Thursday, March 31, 2011

A good Movie

 This movie is EXCELLENT! According to "Its a story about Rizvan Kahn, a Muslim man from India, who moves to San Fransisco and lives with his brother and sister-in-law. Rizvan, who has Aspergers, falls in love with Mandira. Despite protests from his family they get married and start a small business together. They are happily married until September 11, 2001when attitudes toward Muslims undergo sea-change. When tragedy strikes, Mandira is devestated and they split. Rizvan is confused and very upset that the love of his life has left him. To win her back, he embarks on a touching and inspiring journey across America."

  This movie made everyone that I have shown as well as myself both laugh and cry throughout it. I feel it has a lot to do with class discussions because it brings up the overall topic of prejudice. In this case it is against the Muslim culture following the events of September 11. I realized after watching this how naive and ignorant I was to the Muslim culture. I recall people just generalizing all people who looked similar to Muslims or of Arab descent as "terrorists" or "towel heads". This movie brings up the difference between Hindu and Muslim because Mandira is Hindu and Kahn is Muslim. These differences were very significant to the characters as I am sure they are to people in real life, but it made me think of how ignorant the Americans were because I doubt many people knew the difference or even cared to find out. Please comment on my blog if you have seen this movie or if you watch it! I loved it so much and want to share it with everyone.

Brown vs. Board: Tim Wise: Bob Herbert


I mostly related this past weeks blog assignment to Delpit, Christensen, Kahne and Westheimer.

    From the Brown vs. Board of Education website I responded most to this quote
          "Past 50 years: Achieving Equality
                  Today, thanks in part to the victorious struggle in the Brown case, most Americans believe that a racially integrated, ethnically diverse society and educational system is a worthy goal, though they may disagree deeply about how to achieve it."
       This made me think of the concluding pages of Lisa Delpits piece Other People's Children. She states "The dilemma is not really in the debate over instructional methodology, but rather in communicating across cultures in addressing the more fundamental issue of power, of whose voice gets to be heard in determining what is best for poor children and children of color."(pg.46)
      I feel as though the quote from the Brown website states the issue that Delpit attempts to state as well as give a solution to that issue. Delpit speaks of issues that happen in everyday classrooms that is a result of Americans disagreeing deeply on how to achieve a racially integrated, ethnically diverse society and educational system. I interpreted Delpit's conclustion to this as being to understand the privileges you may have yourself (as a teacher) and then make sure that you are capable of putting your own beliefs on hold in order to "see yourself in the unflattering light of another's angry gaze."(pg.46-47) She says that this is not an easy thing to do "but it is the only way to learn what it might feel like to be someone else and the only way to start the dialogue."(pg. 47) She stresses the importance of really hearing someone else, understanding power differences and being unafraid to raise questions about discrimination and voicelessness. I think all of Lisa Delpits points relate and offer a solution to the statement/issue that the Brown vs. Board website brings up. We all want the same things we just need to not only learn how to achieve it but also agree on it. The problem seems to be that the culture of power was only looking for the answers within the culture of power. Rather, Delpit suggest that in order to figure out how to have a more racially integrated, ethnically diverse society and educational system then maybe the answers can be found by asking and hearing those who have been segregated how we can make them feel more accepted and equal in society.

      Watching the Tim Wise video's opened my eyes to many realities that I have not previously really have been aware of or thought of.
             "...but I just wanna make sure that we don't come to need black and brown folks to be like Obama and there by end up missing out on the potential a lot of folks of color who maybe don't have exactly that style but they also have an awful lot to offer
           This quote made me think a lot of Linda Christensen's Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us. Christensen says,"Our society's culture industry colonizes their(students) minds and teaches them how to act, live, and dream."(pg.126) I think both Christensen and Wise are trying to prevent these stereotypical judgments that society pushes on us daily from seeing the truth. If we are not aware of the truth,that there is a culture of power, and what roles we play in it and how it affects all people including ourselves then we will be blinded by media images, cartoons and fairy tales or even our own president. Tim Wise makes excellent points when he looks at our new "black" President Obama, he states,"...the fact that we can carve out exceptions for certain people of color that make us comfortable is not going to get us the whole way toward racial equity, its a start but we obviously therefore have a lot more to do." He is saying that yes President Obama is black and that is a start but in order for a black man to become President he has to not only fit into the predominantly "white culture of power" by way of speech, dress, etc. but he also has to go above and beyond the standards of what would be acceptable as a white president. We have had presidents in the past that are no way near as educated or refined as President Obama but they were elected because they had "white male privilege". Tim Wise is saying that if we only accept black people when they are exceptional and fit into the mold of "white America" than we are going to miss out on what all of those other people have to offer. I think the "culture of power" should be turned into the "cultures of power" and if we do not have one race or ethnicity superior than we could all benefit and grow. These prejudices are only slowing us down from being a successful planet as a whole. Tim Wise says we need a truly equal opportunity society not just individual. I think these same issues come up with Christensen's work because the same scenario has come up when people began to demand a black woman character to play the leading role in a Disney movie. This is exactly the same as the Obama situation because yes it is a step in the right direction that Disney now has a black Princess but as Christensen says, "they didn't challenge the class or underlying gender inequities that also characterize the lives of Cinderella, Ariel the Mermaid, and Snow White." So although there is a black President and now a black Disney Princess they still aspire to have all of the characteristics of the "white America culture of power". This makes Wise's fear a reality, that we think we are accepting other races but really we are missing out on what they have to offer by forcing them to conform to out culture in order to be successful.
                                                    (The video is only the first 2min of it, I think it is hysterical and relates directly to Tim Wise's point that as a black man, President Obama had to be super human in order to "white America"'s President. The sad part is, is that I think people really had these expectations of him. They figured if he is black and he made Presidency then he must really be awesome enough to fix ALL of our problems. I don't believe this type of pressure was not put on or expected of former President Bush.)
                                                    Added on 4-9-2011: Just watched this video and instantly thought of comparing "our" expectations of ex President G.W.Bush with current President Obama.

                        When looking at Bob Herbert I strongly related him to Kahne and Westheimer's two ways of framing a Service Learning project: Charity and Change.
        Bob Herbert says, "If you really want to improve the education of poor children, you have to get them away from their learning environments that are smothered by poverty." He also states, "Studies have shown that it is not the race of the students that is significant, but rather the improved all - around environment of schools with better teachers, fewer classroom disruptions, pupils who are more engaged academically, parents who are more involved, and so on. The poorer students benefit from teh more affluent environment." I feel these directly relate to Delpit in the matter of when you place these poor children in these better environments then yes they are going to succeed because they are going to be taught the rules and codes of the culture of power. Although I feel this has a lot to do with Delpit, I connected it most to our discussions about Kahne and Westheimer's charity vs change. Bob Herbert looks into what he believes to be the root of the problem which is the environments that these poverty stricken children are being forced to learn in. He is basically saying that they are all being forced to attempt to "pull themselves up by their bootstraps" and there fore are failing to succeed. I feel that Herbert sees that if these schools and children are just given charities then those charities are going to run out and nothing is ever going to change. If you place Herbert's ideas into Kahne and Westheimer's charity vs change chart, the change would be the environment that these students are learning in.

       What I would like to discuss in class (I know this blog is late and we did discuss it a bit on 3/31/11) would be how do we figure out what the real root of the problem is and is it possible to really change it. I do agree that economic integration is very important no matter what race or ethnicity and I see that economic integration can lead to racial and ethnic integration as well. I just am not positive if that is the root of the issue.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

In the Service of What? The Politics of Service Learning by Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer

Blog about Emily O's Blog:

       I really enjoyed Emily's blog. She did the category hyperlinks and I feel she chose some really good images, articles and a video that helped me understand Kahne and Westheimer's article a lot better. I struggle reading this article due mostly to the vocabulary.
      Emily's blog starts out briefly describing what the article is about as well as relating it to her own service learning project. I agree with Emily when she says "Service learning greatly strengthens one's education and also self esteem just knowing that they have helped out other people." Like Emily, my VIPS project has really intrigued me so far. It has given me the opportunity to put what I learn in the classroom directly to use. This not only makes me feel good about myself because I am simply helping someone but it also makes me more confident putting this classroom knowledge to use and seeing it actually work. I am a very hands- on learner and my VIPS project has made me more comfortable in a classroom setting which has helped the children individually and will also help me once I graduate if I want to become a teacher. In this first paragraph Emily also states how service learning should be a requirement in order for all highschool students to graduate. I think this is an excellent idea for all highschool and college students so we have hands on experience as well as book knowledge when entering the work world.                                                                

         Emily's first link really helped me understand what service learning meant in a more factual way. I thought this link directly related and helped me a  great deal to fully understand what I am currently doing. Her second link I found a bit more interesting though. This link described what direct and indirect service was. This was also very informative and was a bit easier to read because the font was larger than the first link and it was in bullet format. I agree when Emily states that "direct service seems to be more effective to both the recipient and the person volunteering." I also feel it is more rewarding emotionally and motivates both the recipient and volunteer to continue learning or providing service learning better than the indirect service. Emily's last link was a video about academic outcomes through service learning. I actually watched this video first after I read the original article by Kahne and Westheimer. I did this because the article was such a struggle for me that I needed a visual stimulate to keep me motivated. I am very happy that Emily did post such a video that allowed me to continue to focus on my task at hand. I enjoyed seeing the outcomes, they made me more excited about what I am doing with VIPS and also made me realize how effective and positive service learning can be to both the individuals and the collective such as the community.

I added this video because it talks about the topic Emily mentions of service learning in highschools. This was the first video I directly posted so I hope it works!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us - by: Linda Christensen


    Linda Christensen argues that "Our society's culture industry colonizes their minds and teaches them how to act, live, and dream."

     Christensen argues that young society is manipulated early by things such as fairytales, cartoons, and toys. She then says that this early manipulations stays with those children into adulthood and the problem doesn't stop; it is in all media, advertising and surrounds us in our everyday life. Linda Christensen argues that analyzing these things can "develop their critical consciousness...(and) move them (the students analyzing) to action." She wants her students to not only critique these cartoons etc. but to also just become aware of the "secret education" and how powerful it really is. She first begins by asking the students to look at themselves and how it has affected them. She says that no one wants to believe that they have been manipulated but it is so obvious that they have. Once the students can become aware of these problems she then wants them to imagine a "better world, characterized by relationships of respect and equality." After looking at all of these issues in all media types, pulling out examples and relating it to everyday life, she then "create(s) the possibility for action." Once the students formed strong opinions about these issues they were able to create projects that could each about what they had learned. This made their projects real and meaningful, these issues are not just in the classroom they are in everyday life so this gave the students to opportunity to think about something, form an opinion and take action to try to make a difference. Linda Christensen makes the ultimate point, to not be manipulated and allow these stereotypes to become just accepted knowledge. In order to not do that she suggest becoming aware of the issues first and foremost, then analyzing them in order to form an opinion, and finally take action in order to create change. Linda Christensen made me believe that we can make a difference, don't just leave what you learn in the classroom - take it with you into the "real world".

      Adding to this post:

This video is kind of funny- it has mostly hidden messages that are sexual but I thought it went along with what Christensen is saying. I also realized that I used to watch these cartoons and would have never thought about these things as sexual but now I am more aware + also older and more knowledgeable.
I feel that Christensen can relate to Delpit because most of the time the subliminal messages are those of the culture of power. This "secret education" that Christensen talks about revolves greatly around subliminally teaching the rules and codes of power. I do not feel that Delpit would agree with how it is getting done nor do I think she would agree with most of the messages because although they may teach these rules and codes of power they mostly do not respect diversity or individual cultures that are not of the culture of power.
  What I would have liked to talk about in class is probably the fact that people do not want to admit that they are/ were influenced or manipulated in any way. I found it interesting how there was a mix in the class blogs where some seem to openly admit they felt influenced and others denied it.