For those of you who were asking, the answer is yes, I will definitely make copies of my book, Queen Keesha, for anyone who wants one. It should be pretty easy (and cheap) to reproduce since the pages are printed in black and white. I wanted to thank everyone for the compliments! I really enjoyed creating it and I am going to dedicate it to everyone in the UACM program. Yes, Mariyah, I have been thinking about getting it published. My boyfriend, Bill, said he wants to spruce up the illustrations first.
I have learned sooooo much from all of you during the Maymester and I am exited about our next adventures together (although I will miss Dr.’s Williams very much). I hope all of you have a fantabulous week off!
Today we learned how to look at our own culture from an anthropological standpoint. The reading about the “Nacirema culture,” gave me a new perspective on how funny our culture may seem to outsiders. Unfortunately, I think we were a little bit drained today and did not add as much to the conversation as we could have…Sorry Brandon. The donuts and coffee helped seemed to perk us all up though. Thanks again Dr Williams!
The children’s books were AWESOME!!! We all have so many great ideas–forget teaching, let’s write books! Just kidding.
The exercise we did in class today was helpful in realizing that many of us have the answers to many of our own questions. Some of those ideas were brilliant.
I loved getting the opportunity to go to Stone Mountain Elementary and actually ask kids questions about school, especially kids who are going to urban schools. Going into the school gave me an idea as to who I am going to be teaching and what kind of environment I would be teaching in. The classrooms were bigger than expected and the children were a little smaller than I expected. They were very well behaved. I am so excited to start taking some methods courses and actually get in the classroom so that I can learn even more!
Time to finish up my Children’s book!
Todays discussion in class reminded me of when I was in third grade. My mother tried very hard to decipher the mysterious ways of the school system. She was a single parent and she had a very difficult time trying to remain involved and keeping up with the demands of her job as well. I still don’t see how she did it all. I recently asked her about the reasons I was not included in the “honors program” in elementary school which was called “Discovery.” She told me that she spoke with the administration several times and each time they said my test scores were too low and the program already had a maximum number of students. I remember having one reading test (probably the 8th day I was there) which was most likely the one they were referring to. Anyway, I was told by my third grade teacher that I was “average,” and I think this really hurt me throughout my school career and even my beginning years in college. Sometimes I did not take opportunities to challenge myself because I really did think of myself as average, which was neither good nor bad…but not that good. I really wish I could go back and put those teachers in their place. Who tells a child they are average? This just proves how damaging labels can be and it also goes along with the articles we read last night and what we learned about grouping students today. I want to be the teacher that finds something unique in every child. I hope that I will be that teacher that makes all of my students realize their worth and strive to reach their true potential.
It is unfortunate that Atlanta has almost completely lost the essence that Sweet Auburn Avenue once had. Seeing pictures of the trolleys that once strolled the city streets left me wanting to travel back it time to see what this part of Atlanta was really like. I wish it were still a major business place for entrepreneurs like it once was. It’s sad that desegregation actually caused people to abandon Auburn Avenue but thatnk God we are desegregated! Hopefully new development will not completely take away from the cultural and historical aspects of Sweet Auburn. If anyone has any free time, the APEX museum is a really great way to learn more about the history of Auburn Avenue.
When I went in the museum, I changed my mind about time travel and wanted to be right back in 2009. I was cringing every two seconds while watching the historical footage of blacks being treated so brutally. If they had not protested in a nonviolent way, they may have never been able to rise up above the ignorance of white people during that time. There was a saying about white mentality in one of the films that was quite interesting. In the South they don’t mind blacks being close as long as they don’t get big. In the North, they don’t mind how big they get as long as they aren’t close. That is so messed up.
I know there is still a huge inequality that everyone should be aware of but after what l saw today, I am so incredibly thankful that we have come so far as a nation. I love the fact that I can walk down Auburn Avenue and still get a friendly smile and usually a “hello” or “how are you” from most of the people I pass by. I love the fact that I attend a school in the heart of Atlanta being surrounded by a richness of different cultures. That is one thing I have always loved about living in Atlanta in the past (almost three) decades.
So, I honestly hope I didn’t offend anyone with my Ebonics in class today. I really appreciate Summer’s honesty when she said that if she did not know me she may be offended because she would think that I was trying to make fun of black people. I think she is absolutely right and that is why I would only speak this way with people who really know who I am and where I come from. I guess this could be considered a double standard though. Some black people only use Ebonics when they are around others who are using it and then others use it all the time because they are not bilingual. So, I guess if you can speak school language and Ebonics,you can only use Ebonics when it is appropriate or in certain situations? Today we learned that Ebonics really is considered a language which means that it holds a lot more power than it used to. Does that mean that anyone is allowed to speak it?
My sister and I have so much fun when we talk Ebonics and it is really not meant to make fun of anyone. We also use country accents and English accents and lately Indian accents. If we could pull off a scottish or Australian accent we would. We do find humor in talking many different ways but it mainly comes from an acting background when we would do skits and things like that. I appreciate Ebonics as a language and I find that it is quite fun to speak. I love the tones in the language and how they go from high to low. Language is like music to me and since I am a musical person, I try to find the beauty in all languages and dialects.
Thankfully after today I know how to handle these language issues when teaching. When I was in school, so many children would be reprimanded for speaking Ebonics. I am so glad that I won’t have to be one of those teachers who says whats right or wrong and I can just teach them that they can write or speak how they want as long as they know what is expected in school. I think some kids will think it’s cool to know that they know two languages. I hope that I can explain to them what “school language” is and why we use it with out giving them the idea that they must assimilate and lose that part of their own culture.
Although there are tons of topics that we discussed in class today, I think I was most affected by the chair demonstration. I had no idea that the 10% had that much money. I had no idea that we have no idea who they are. It made me feel somewhat cynical. Then, I remembered what the article by Christensen that we read last night. She feared that her students would learn all of these things and become cynical if there was nothing they could do about it. I definitely feel powerless, especially after Tasha mentioned that if there was an effort to stop it, the Richie Riches would have all of the resources to stop anything before it happened. I guess the point is to be aware and let other people know that instead of fighting with each other for a sliver of our 20%, we should really look at the bigger picture. Along with cynicism, I started to question Karma which is something I have always believed in strongly. I guess you could argue that we don’t know what their life is like. Just because they have almost all of the money in the world, that doesn’t mean they are happy. I could do SO MUCH if I had $350,000 right now. I’m not saying the money would buy happiness but I would definitely not be so worried about money all of the time.
I had several aha moments with the class discussion, the exercise in room 150 and especially the video. I often think that because I was born into a society that was predominantly black that I know some of what they are going through. I agreed with Bethany’s statement at the end of class and how she had a good childhood and could never imagine being born into a society that doesn’t really accept you or is skeptical of you just because you have darker skin. I did have a good overall childhood. Even though I was called “white girl” and made fun of by some of my black peers, I do not think that I was really affected because I had so many social norms that worked against the idea that I was inferior. It did not really belittle me because I knew that their were so many people that were behind me telling me that I was a good person and they were bad for making fun of me. I think it may be especially difficult now because everything is seen as okay and that we are past all of it, which invalidates the feelings of some. I have had so many instances when a friend has done something that hurt me or deceived me in some way and I have to admit, it took me a long time to get over certain things. Just think about the repercussions of our past. Will it ever go away?
While reading The Threat of Stereotyping article, there was one paragraph that I am questioning after today’s class. The reading states, “some research suggests a tendency for African Americans to be hyperaware of the negative expectations about their group and to considerably overestimate the extent to which the mainstream sees them as less intelligent and more likely to commit crimes and live off welfare.” These were not Aronsons’ words, he was quoting this from previous research. At first I thought it seemed to be true but after today I don’t feel the same way. He also stated that there is research that shows “half of white Americans endorse common stereotypes about blacks and latinos. Wouldn’t you be hyperaware and overestimate if you had a 50/50 chance that someone was endorsing a negative stereotype against you?
I am so glad that one of our rules is to have room to grow in this course. Please keep speaking up because I am learning so much from all of you.
In today’s discussion, I kept quiet on some points I could have made. I wanted to express my views on what we called “white-washing,” but I did not exactly know how to put it all into words. We definitely did not dive into the discussion of the second wave of immigrants as much as we discussed other topics. It’s funny how this happened in our class, just as it happens in public schools. Nell brought up a lot of the pionts that I was going to make about how we hardly ever talked about Eastern European immigration in school. She also brought up the fact that she kept quiet about her German ancestry because of negative associations, even though her ancestors had absolutely nothing to do with the Holocaust. I was going to make some of the same points because I am of German, Italian and Irish decent. I believe the majority of my ancesters came to America in this second wave of immigration and settled in the Midwest, most in Missouri. In class it seemed that people thought this immigration was easy for these people because they were able to get jobs and assimilate into the culture. I don’t believe this transition was as easy as we think. We learned about how these immigrants were taking the jobs that Americans did not want and were being forced to give up their cultures, however we did not discuss the main reasons they came to the US in the first place. In class, someone discussed how they thought these immigrants had a choice to come here in comparison with slaves who were shackled and forced to migrate. We tend to think that Eastern European immigrants had a comfortable ride to the Americas but that is far from the truth. Yes, you could say the Germans had a choice to come to America but it seemed to be their only hope for survival. Their country was becoming so impoverished from years of war with neighboring countries. Although it may not be seen as brutal as the slaveship voyage, the majority of migrants from Eastern Europe were piled into steamships and many died along the way. The Irish had a choice as well: stay in Ireland and die of starvation or go to America and work. The Italians? Same choice: stay in Italy and become suseptable to disease and not be able to feed your family or go to America to work? What would you choose? Then, when they got here, they were only able to work jobs that no one else wanted and many died because some of the work was so dangerous. They were all forced to give up their entire culture to assimilate which brings us to what we are today: white people. If I had learned more in Elementary and Highschool about the hardships my ancestors went through, maybe I would be able to better understand everything and not have been ashamed of my white ancestry. I always got the feeling that I had to have guilt because I have white skin, but I am almost positive that the majority if not all of my ancestors were part of this second wave of immigration who may have not had much to do with slavery at all. Still, I felt that in elementary and high school, especially in February, I was seen as a white person whose ancestors were cruel slave owners.
I would have written more this weekend but I had an incident that happened in my front yard. Someone hit a telephone pole right next to my driveway and my electricity was out for a couple of days. Apparently GA Power won’t touch any wires connected to the house. It is almost impossible to get an electrician to come after 6:00.
Anyway, Serenbe was all that I thought it would be and more! I am so glad that everyone had an opportunity to get to know each other and it was nice getting to know the faculty as well. I also learned a few things about myself. For some reason, I felt very nervous when speaking about my family and personal experiences. This is somewhat new to me because I am usually good at public speaking. There is so much more that I wanted to say, especially when sharing my identity box. So, since this is the space where I can communicate to all of you in a more comfortable atmosphere, I will try to open up a little more in this kind of format. I was thinking about joining a toastmaster’s group to help me get over this nervousness. I know this is something I will have to work on as a future teacher.
I had a great time with all of the people who stayed in the Lakehouse. Rachel and I, after a few glasses of wine, found out that we happened to go to the same high school and graduated in the same class! We all played Taboo and found that one of the teams had a significant amount of Blue personality types and the blues kept losing. What can I say? We think too much! The Oranges were super quick and I must say, they super fun to hang out with.
I know this program is “intense,” but it really seems as though the faculty knows exactly what they are doing. I have learned so much already and I am even more excited to see what is in store for us.