Sunday, February 27, 2011

We're Here, We're Queer, Get Use To It!!!!! :-)

So looking around the GLSEN website I found a ton of facts and statistics about LBGT students in schools, facing bullying and harassment all around the country. Some facts include: 84.6% of LBGT students were verbally harassed, 61.1% of students felt unsafe at school, and that the GPA of students being harassed for their sexuality or gender expression was almost a half a grade below average. So as a new generation of educators, this is kind of scary and completely outrageous. How can a student learn if they are being tormented in schools?

Moving on, I decided to check on the GLSEN blog where I read up a few foundations and alliances that support the LBGT community. I learned that there’s an organization called the” It Gets Better Project” that sets out to make a difference in LBGT student’s lives by providing countless videos of previous LBGT students who have survived the horrors of high school and prove that life really does get better. The organization was started by Dan Savage and his partner in September of 2010 with their own video I have linked below. I watched in and can honestly say its truly inspiring.

I also leafed through the media center and looked through some articles. Deciding to go back in time to a period when I was too concerned with cat dog and rug rats to care about the grown up world around me, I explored some articles from 2001. Conveniently I happened upon concerning the brutal death of Matthew Sheppard who was beaten, lashed to a fence, and left for death in Laramie prairie, Wyoming. I have a small personal connection with this event because a couple of years ago my old high school’s masqueraders club performed The Laramie Project, a play that depicts the events of Matthew Sheppard’s life. The Westboro Baptist church, which is known for its radical views and protests on homosexuality frequently protests this play and one of the reverends was actually going to show up at the high school with signs that said “God hates fags.” But he got the wrong date to the performance. He posted on the church website something along the lines of Bristol and Warren are full of fag lovers and will burn in hell. Here I know from first hand experience, the danger that lies out there and why the statistics are so high. When communities can have such homophobic/ hate filled people in them that helps fuel the injustice it really is hard for LBGT students and the community as a whole. Overall I found the site really eye opening and interesting. I had no idea it existed. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Multicultural Compromise

In “Aria,” Richard Rodriguez argues that encouragement of the conformity of a single public language leads to a sacrifice of the personal identity for a public identity.  
Through Rodriguez’s personal experiences of his own childhood adaptation he conveys his main argument that schools that force children to speak English steal the child’s identify. American citizens of a different nationality and race shouldn’t have to lose a part of themselves in order to fit into society. By being forced to speak English at home rather than Spanish, the young Rodriguez lost the closeness with his family as well as lost a part of himself. But can this point really be argued? In theory, his family came to this country, so shouldn’t they be expected to learn the native language? The same thing would happen if I moved to Italy, I would be expected to learn Italian. Sure, people are bi lingual and I wouldn’t be completely lost but isn’t it courteous of people to learn whatever language is accepted in whatever country they are in. 
Now I’m not saying I don’t fully agree with Rodriguez’s piece. There is a sacrifices of individuality, but not all situations are like this. Most of the people in my town speak Portuguese and English, and the Portuguese culture is still celebrated. The town and local Portuguese churches hold festivals multiple times a year and there are ethnic shops and other establishments. Sure, Portuguese children go to school and are taught in English, but that doesn’t mean they lose all of their culture. 
I do agree with Rodriguez that it is easier for the upper middle class to learn other languages like French and Spanish. I believe they should have to, ideally that would somewhat change the public’s view of language and create a new bi-lingual atmosphere over time. Today more so than any other time in American history there seems to be more integrating of languages, whether it be automatic telephone operators telling us to press one for Spanish or the multi-language instruction manuals in a box of hair dye. If we were more open minded to experiencing other languages, people who use English as a second language would probably feel more compelled to be apart of society; and maybe even the culture of power would expand too. 
Others feel as though having a set primary language allows immigrants to share a “common core” and expand American culture. Which leads to me to ask, is Rodriquez being selfish here? On the flip side of losing an individual identify for a public one is he being disrespectful not somewhat embracing being American? I’m all for individualism, but why can’t there be a balance? Why can’t we speak English in school but treat Spanish and French as welcomed languages as well? That way we have both cultures, that way no one is left out and feels as though they still have themselves in a public. We all have to make compromises in society as much as I hate to admit it. Its frown upon to run around naked, so we cover ourselves in clothing. But we don’t all wear the same shirt and pants, we find our own style and make ourselves. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Amazing Grace Reflections

Throughout reading  Amazing Grace by Jonathan Kozol I couldn’t help but draw parallels from the people he wrote about and myself. Although I didn’t grow up in a place anywhere near to how bad as Mott Haven, I did experience a childhood dipped in drugs. My parent’s were heroin addicts while I was growing up and I lived with them and my great grandparents. They would sell my video games, movies, cds, anything that could give them a couple of bucks in order to get their fix. However, compared to the text my life was a cake walk. I never had to physically see my parent’s shooting up, although it was obvious enough to me at a young age that they were unlike my friend’s parents, and that something was wrong.
Like the children of Mott Haven, I experienced a dismal depression, and grew up too fast. I was able to hold onto my blissful ignorance longer than children such as Cliffie though because my town was of a middle class stature. I greatly feel that the area of which you grow up in really impacts your life and the person you are. In harder areas, such as the Bronx and Mott Haven, children cannot escape the darkness that surrounds them. Its in their play grounds, on the streets, and at every corner. At least I had the chance to get away and go over a friend’s house or walk around my neighborhood without the constant reminder of how bad my home life was.
This piece just goes to show that people really adapt to their surroundings. The fact that young Cliffie was able to walk around the slums of his city and still seem chipper is inspiring; especiually considering ho w many childern in his area as well as the United states experiences depression. But the fact that his childhood is tainted by the world around him is utterly depressing. I can’t help but wonder where young Cliffie is today and how his life as progressed.
Overall, I can’t help but wonder how the government could let a section of the country get as bad as this. Isn’t there any regulations or laws against prostitution in these areas? Shouldn’t all the drug dealers be arrested? Its not like they’re in hiding, they most likely have drugs on them and could easily be put away for dealing. Who decided it was ok to abandon poverty stricken areas and deem them as wastelands. Is there even a way to help fix up these disease and poverty stricken areas?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Blog Test/ A quick look at me

Hello poppets!

I'm Heather, and welcome to my blog. I'm an English/ secondary ed major who can't spell and loves penguins, reading, and doing random stuff. By day i am your typical college student, but by night i transform into Spongebob! Yes, i am a burger flipper at my local Wendy's, well technically I'm a shift manager now. I was marching band flag instructor at my high school my senior year so I got to teach people how to hit pedestrians with a five foot metal pole. I enjoy long walks on the beach, iced tea, and cheese, lots and lots of cheese. Coffee is my vice, i can honestly say I'm addicted. I am also the proud owner of the world's cutest cat in the world, hands down. His name is Rin (left) and i heart him ever so dearly.I also love creative people, and experiencing they're interesting-ness. I like to make lists of interesting things. For example, i have a list of jobs i'd love to have such as hair color namer and team mascot. Hmmmm what else to write. Oh! I just discovered that my life long dream could possibly become a reality.

You see.

Theres this thing that people do called Flash mobbing, which is when a bunch of people who have rehearsed and whatnot all show up at planned location  full of people secretly, like a bus station or super market, and somehow get music to play over intercom and all just randomly break into perfect song and dance (bellow.) I've always wanted to do that so i figured if the whole college education doesn't work i can go commit my life to sporadic entertainment.

I also am obsessed with penguins and Lady Gaga. In fact, if she wore a penguin costume i'm pretty sure i'd have to start a Gaga cult, no I'm totally kidding. Thats just unhealthy. I did however learn the Bad Romance dance and perform it at my Senior prom.

Well i guess this is a pretty solid intro, hope you guys had as much fun reading it as i did writing it. Ciao!

Sound of Music | Central Station Antwerp (Belgium)