Sunday, February 27, 2011

Harsh Realities Finds Transgender Youth Face Extreme Harassment in School

I was shocked in reading this article at the amount of people who are affected by harassment in schools because they are transgendered.  I have heard a lot about gay, lesbian and bisexual harassment but I feel that transgender issues fly under the radar.  Over 90% of transgender students hear derogatory remarks in the school system.  This is ridiculous to me because that means that in almost every class that student has to attend, there is someone there to basically make fun and torture them.  Almost half of transgender students skip class or miss school just because they are uncomfortable in their classroom.  I don’t understand why nothing is being done to help these students.  Even though most students can confide in at least one person, only a third could find more than one supporter in the entire school.  How can, in a school of hundreds of people, a student only have one person to talk to.  That means that they are hiding from everyone else in hopes that they don’t get made fun or get bullied that day.  The saddest part is that half of the students who are bullied don’t report it because they feel that the situation is not addressed anyway. 
The most shocking part of the whole article, however, is that only one out of five sees a teacher step in when a situation occurs. How can only one situation be addressed and four are overlooked.  For the problem to get better we all must realize that no one is the same as anyone else.  We all have to accept each other and stop comparing one person to the “norm.”

This 14-year old boy, who is gay, spoke out on Ellen DeGeneres on behalf of his teacher who asked a student to leave the room for harassing another student for being gay.  His excitement over this one teacher actually standing up for GLBT students shocked me.  I applauded his courage for standing up and defending his teacher, but at the same time, I was shocked that this doesn’t happen more.  If there are many GLBT students in a school system and they are facing well over 50% of harassment, why are there not more cases of teachers jumping in and speaking out?  It really caused me to feel a mix of emotions.

Lastly, I think that the reason so many problems are started revolving around transgender people is that from the moment we are born we realize that there is male and female.  If you are male, you are treated like you are male.  Same for a female.  This article shows how no matter what age you are, if you are treated for being a person instead of being gay or lesbian or male or female then each person can live without being worried about harassment and bullies at school.

If everyone could just start treating others they way that they want to be treated, then I believe our school system would be a better place for students to go and learn, instead of go to be made fun of.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Richard Rodriguez’s Aria

Argument: Richard Rodriguez argues that there is a loss of individuality, particularly in children, when forced to assimilate into a public society.

Forcing a child to learn and use a language that is not their native tongue is extremely hard on every aspect of that child’s life.  The first and most obvious is when the child goes to school.  They are immediately classified as needing special assistance in order to catch up on the language that they missed out on.  They are constantly corrected by others which makes them self conscious and in turn very shy when it comes to socializing with others.  Being afraid to talk out only hurts the child more because then they don’t get to practice the language that they need help with.  When a child can’t master English, they are looked at as not being able to survive in society.  This is hard for the child to accept because they already feel like an outcast and know the rest of their life is being judged.  They are confused due to the fact that they don’t understand everything that people are saying around them and just want to feel the safety and comfort of their own language at home. 

When the language at home is different from the school system it also makes life hard for the child.  In Rodriguez’s argument he shows that it is hardest at two separate times in the child’s life.  The first is when the family as a whole makes a switch to the new language.  The child feels more confused because the safety of their native language is gone.  All they hear is the foreignness of people talking around them.  They want comfort but can’t find it.  The second part is when the child eventually passes the knowledge of their parents.  This is hard on the child because then they are forced to use their new language but also some of their old language to translate things their parents don’t understand.  The switch between the two can bring back the same feeling of discomfort for the child, and then the parents are left with the confusion and dissatisfaction of themselves.

Children often follow patterns of learning English as a second language.  As shown in this article, people usually make errors in trying to learn the new language.  When they make these errors they may become ashame and fall into a time of refusing to talk at all in this new language.  After that, they become able to speak alittle bit of both languages by using both to make sentences.  Once English is fluent for the person, they then begin to lose alittle of that native tongue.  These steps are explain by the ASLHS and demonstrated by Rodriguez's story.

Comments: I think that this article really shows the back side to the story.  When children in school seem to be acting out and not willing to learn the basics to switch languages, they really just want someone to confide in.  It would be easier if they felt comfortable to express themselves even if they were wrong.  It would allow most students to be a little more outspoken, which could potentially be brought home for their parents to learn as well.

Hahahaha....this made me laugh.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Peggy McIntosh’s White Privilege

Peggy McIntosh's White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
Choose three quotes and explain what they mean.

Quote #1:
“Whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege.” Pg 1
This shows that in schools, careers, and communities, whites do not acknowledge the culture of power.  Whites are not told explicitly that they are following a particular code that others are judged for not knowing. When those who are not white do something that does not follow the specific code, then they are looked at as being rude or disrespectful.  Same goes for men.  When a person wants to speak to someone in charge of a business, they tend to speak to a male.  Men do not know that they are following this code, but women can see it clearly.  Men acknowledge that women don’t get the same rights, but they do not think that they have a more privileged life.  Whites and males act the same in the aspect of seeing wrong, but not understanding that they are part of the group that has more ‘power’.

Quote #2:
“Whiteness protected me from many kinds of hostility, distress, and violence.” Pg 4
Being born to the culture of power allows a person to feel more comfortable in everyday life.  When a person goes to school or a job, if they are white they do not get looked upon as being an outsider.  They would not be harassed by classmates or teachers for having a different background.  A black person can go into a store and be followed by white employees because they are thought of as going to steal.  Being white protects a person from the feeling of being watched or followed.  It shows that a white person has less to worry about when out in the world.

Quote #3:
“Whites are taught to think of their lives as morally neutral, normative, and average, and also ideal, so that when we work to benefit other, this is seen as work that will allow ‘them’ to be more like ‘us’.” Pg 2
Peggy McIntosh makes a great argument with the quote about how whites believe that they are the ideal community.  She looks at herself to show how whites are taught to think early on in life.  One of the points was that a white person can open a newspaper or turn on the tv and see the white race being represented and it is considered normal.  Also, a white person can make bad choices and they don’t represent the whole group.  However, a person of color can make bad choices and then they are looked upon as the whole race is bad.  Whites unknowingly try to act as if they are average in the hopes that others will be like them but in reality everyone is different and can’t be represented by others.

I really liked the 26 points that Peggy McIntosh made because some of them I would have never thought of but they are totally true.  For example, I would not have thought that I could ignore the customs of someone of a different race and not feel any penalty for it(point #16).  I believe that her points hit all the main concerns in society like safety and credibility.  It also surprised me to read some of them because I found myself wondering why it was such a big deal, and then when I stepped back and relooked at it I found myself agreeing because only the white race thinks that way.