Saturday, February 21, 2015

"Safe Spaces" - Reflection

"Safe Spaces" by Annemarie Vacaro, Gerri August, and Megan S. Kennedy was a real eyeopener for me. This reading took me longer than usual because it really made me think about my experiences and of LGBT language and culture. I really like how the authors broke the article up with reflection points because it really connected me to the article. Since this post is a reflection, I decided to answer some of these though provoking questions here.

"What messages did you receive about the LGBT community when you were in school? Which messages were explicit, which were implied?"
When I was in elementary and middle school, I really don't remember any discussion or messages about  the LGBT community. Personally, I don't think that my school was deliberately mind-washing me towards heterosexism. I believe that my teachers were well intentioned, but maybe just not educated in this subject. Also, they could have included curriculum on the LGBT community that I just don't remember. However, in high school, I was taught, implicitly, to respect all those with differences, whether it was difference in race, ethnic background, socioeconomic class, or sexual orientation. I think that RIC, and this class especially, has, explicitly, educated me on the LGBT community. I know that there are a lot of organizations dedicated to LGBT acceptance and inclusion on campus.

"What do you know about the gay civil rights movement, Stonewall, for example?"
I really don't know a lot about the gay civil rights movement. I never had this historical event covered in one of my history classes or in school. I feel like this is a really important topic that needs much more awareness and should be covered in more classes.

"As an educator, can you identify opportunities to incorporate LGBT voices into your curriculum? What support would you need to take this step?" 
As a future educator, I know that I need to find opportunities to incorporate LGBT voices into my curriculum. Using some of the action steps given in this article, along with the stories given about teachers differing approaches, I believe that I will be able to find creative ways to engage my students in these important topics. It would be very helpful if I had the support from the school leaders and teachers.

Also, I really liked the story about Patrick and how he handled the anti-LGBT language in his fifth-grade classroom. I liked how he took the opportunity not to yell, ignore, or agree with the negative use of words like "gay" and "lesbian," but instead took a humorous, matter-of-fact approach with his students. By using this tactic, I think that he connected with the students much more than if he had used a different approach. I think this was an excellent way of dealing with this controversial topic, which helped his students to actually learn why their language was harmful and alternatives to their actions. His approach reminded me of the Delpit and the "culture of power."All five of the aspects are represented in this article:
1. Issues of power are enacted in classrooms.
The inclusion and acceptance of the LGBT community needs to be instructed in classrooms, which should be safe spaces for LGBT students.
2. There are codes or rules for participating in power; that is there is a culture of power.
The culture of power is silence on LGBT rights. The rule is to ignore dealing with or speaking about those in the LGBT community.
3. The rules of the culture of power are a reflection of the rules of the culture of those who have power.
Those in power, those not in the LGBT community, set the rules. They claim that it is abnormal to be a part of this community.
4. If you are not already a participant in the culture of power, being told explicitly the rules of that culture makes acquiring power easier.
Learning the rules of power makes acquiring power for those in the LGBT community easier. By understanding how our society works, they will be able to acquire power better than if they did not know the rules of the codes of power.
5. Those with power are frequently least aware of - or least willing to acknowledge - its existence. Those with less power are often most aware of its existence.
Personally, I have power in this situation and I was least aware of its existence. Those in the LGBT community are most aware of its existence because they experience the ignorance and pain everyday.

Overall, I enjoyed this article and for my talking point, I want to know if anyone does have any memories of curriculum that included LGBT inclusion or acceptance in their schooling?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

"Aria" by Richard Rodriguez

"…the flash of two worlds, the faces and voices of school intruding on the familiar setting of home" (2).
Rodriguez, when he was a child, separated his school life from his home life. In school, he was forced to speak English, which had made him uncomfortable because he didn't feel that it was his language to speak. At home, Rodriguez had felt much more comfortable and secure because he could speak Spanish and connect with his family's culture. When the nuns asked Rodriguez' parents if they could speak English at home, he felt these two separate worlds collide. His school life was "intruding" on his personal family life. This was hard for Rodriguez because in order to assimilate and learn English, he had to give up his former Spanish identity.

"My Mother! My Father! After English became my primary language, I no longer knew what words to use in addressing my parents" (4).
Rodriguez is explaining the confusion that he felt when he transitioned from a Spanish identity to an English identity. He had called his parents "mamá and papá" before, but saying these titles were "too painful reminders of how much had changed in [his] life" (4). This makes me so sad because Rodriguez  lost a sense of his family connection. He couldn't even call his parents by the names that he had learned because it brought back upsetting memories of his former Spanish lifestyle.

"So they do not realize that while one suffers a diminished sense of private individuality by becoming assimilated into public society, such assimilation makes possible the achievement of public individuality" (6).
Rodriguez is making a point about how even though one must lose their sense of native and family language connections, the assimilation into the English language and American identity allows one to flourish and succeed in their lives. Through becoming a part of the American lifestyle, these people become part of the public sphere, allowing them to make more outside connections and relationships. I understand what Rodriguez is saying, but I think that it is truly unfortunate that in order to feel secure in a public setting, one must, in a sense, disconnect from their former culture. I do feel a sense of hope though because Rodriguez is showing us that even through the struggles of becoming assimilated into the American culture, one can find benefits and grow accustomed to their new lifestyles.

My mom's family immigrated here from Portugal when my uncle was 4 and my aunt was 2. I remember  stories from my uncle who constantly got in trouble with his teachers and got held back in school because he didn't understand English and only spoke Portuguese. He told me that it was really hard for him to understand why he had to learn English and couldn't speak Portuguese anymore. He felt like an outsider in school. This story helped me to connect my uncle's struggles with Rodriguez' struggles because they had to go through the same type of assimilation.

I think that this article connects with SCWAAMP, in the sense that American-ness is valued in todays society. Other cultures are not valued so therefore, people like Rodriguez must lost their cultural identity in order to become a "true American." By assimilating into English, Rodriguez says that one gains a "public individuality" and this public American-ness is important and seen as good in todays society.

Talking Point:
Do you think that Richard is happier in his new public, english lifestyle and what benefits does he acquire when he gives up his Spanish lifestyle?

Delpit - Revised

This is an update to my post on "The Silenced Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People's Children" by Lisa Delpit.

I believe that Delpit's article relates to Ullucci's article, "Pathologizing the Poor: Implications for Preparing Teachers to Work in High-Poverty Schools." This article talks about students lives in poverty and how teachers must understand their students backgrounds in order to help them succeed in school, and their lives beyond that. Delpit connects this central idea in her five points:
1. Issues of power are enacted in the classrooms.
Ullucci's text connects to this rule because she is explaining the relationship between teacher's attitude and techniques with their students, who may come from differing backgrounds, success in school.

2. There are codes or rules for participating in power; that is, there is a "culture of power."
Ullucci talks about a "culture of poverty" (5). This culture of poverty clumps all the children together into one category without actually understanding or acknowledging the children's family culture and standards. This culture of poverty is a category where those who are not in the culture of power are placed.

3. The rules of the culture of power are a reflection of the rules of the culture of those who have power. 
Ullucci's text connects to this rule by explaining the myths. These myths were created by those who are in power. Therefore, they are a reflection of the attitudes and beliefs of those who are in the culture of power. These myths create rules that say that those is poverty are just not as hardworking as those in the culture of power - which reflects the rules of the culture of power.

4. If you are not already a participant in the culture of power, being told explicitly the rules of that culture makes acquiring power easier.
I believe that this is Ullucci's main point for writing this article. She is trying to explain to teachers that those students who come from different backgrounds do not understand the rules of the culture of power. It is the teachers job to teach these rules to their students so that they can succeed in this culture of power. Teachers have the ability to tell their students explicitly these rules in order to benefit themselves.

5. Those with power are frequently least aware of - or at least willing to acknowledge - its existence. Those with less power are often most aware of its existence.
Ullucci talks about many myths, including the "Bootstraps Myth"which believes that people in poverty can just will themselves out of poverty (6). This is not a belief of those in poverty but of those who have power. These in power are not aware of the real everyday struggles of those in poverty - they believe that those in poverty must be lazy or not care or work hard enough to release themselves from the poverty cycle.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Peggy McIntosh "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack"

Peggy McIntosh argues that white privilege, like male privilege, is an unfair dominance system solely based on race and sex. If one possesses these characteristics, then they have an advantage in our society. Though McIntosh explains privilege, she believes that white and male privilege isn't really classified as privilege because it is unearned superiority over others. Even though men and whites understand their advantages, they do not see themselves as being oppressive to others. She explains that people are taught that racism is acts that put others at a disadvantage without understanding the opposite view: that racism gives white people advantages. Therefore, they work to try to promote equality, but do not try to lessen their own power. McIntosh said that people are unconsciously taught to ignore these privileges and see them as the norm. As a result, she classifies white privilege as "an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, code books, visas, clothes, tools, and blank checks."

I believe that McIntosh's article connects with SCWAAMP. This acronym describes what society values: straightness, christianity, whiteness, able-bodiness, american-ness, maleness, and property ownership. Since society values whiteness and maleness, people classified in these two groups, as well as all the other categories, have privileges, or unearned advantages. On the other hand, those who are not represented in these groups are oppressed and unfairly treated.

In my opinion, McIntosh is correct in her argument. When I read through the list of advantages that whites automatically possess, I really began to understand the complexity of this issue. Like she explained, I had never seen myself to have advantages over my friends who weren't white. Now, I see that I was conditioned by society to not recognize my white privilege. But in order to change it, we must accept that it exists. I found a company called, which raises awareness on topics like white privilege. They put out a commercial in 2012 that shows white people explaining white privilege and the advantages that they have over those who are not white.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

"All Children Can Learn" Quotes from Delpit

Three quotes that I believe represent Lisa Delpit's "The Silences Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People's Children" are:

"…many of the 'progressive' educational strategies imposed by liberals upon black and poor children could only be based on a desire to ensure the liberals' children get sole access to the dwindling pool of American jobs. Some have added that the liberal educators believe themselves to be operating with good intentions are only conscious delusions , but that these good intentions are only conscious delusions about their unconscious true motives." (29)

               In this quote, Delpit explains that many white teachers, unconsciously, are, in a sense,  sabotaging the chances of their non-white students in order to preserve the job market for the own children and those like them. Even though people do not believe or understand that they are biased in this way, Delpit says that this is the reality that we face.

"The teacher cannot be the only expert in the classroom. To deny students their own expert knowledge is to disempower them." (32-33)

             I really liked this quote and how it connected to the story of students analyzing rap songs. I think that Delpit is saying that teachers learn just as much from their students as their students learn from them. For a teacher to believe that they are the only contributing force in a classroom is not a good  or productive learning environment for students. This quote is relevant to the text because it is saying that a teacher must let their students express themselves in their own ways and not judge them based on differences in culture, sex, or ethnicity.              

"I suggest that students must be taught the codes needed to participate fully in the mainstream of American life, not by being forced to attend to hollow, inane, decontextualized sub skills, but rather within the context of meaningful communicative endeavors; that they must be allowed the resource of the teacher's expert knowledge, while being helped to acknowledge their own 'expertness' as well; and that even while students are assisted in learning the culture of power, they must also be helped to learn about the arbitrariness of those codes and about the power relationships they represent."(45)

              I  believe that this quote really sums up Delpit's main concept. The culture of power must be taught and not assumed to be known, in order for all students to benefit, or at least understand the structure of power. This cannot be accomplished by a multitude of meaningless skill sheets, but only by experiencing their inner abilities, while also learning to decode the structure of the culture of power, while working to change it. Through explicit language, students may learn the implicit nature of the culture of power and therefore understand how to operate within it.

I found an interview with Lisa Delpit that builds upon the information given in this article. Delpit is speaking about her new book, "Multiplication is for White People: Raising Expectations for Other People's Children." In this interview, she clarifies many of her controversial points. You can read about it at:

One talking point that I would like to bring to our class discussion is the topic on teachers learning from their students. I truly believe that people learn best when they have to teach or explain something to another. Throughout teaching dance classes and volunteering at schools, I have learned so many incredible things from my students that have improved my own teaching techniques. Like Delpit says, students feel empowered when they are able to bring a positive contribution to the classroom. I have seen many times students learn best from explaining the concept to another or relating it to something that they really understand. Therefore, I believe that this is a really important topic that Delpit addresses that would be an interesting class discussion.