system. We can identify points of leverage where change can begin.”(126) This quote shows that once one learns and understands the vocabulary and can openly discuss issues of racism, sexism, privilege, etc. an act of change will have occurred. This is the beginning stepping stone to changing societies views.
2. “You don’t have to do anything dramatic or earth-shaking to help change happen. As powerful as systems of privilege are, they cannot stand the strain of lots of people doing something about it, beginning with the simplest act of naming the system out loud.” (153) I chose to use this quote because it ties Johnson’s argument together, because it discusses how an individual can simply change the perspective on privilege by saying the words out loud and admitting that they live in either a privileged or non-privileged community.
3. “Large numbers of people have sat on the sidelines…… Removing what silences them and stands in their way can tap an enormous potential pf energy for change.” (125) Johnson states that one needs to tap on the invisible glass to cause a chain reaction of change in society. This small paragraph encourages people to stand up instead of just keeping quite, again you need to speak up and say the words. Because you never know, your words may change how society approaches/ sees various issues in the community.
This reading I felt was very similar to Johnson’s first article we read in January, he again stresses that you need to say the words. Over the course of this semester I have definitely become more comfortable saying the words that many are too embarrassed to say. Also with this reading, I feel that he explained his views more in depth, which made it easier to relate to than the first article we read. Overall Johnson made it clear that I can start a change in society by looking at my own community and finding a way to change my personal life.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Talking Point 9

Our Guys by: Bernard Lefkowitz
· Anger
· Hatred
· Confusion
· Special need child
· Jocks
· Painful
· Disorder
· Trouble
· Police-arrest
· American communities
· Suburbs
· Fun- seems for the males participating
· Disturbing
· Uncalled for
· Embarrassment
· Appalling
· Greif and shame
· Adolescent years
· Social devastation = poverty of childhood
· Squeaky clean/manicured town
· Perfection
· Segregation of towns
· Financial/social class
· Privilege
· “tragedy”
· “character”
Author’s Argument:
Lefkowitz argues that being privileged and affluence could inflate the self-importance of otherwise unremarkable young men, not always with good results. Also that being privileged changes everything in society, character changes to tragedy in this story, meaning that vocabulary is different within the two towns being discussed; along with this the privileged receive more attention and to the society of Glen Ridge become the victims.
1. In the introduction on pages 5 and 6, he discusses how in Glen Ridge they (the society) says what a tragedy for so and so and their family; while in Newark they say character, that kid had such bad character. The focus more on problems or situations the child has been exposed too, in Newark. Glen Ridge is like a gated community, and they just feel sorry for the boys involved and forget completely about the victim and her family.
2. In the beginning of chapter one, Leslie says how she wishes she was popular and could be one of the girls who partied with the jock clique. She then continues to say that all the jocks ignored her, her entire life and she probably would never party on Kyle and Kevin deck. She was sent to a different school out of district because she had special needs, but one of the guys that she did associate with asked her to come to their party and she was a vulnerable girl so after she found out that her lover would be there she said yes. This is a perfect example of peer pressure, which does exist in many high schools especially among girls.
3. The silence. This example I feel is the strongest, because it just shows how “the heroes” of Glen Ridge always ended up on top and got away with everything they did because they were respected by all in the community for being the jocks. However their silence could be interpreted as being ashamed of what they did; Leslies silence is more grief and shame oriented, since she fell for Chris’ invitation. Being silent is the easiest way to move on and forget than deal with what happened.
This reading was easy to comprehend, but disturbing at the same time. I liked how Lefkowitz uses concrete images to draw the picture in the readers mind. After reading just the first chapter and introduction I was disgusted with what the so called heroes had done to that innocent girl, and I did not like how the community only felt bad for the jocks and sort of made them the victims. I liked reading this and I actually want to go and purchase it so I can find out what happens between chapters one and twelve. I also see how is relates to Kozol, the society makes the difference in the society and Lefkowitz draws a clear picture of the community of privilege in relation to Newark (which reminded me of the town Kozol talked about) the poverty stricken town. I also noticed that Leslie was sent to a school where she was in a class with other special needs children, which is like segregating against her. Aren’t all children supposed to be taught in the same public institution in their local school

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Talking Point 8

Whites Swim in Racial Preference by Time Wise
· Racial preference
· Putting yourself in a fishes shoes
· Not seeing difference in color
· Equality
· Unfair
· Affirmative action programs
· Minorities
· Whites
· Culture
· Society
· Bad thing- negative
· segregation
· property
· families
· income/working
· self-sufficiency
· privileges
· fairness
· history
Author’s Argument:
Wise argues that due to “racial preference” is sought to be originated with affirmative action programs to whites, intended to expand opportunities for historically marginalized people of color, racial preference has been a large and long part of white history. He continues to go on arguing that it is hardly exaggeration to say that white America is the biggest collective recipient of racial preference in the history of the cosmos. It has skewed our laws, shaped our public policy and helped create the glaring inequalities which are still around today, segregation.
1. On page 1 in the first paragraph, he uses the example if we were fish and if he “asked a fish what water is you’ll get no answer.” Fish take their environment for granted just as Americans take culture and society for granted everyday. Many white individuals took life for granted in the years of slavery and severe segregation.
2. Again on the first page the sixth paragraph, “in recent history, affirmative action for white’s motivated racially restrictive housing policies that helped 15 million white families with FHA loans from 1930s to 1960s, while people of color were mostly excluded from the same programs.” This shows how affirmative action has been around in society for many years favoring the whites.
3. On page 2 second paragraph, Wise discusses self-sufficiency and says that “we ignore the fact that at almost every turn, our hard work has been met with access to an opportunity structure denied to millions of others.” Thus resulting in privilege which is like water to fish: “invisible precisely because we cannot imagine life without it.”
Comments/ Questions/ Points to Share:
I thought this reading was very easy to comprehend and had a great message in the pages. The fact that many say privilege is apart of life and white culture is true, but in cases such as college applications sometimes being a minority is beneficial. There still is segregation around today, but many simply do not see it because as Johnson stated it needs to be talked about and said. Just that, many Americans don’t talk about segregation at all. I really liked this article and I feel like it did the point across, and I also liked that he related human beings to fish. It was interesting but made a lot of sense.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Talking Point 7

“One More River to Cross” – Recognizing the Real Injury in Brown: A Prerequisite to Shaping New Remedies by: Charles Lawrence
· Unfairness
· Hurt
· Segregation
· desegregation
· Court system
· Goals
· Life styles
· Anger
· Whiteness
· Being black
· Education
· Disorder
· Laws
· Congress
· Communities
· Civil rights
· Shyness
· Afraid
· Fear
· Hatred
· Not American like
Lawrence argues that the Supreme Court’s reasoning in striking down an interdistrict desegregation order in Detroit was flawed in that it misunderstood the true nature of the institution of segregation. The Court’s failure to recognize and articulate the true nature of racial segregation was more the product of an intentional, knowledge decision than the result of any inability to comprehend.
1. There are three underlying reasons that many need to understand about segregation on page 54. Letters A, B, and C all tell about how severe life was for blacks during the mid 19th century. And touch upon the difficulty of becoming equal to whites in society.
2. Also on page 54, “That the purpose of the institution of segregation has always been to stigmatize and subordinate rather than to simply separate perhaps best demonstrated by the fact that whites in the antebellum South had no aversion to commingling with blacks so long as the institution of slavery made their superior status clear.” This shows that segregation was an issue to the black’s and the white did not care as long as they still had their slaves. The Court’s didn’t find anything wrong with this? Along with this on page 55, it talks on the subject of how black children are hurt due to the segregation of schools.
3. On page 58, in the Milliken case, the Court’s intentional misunderstanding of the institution of segregation allowed a rather facile rationale for the Court’s no doubt politically motivated decision to keep black children out of Detroit’s suburbs. The only injury said to hurt blacks was created by official school board action separating black children from white children, Burger only found constitutional violations was in the city of Detroit and, therefore, limited the remedy to that geographic location. This clearly shows how segregation not only affected black adults but black children and even some white children.
Comments/Points to Share:
I liked this reading because it was a very important time in history and the issue is still around today, but it is not as severe as it was back in the time when my mother was in high school. Sometimes I did struggle with reading, because some of the terms were “lawyer-talk” but other wise it was a good read. I found this one to be one of my favorites and I really got into it. While I was reading this article, all I could think about is the stories that my mother used to tell me about my family being the only white family on the block in Harlem and about the time when many racial riots were occurring in the North. My mother went to Hamden High in Connecticut and she told me about the times when she wouldn’t go to school because she herself was afraid since many of the riots were held in front of her high school. Overall, I am a little ashamed that the country I live in sank down to this level because we are a nation and everyone is equal. At least that’s what I was taught from kindergarten through my present schooling.

The pregnant male

i was looking at the msn homepage this morning and I remember someone tells our class about this on thursday, and I found a link that tells more about it. Below is the article...

When the news of a five-months-pregnant transgender man hit, searchers wanted to know more about Thomas Beatie. Much more.Is the "pregnant man" a hoax? And if not, how is a pregnant man physically possible? Related topics getting search traction: the effect of testosterone on human eggs, gender identity disorder and growing up transgender.
It's safe to say that most people are shaky on the difference between transgender and transsexual in the first place. (Beatie's isn't the first transman pregnancy, by the way.) Online comments, predictably, range from strong support to comparisons to Victorian freak shows and science-fiction tales.But the story of the pregnant man makes us ponder some weighty questions, such as is Beatie's decision unethical? And it forces us to reconsider our definition of gender and puts a spotlight on the discrimination transgender people experience. (

Monday, March 24, 2008

Talking Point 6

Tracking: Why Schools Need to Take another Route by Jeannie Oakes
· Parents
· Teachers
· Students
· Schools
· Tracking
· Positives and negatives
· Day-to-day learning
· Caring
· Unfairness
· Consequences
· Uneven opportunities
· Typical classroom
· Inequality
· High- ability and low ability
Oakes argues that tracking yes has positive sides, but overall can really damage a students learning. She also argues that many educators and policymakers are looking for alternative strategies to help schools reach their goal of providing high-quality, relevant education for all students. Along with these two arguments, I feel that there are two more that are required to be mentioned and are the most important arguments too. Oakes argues that many educators and parents assert that when schools group by ability, teachers are better able to target individual needs and students will learn more. However, she argues that growing numbers of school professionals and parents oppose tracking because they believe it locks most students into classes where they are stereotyped as “less able,” and where they have fewer opportunities to learn.
1. On page 178 under Tracking’s Consequences, John Goodland’s national study of schools, reported in the book A Place Called School, students in high-ability English classes were more likely to be taught classic and modern literature, while those of lower-ability do not receive the same learning strategies.
2. Through tracking students in lower-ability classrooms learn basic reading skills through workbooks, kits, and easy-to-read books. While students in a higher-ability class were personally taught by their teacher. This shows the difference based on “ability” and how this approach is discriminative.
3. With the separation, higher-level students are required to have more homework every night than a student in a lower-level. This is unfair to the higher student. Along with this the higher-level students’ teachers seem to be more enthusiastic about teaching, introduce lessons clearly, use strong criticism or ridicule more frequently, there are better organizational skills, and students are given more of a variety of things to do. Leading to students who need more time to learn appear to get less; those who have the most difficulty learning seem to have fewer of the best teachers. Creating an unfair aspect in the school.

Points to Share/Comments:
This article I found interesting, but at the same time I really struggled finding the real argument making it difficult to completely comprehend the materials and have a clear understanding. Personally, I feel that tracking in schools is not needed; it can damage a smart student, who because of the division, now is not given the same awareness as a student in the higher-ability course. There are pros and cons to this, but I am still confused on if it is a good thing or not. Mainly I believe it depends on the school environment, meaning public or private. Overall, I understood this reading a little but I still think I need to reread some parts of the article a few times to really let it sink in.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Talking Point 5

In the Service of What? The Politics of Service Learning by Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer
· American Schools
· Education/Learning
· Service
· Idealism
· Individualism
· Materialism
· Service Learning
· Community Service
· Beneficial
· Helpful
· Rewarding
· Students
· Caring/Kindness/Charity
· Civic Duties
· Rich and Poor
· Homeless
· Drugs
· Pregnancies
· Goals
· Compassion
· Volunteering
· Youth
· Understanding
Author’s Argument:
Kahne and Westheimer argue that “In the service of what?” is a question that inevitably merits the attention of teachers, policy makers, and academicians who take seriously the idea that learning and service reinforce each other and should come together in America’s schools. Along with this I found two more arguments that I think are relevant; in the political aspect, they argue that the efforts to integrate service learning activities into the curriculum have great potential and deserve the support they are now receiving. However, there is little attention towards the goals of service learning. Finally both authors’ argue that through service learning, this program can really have a positive impact on student’s understandings of both disciplinary knowledge and the particular social issues with which they are engaged. Also it allows students to get a first hand view on what is out there in their community, instead of only listening to what others say.
1. Moral Domain: giving and charity; A student in Mr. Johnson’s class volunteered at the Veterans’ Memorial Senior Center tells the story of how the student liked serving out the food and witnessed how happy the people were that they got to associate with their peers. The only problem with this is that there is a distance between the one caring and the one cared for diminishes. In many service learning experiences, students view those they serve as clients rather than as a resource.
2. Political domain; community service equals giving back to the community. An example is found where Sen. Kennedy writes what democracy means “… [it’s] the responsibility to give something back to America in return for all it has given.” Another great example is how Atlanta ensures that all students recognize “the responsibility of good citizens to help others.” Finally, Mr. Johnson believes that “community service… a vital part of the government course [because] part of citizenship is the practice of helping others in the community.”
3. Intellectual domain; This one tells how in Atlanta and Maryland a student must fulfill 75 hours of community service to graduate, and in Atlanta the student also must include a 500 word essay on their service learning project. Other states are following such as: Vermont, New York, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota. This just shows how service learning benefits the students. One student after doing their service in a community changed her view on everything she had heard; “[The neighborhood] isn’t as bad as the news makes it to be.” “The rumors I have heard are a big bunch of hogwash …I’m glad I went on that trip because it was a wonderful experience to meet new people and find out about their lives.”
Comments/Points to Share/Questions:
This article was hard to read at first, during the introduction, but once I began to read parts one and two I found it more engaging. I was surprised that Atlanta and Maryland students must complete 75 hours of community service and in Atlanta they have to write a 500 word essay in addition. But when I think of it, that really isn’t much for four years. At my high school we were required to complete 40 hours a year, but I know that many of my peers used to just make up hours here and there and hand the sheet in. Personally I used to submit over 200 hours a year of community service from dancing, fire fighting, and volunteering in the school where my mother works. Overall, the reading really made me think and helped me to realize the importance in doing my required total of 160 hours of community service in four years to graduate. I always wondered why the public school in my district only had to do 25 total hours to graduate, it makes perfect sense now.