Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hello everyone! I have decided to utilize this already developed blog in order to track my experiences through Spain this coming semester. I will try to blog as often as possible as well as post pictures!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hello there,
I had completely forgot to blog after Thursdays class and I was reminded by our discussion today in class. Our group is doing well as far as getting all our examples together. All our examples work well with our quotes we picked out. There are no problems in the group; we are doing well.

Monday, April 21, 2008

"What Can We Do?" By: Allan Johnson


Privilege and oppression
Problems vs. solutions
“tin cup” vs. “business case”
Everybody’s “hook” and nobody’s fault
Fluidity of social systems
Developing a sense of time constancy
Myth of no effect
Recognition of one’s own power
Attentive listening
Decentering oneself


Johnson argues that the structure of societies are not set in and stone and that they need to reshape their ways of viewing change and oppression in order to deter the patterns of “exclusion, rejection, privilege, harassment, discrimination, and violence.” He believes that not only is speaking the words is necessary; people must be courageous and be willing to step outside their comfort zone in order to implement change. Johnson stresses the fact that while one person might not be able to make a large impact, one person may act as a catalyst, instigating others to follow his or her passive, non-discriminatory ways.

· Johnson notes, “…we have to be willing to travels without knowing where we’re going.” He tries to reassure the reader that although sometimes walking blindly, not quite sure of one’s path or direction might be scary and intimidation, we have to have faith that we are doing what is right. We have to be able to counter the established system, not necessarily breaking it, but questioning, and ultimately weakening it.
· Johnson states, “When we dare ask core questions about who we are and how the world works, things happen that we can’t forsee. But they don’t happen unless we move, if only in our minds.” Here Johnson is explaining how true change will come about if people expand their way of thinking and viewing the world. We need to move to change.
· He states, “Social systems are also fluid…Because a system happens only as people participate in it, it cant help being a dynamic process of creation and re-creation from one moment to the next.” He is describing how despite the popular notion that is it fruitless to try to change a society’s ideals, societies, just like people, are subject to change. They shift based on the current and that current is influenced by the will of the people.

Questions/ Comments

Reading this article was extremely similar to the fist piece of his that we read in the beginning of the semester. As I was reading the article, I noticed that some of his metaphors are rather cliché. While sometimes insightful, I feel that some of the descriptions were over simplified. I liked reading about the “myth of no effect” because so many people have the mentality that one person is not going to make a difference but thinking in that way only deters change.

Monday, April 14, 2008

This site has some interesting material that questions the rights of people who are mentally retarded. The Glen Ridge case is mentioned in the article and I found the legal preceedings interesting to read about.
This site has a great review of "Our Guys" along with some other websites on the bottom of the page that have links to more articles regarding the Glen Ridge incident.
"Our Guys" by Bernard Lefkowitz

-sexual exploitation
-economic and family background
-peer pressure/desire to be cool
-inherited traits
-leaders vs. followers
-sexual desires/ fantasies/ realities/ abuse
-perfection/idols in society

Lefkowitz argues that the utopian-like town of Glen Ridge was home to seemingly perfect children with influential parents that made up the organized structure of the suburb. The highly praised and honored school athletes were so influential and manipulative among both the adults and other youth in the suburb. The incident involving Leslie Faber disrupted the seemingly perfect society and caused the morals of the youth of the town to be re-evaluated.

-Lefkowitz notes that Jack Scherzer's father had a unrealistic view of his sons. He notes, "Now with Jack, you might not want to criticize his boys. because he seemed to think that they were nearly perfect. But so did lots of fathers."
-Lefkowitz questions the integrity of the people and the town itself when he questions, "Why did such a thign happen? Why in this peaceful little town of all places? Why these young men, the most pampered and favored boys in a town filled with pampered kids? Crime or onot, what these celebrated young men of Glen Ridge has done was ugly."
-Lefkowitz notes that the "boy's behavoir has always been the town's best-kept secret." This is evidence of residents' of Glen Ridge desire to keep the reputation of the young men as pristine and pure as possible, neglecting to recognize the fact that the young athletes were abusive criminals.

Questions/ Comments
After reading this article I was thoroughly disgusted. To think that human beings can mercilessly carry out such activites and for noone to own up to their behavoirs is utterly sickening. What is even more disheartening is the fact that events like this happen on the same scale in areas all over the country. It is the nature of society that some people have power and privilege and others do not and this privilege is what allows criminals acts such as the Glen Ridge travesty to be disregarded and sought to be hid from the rest of the nation. This is eye- opening to the nature of the human mind and how wrong can mentally be warped to seem right and or normal. It was actually really scary to read.

Monday, April 7, 2008

"Whites Swim in Racial Preference" by Tim Wise


Development of Affirmative action throughout history
Cause and effects
Self- sufficiency

Wise argues that although affirmative action was supposedly instituted to equalize society and expand opportunities for subjugated peoples, the program further extends the already prominent privilege that whites benefit from. He believes that the people who struggled to become free from oppression are still not receiving equal treatment in the eyes of the government. Wise also believes that privilege is so ingrained in the minds of white people that its presence and effects are not even recognized.

· Wise states, “privilege, to us, is like water to the fish: invisible precisely because we can not imagine life without it.” Wise explains how this privilege is so prominent that whites forget it exists and proceed to complain about how people of color are given so many opportunities to succeed. What whites forget is that even with these opportunities people of color are given, the privilege that white people embody is still more powerful and effective.
· When discussing the point systems for entrance to different universities and colleges around the country, Wise notes that “even truly talented students of color will be unable to access those extra points simply because of where they live, their economic status and ultimately their race, which is intertwined with both.”
· Wise notes that white privilege is evident in the fact that even though affirmative action is in place to prevent discrimination in colleges and universities based on race, “whites are more likely than members of any other group—even with affirmative action in place—to get their first-choice school.

Questions/ Comments
After reading this article, I was taken back by the fact that the author assumes he is writing to a white audience. When talking about white privilege he talks about how people like “us” are blind to the privilege and that “privilege, to us, is like water to the fish.” What would make him assume such a position? Isn’t this racist in and of itself? As one would only see fitting, this article goes hand in hand with Peggy McIntosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” Unlike Wise, McIntosh does not assume that her readers are all white. Although she explains how she as a white woman views white privilege, she is careful not to group everyone together when she talks about privilege.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

“One More River to Cross” By: Charles Lawrence

Racial segregation and desegregation
Immediate impacts vs. long term impact
Rational vs. illegitimate
Intangible consideration
Feelings of inferiority
Scope of the remedy should not extend beyond the scope of the injury
De facto vs. de jure segregation
Taking into account the systematic nature of an injury
Accepting responsibility
Working to end segregation vs. letting it die a “natural death”

Lawrence argues that the Brown vs. Board of Education was not entirely effective in that it allowed the judiciary and society at large to ignore the actual issues of race and inequality in the world. He believes that due to society’s misconstrued and misunderstood way of viewing the issue of segregation, the eradication of segregation in public schools did not work to provide justice to blacks for the years of discriminatory labeling their people suffered; it was merely a band aide on a broken leg.

· Lawrence states, “if a court has found a school district to be guilty of segregating its schools, the injury derives not simply from the racial separation of students and teachers but from all extant forms of segregation or racial discrimination in which the state has played a part. The removal of any of those sources of injury becomes an appropriate remedy.” Lawrence describes how the effect of Brown vs. Board of Education did not work to “appropriately remedy” the issue of extant forms of segregation or racial discrimination.
· Lawrence states, “To change the racial demography of the school system is not enough. To spend more money, or change the curriculum, or the composition of the school board will likewise prove insufficient….Black children will remain ‘less qualified’ until we gain representative influence in both the institutions of preparation and the institutions for which they are being prepared.”
· Lawrence notes, “If Brown v. Board of Education stands for the unconstitutionality of segregation, then the Fourteenth Amendment must guarantee blacks the right to be free from the continuing force and effect of that institution, or it guarantees nothing.” By this statement, Lawrence is describing how the goal of Brown is useless if there are no follow up measures instituted to guarantee equality for blacks in the future.

Questions/ Comments:
Like I stated in my interpretation of the author’s argument, I believe that Lawrence is viewing Brown as a band aide that was put on a badly broken leg. Similar to Carlson’s advocating of normalizing society by giving everyone equal opportunities to reduce discrimination, Lawrence believes that the society needs to work to normalize the relations between whites and black in the effort to guarantee desegregation and anti-discrimination. I definitely agree with Lawrence’s argument because it is evident in today’s world that even though desegregation practices are the “norm,” people of color are still stigmatized in society and many do not have the same privileges that whites have. This is due to the government’s ways of handling the initial desegregation efforts. The effort on freeing blacks from the “continuing force” of discrimination was not concentrated on and therefore, still remains a problem today.