Monday, November 29, 2010

White privilege

49. My children are given texts and classes, which implicitly support our kind of family unit and do not turn them against my choices of domestic partnership.

Whether or not this statement shows one of many truths directed at the idea of dominant white privilege in this country, McLntosh’s 49th statement pointed out more of my discomforts and provoked more thoughts than any of her other statements. I feel that there is more than one way to interpret this statement, whether it be by targeting sexual preferences, the acceptance of the absence of a parent, or the ability to have an alternative family structure as a white privileged person. I think that the most striking thought that I had was based on the idea of a single mother and the impact that her race has on her being approved by society.  The scenario set up in children’s literary texts and educational settings looks down upon women getting pregnant before marriage, suggesting that having a partner (male) is important to fundamental growth and nurturing of a child. I feel like there is this unspoken criticism towards non-white single mothers while, in the white community, it is the male partner who is looked down upon and the single mother who is given support from children’s texts, and other sources. She can be seen as brave and, sometimes, even heroic. Even if single white mothers are not accepted as the dominant structure of family unit shown in “children’s texts and classes,” the children of white single mothers are not taught to be ashamed of their structure of family unit in the same way as children of non-white single mothers. What is taught in school and read in the texts supports the life style choices of white people, implying that white people set the standards for what is normal. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

“The elimination of affirmative action would only justify racial discrimination”

“The elimination of affirmative action would only justify racial discrimination.”

Based on how Cornell West feels and the evidence he presents, the elimination of affirmative action would only justify racial discrimination. The black minority has been oppressed to a point where the playing field is too uneven to improve social equality without interference from the government. Affirmative action would not be necessary to society if discrimination could be abated through good will; this is not the case. There has to be affirmative action to make up for the discrimination of black and other “colored people” because there is too much of an advantage in the white community. Compensatory policies are only enacted if they impact “middle class American” and big business owners in positive ways, not necessarily helping the “have-nots” and the “have-too-little’s.” The way I see it is that if the affirmative action is benefitting upper class white conscience because they think they are making progress in helping diversify and level out the playing field, but this is not the case. Affirmative action is not reaching the have-not and have-too-little’s, but the white population is leading themselves and others to believe that they are providing a chance for minorities to have the same opportunities as the son of a wealthy white man with average ability. On the other hand, affirmative action is necessary is there is any chance for equalizing opportunity and avoiding the “return with a vengeance” of racial and sexual discrimination. Affirmative action will not reach the enough “have-nots” and “have-too-little’s” until they have the power to affect change through vote and wealth white people get off their high horse and see that affirmative action is not at the point of reaching its full potential. On the other hand, black people need to find confidence within their race to build their own power and participate in influential ways. For example they can participate in the form of voting for affirmative action that can apply to the “have-nots” and “have-too-little’s.”

Monday, November 15, 2010

Creative Collaboration: A Visual Essay

 1.  Describe with specific detail the group’s greatest moments in “creative collaboration.”  Refer to the “Creative Collaboration” sheet to see characteristics of when that is happening.  For example, did you achieve “flow?”  After doing that, describe the times when the group did not work up to its full potential.  How and why do you think these instances happened?  What principles of “creative collaboration” were not upheld that resulted in that dysfunction.

           When a group consists of 5 people, 1 week to finish the project, and complete freedom to create a thesis, the act of creating collaborative responsibility is hard to achieve. Fortunately, I feel this particular group, myself included, understood the concept of our group experience from day one. That first gathering in the classroom early in the week allowed us to come together, share our ideas together, and draft what we thought would become our thesis. It was almost as if we fully understood that togetherness would avoid any stress and anxiety that usually goes hand and hand with projects, group or solo. I left that day feeling confident in our group and our shared vision. On day two, we took some time to talk in the cafeteria; this is when i felt tension in the group. After a night to reflect, we met a second time with stronger ideas that now were different from one another’s, and seemingly irreconcilable. It was just too overwhelming and frustrating that each individual had his or her own vision, which they would gladly contribute to the thesis, but when it came to another person’s idea, it was hard to get us to practice “deep listening.” Although ultimately we did come up with a compromise, we needed to improve our thesis. Because we all agreed with the need for a new thesis, we were willing to let go of individual ideas in order to organize a “shared vision” and submerge our egos, for the most part.

2.    If you think of leadership as an activity (not only as a characteristic), describe when you were trying to lead.  What strategies did you use and were they effective.  Describe a moment when someone else in your group showed strong leadership.

        For me, leadership came in the form of recognizing that one of my group mate’s shared my anxiety, and the tendency to control situations, which meant that I had to relinquish my place in order to facilitate collaboration. I must admit it was a relief to share the weight of the project with everyone equally. Rachel showed strong leadership when she emailed the group an outline of what we had already done and what we still had to figure out. It was her way of providing “timely, needed input that moved the group toward greater growth.” From that email we were able to write a collaborative summary and visual essay that we are all very proud of.

3.    Looking at the “Commitments to Self” and “Commitments to Group” sections of the “Creative Collaboration” sheet, what were your greatest challenges in being a part of this group?

         Even though I would have loved to have taken a bigger role in the actual photographing, I saw that there was another student with more talent than I, and I let her take the lead in that area. I decided that I could be more helpful to the group’s progress by offering to put together the final written product. I knew that with the help of Rachel’s thorough outline, I could create a clear written summary of our essay. Rachel and I were also able to see how we could create an effective communication style by “skyping” the weekend before the project was due, in order to complete our part of the collaborative project. The greatest challenge for me, and I know for others in the group, was to accept that no one person needed to “completely control the outcome” of our group’s project and to embrace the ideas that all the pieces would fit together in the end to complete the puzzle.  We had to be “willing to be surprised and delighted by unexpected discovery.”
 I look forward to more collaborative projects. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hip-Hop Beyond Beats and Rhymes

I know little about "Hip- Hop Beyond Beats and Rhymes," aside from the fact that a chapter of the movie is called "Women and Bitches." First of all, the label right off the bat offends me, but i do have some insight to the correlations between the hip-hop culture and women, or "bitches," a commonly used reference to women and girls.  I interpret "and" in the title:"Women and Bitches" to take the place of "verse" (Women vs. Bitches) because these two words are completely conflicting with one another. When i think women, i think sensible, mature, the gender: female and respected. "Bitches" are those who lack all these qualities, yet why do we hear the term "bitches" replacing "women" as the more common word for the female gender in too many cases. Ms. Mondie gave me insight, through her poem, of the exploitation of women, especially black women, through slavery and how they are still being exploited in modern day america, but the tables have turned. Instead of slave owners, their are "rappers," who give themselves what they feel are justifiable excuses for why it is okay to devalue women in their lyrics. I thought hip-hop was all about changing the norm in a fresh way with fun and liberated lyrics? Why is it that women can still be considered "bitches" and "hoes" by the opposite gender and it be acceptable? It is hard enough for women to receive equality in this world and depreciating the female gender through rap lyrics only sabotages the ability for women to be taken seriously and be seen for more than a "bitch that should get out of the way," a statement that Ludicrous emphasizes in his song "Move Bitch."There are a wide range of people who listen to Rap/ Hip-Hop music. Unfortunately, among these people are young kids. Children hear the lyrics and it brainwashes them to think that what they hear is the truth, but what they hear is a lot of times in this genre of music is awful and against the morals that are expected of in these young, liberated generations (including mine).

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Right now, one of my favorite literary works is a book of monologue written by Eve Ensler called "I Am an Emotional Creature." It's a favorite because it focuses on the topic of women, but in particular the struggles of being a teen age girl. Although Eve Ensler wrote these monologues, she is not the only author of these stories. Other "authors" of this book include all of the young girls and women whom Eve has met. She hears life stories from girls from around the world when she is traveling as a women's activist then, she is able to use her passion and literary talent to help these girls share their stories, amplify their voices, and speak their minds. When I read the monologues, I don't think, "what did Eve Ensler want me to feel or to recognize when reading this monologue?" (a question that students are often told to ask ourselves) I think about the girl who is telling the story and how connected I feel to her and especially to her pain. She might be a 13 year old girl, being forced to undergo female genital mutilation in the Congo, or an Iranian teenager who is tricked into a nose job by her own parents so she may be "pretty;" either way their situations don't alway resemble my own, but have an impact on my understanding and perception of other women around the world. These stories are written in such a way that the girls are the primary authors. They are their stories put into the form of passionate monologues by a passionate woman. It is also my story; I am an "author." I feel so odd saying that, but based on today's class on "authorship," I am an author because I am the reader, and I have my own special perceptions and feelings that may or may not be like what the girls mean or feel by their stories, or what Eve means to get across, but it is my personal insight, something that belongs to me and something that over which I have total, free creative license.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Comparing the viewpoints of Leroi with those of Goodman

          Goodman took an article written by two men, Leroi and Thomas, and used their "errors" to produce his concept for the lack of the need for the concept of race to exist. First of all, I do not blame Goodman for showing resentment of Leroi in his article. Leroi sarcastically joked about Goodman's field, anthropology, and the men who make it up. One thing that I came across when comparing the articles of these men was that Goodman found that Leroi's views on why race is useful in the medical field was erroneous. Leroi believes that there is not enough precision in the medical field to understand why certain "races" are more vulnerable to certain diseases, like sickle cell traits, and others are not. He says that because we don't have the precision to categorize people in a better way, it is important to show that the "black race" is more prone to certain diseases, or not as responsive to certain medications because that is what is shown. Goodman argues that Leroi's views are incorrect.
Goodman says, "Why do some individuals have sickle cell trait? Is it because of their race?” The answer to this question is clearly “no.” Race is a poor explanation for the distribution of sickle cell trait, which occurs in high frequencies only in particular regions of Africa while also occurring in high frequencies in parts of Asia and Europe"( 
It is not accurate to categorize "Sickle cell traits" as a "black race" trait because the people that get sickle cell anemia lived in certain places under the same conditions and then passed their genetic material on. Although Sickle cell traits are found at a high rate in Africa, those same traits can also be found at a high rate in Europe and Asia, "which were considered "non black" race countries. Goodman feels that the use of "race" is harmful and that Leroi is making excuses for the continuation of a word, even though modern genetics does not prove that there are different races. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Commentary of the "Tenth Ehing Everyone Should Know About Race"


10. Colorblindness will not end racism. Pretending race doesn't exist is not the same as creating equality. Race is more than stereotypes and individual prejudice. To combat racism, we need to identify and remedy social policies and institutional practices that advantage some groups at the expense of others.

Race is a highly controversial and everyday I feel like I am hearing a new perception of what race means to another person; therefore, I am not always sure on whether I agree or disagree with a statement concerning race/racism. Out of the 10 passages in the article “Ten Thing Everyone Should Know About Race,” it was the tenth passage that I found most intriguing. I like that I understand its meaning and that it highlights on the idea that official establishment’s and “social policies” advantage certain groups, effecting others negatively or like the passage says, “at the expense of others.”  I highly agree. First of all, I interpreted these “advantaged groups” as whites, causations or however you prefer to label this group of people. It’s not only my own opinion, but something that can be statistically proven.
In the United States the president is put on a pedestal above all others. Until, 2008, when Barack Obama was elected president the position had been filled by a white male and this is dating back to the beginning of George Washington’s administration in the late 1700’s. If it is white males that dominate the United States government, it is natural that all policies, especially those that effect minority races in the United States, have been made with the self-interest of the people making the decisions. It is my hope that the conflict of racism is starting to become identified, by modern education. A great example is the high school class I am in. Only in a highly liberal private school could you find a class like Race and Gender, which takes a group of high school students to “identify and remedy” contentious topics such as race. Also, the presidency of a half black, half white American is a concept that I fell should be lenient, but I am what is called “new school.” I am much more open-minded than the generations before mine. This is so because tolerance has grown in the modern time. We have internet, media, telephones, ect, people are less sheltered, more aware of what is going on in the world and the others that make up this world. We are at the identifying point of the matter it is up to my generation and the ones to follow to “remedy” the issues and the policies that are now outdated by our government. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Designing My Blog

I am so excited about the outcome of my blog! My idea for this blog was to give it a look that is inviting. When i saw the jelly-bean background, not only was it super cool, but it also depicted the feeling that i want people to get when viewing my blog. The subject of Race and Gender is one that i find quite touchy; therefore, i feel that i need people to know that i am a positive, mostly optimistic person who has her own opinions, but does not objective to the opinions of others. In other words, I'm open. I think that the colorful background helps me express myself in this way. Also, the jelly-beans are meant to be symbolic of the vast range of people in this world, different colors, shapes, sizes, tastes etc. I feel that this is appropriate considering it is a blog dedicated to the topic of race and gender.
I decided to give my blog the title, "everybody has a race and gender" because this statement gives a taste of what my blog will offer, but it also makes the reader really deliberate on the meaning of this statement. For the title, i used a font called "Impact" because for one, i want this blog to impact, or affect its readers, but also the font made my blog look a bit more serious. Speaking of serious, i decided to give my inner background a black fade. The lack of color will help to emphasize the posts themselves and it again touches upon the fact that this is a serious topic and it is not something that i take lightly. What is ironic about this blog is that despite the boldness and life invested in its design, i, the writer, am quite insecure and timid about my writing. I am hoping that through this blog i will become a more confident and bold writer, who is able to touch upon race and gender topics that are most interesting and important to me, but also the ones that force me to reach outside my comfort level. We shall see..

Cococola ;)