Sunday, March 22, 2015

Brown vs. Board of Education

I found this weeks assignment to be very interesting, and I really liked switching it up and watching some videos, reading a short article, and viewing a website! I enjoyed all three texts, and I feel that they all have a very similar argument. They all argued that racism is still present in our society today. They also argue that segregation is still present in schools, whether it is being done on purpose or not. I agree with both of these arguments, and I feel it is very important to bring these topics up. As Johnson says, it is important to say the words in order to address the problem. Racism is obviously still an issue today. As Wise says, just because we now have a black president doesn't mean that racism is completely solved. This is only a small step in solving the much bigger problem. As Wise said, people see educated blacks as an exception. Many people feel that blacks are less intelligent and more prone to crime. It is obvious to me that this isn't true, but this is definitely a problem in our society today.

When I was little, my mom used to read me a children's book about Ruby Bridges. Ruby was a young african american girl who went to a school of only whites not too long after segregation was ruled illegal. Every day, she was yelled at as she walked to school. White men and women of all ages gathered around the school each day awaiting her arrival so that they could yell mean things and even throw things at her. She would walk to school with a few security guards so that she would not be attacked by grown men and women who were extremely angry about the new rule. Although segregation and racism isn't as bad as it was back then, it definitely still exists. So may people opposed the desegregation of schools, and it is clear that there are still some people who feel this way today. It is very important to advocate for the desegregation of schools, as the article suggests, and over time, we can hopefully eliminate racism altogether.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

In the Service of What? by Kahne and Westheimer


"As Lawrence Cremin explains, these educators believed that, by manipulating the school curriculum, they could ultimately change the world" (4). 

This quote clearly states that some educators believe that service learning can cause change in the world. In our FNED class, I believe that our service learning projects are helping us to look at things differently. We are all working at very diverse schools with many low income students, bilingual students, IEP students, etc. It is great for us because not only are these kids learning from us, but also we are learning from them. I feel that working with these students opens up our minds and helps us learn how to help people while also allowing them to help us as well. If everyone participated in projects like this, then maybe we could ultimately change the world.

"Unfortunately, in many service activities, students view those they serve as clients rather than as a resource" (7). 

After thinking about it, I realized how true this quote is. In the past, I used to do community service just because I had to. There is a golf course right behind my house, and my eighth grade community service project was to give the golfers water and lemonade when they drove by. I sat outside all day with a cooler full of water and lemonade and I gave them out to golfers as they passed by. I didn't learn anything from the project at all. I talked to a few golfers, but they didn't really teach me anything. And although they obviously appreciated the water, it was clear that they didn't really need my help. I only did this project because I had to do something, and it was the easiest thing for me to do at the time.

I didn't realize that community service is more than that until I volunteered at Camp Sunshine. Camp Sunshine is a free camp run by volunteers for children with terminal diseases and their families. My mother suggested that we volunteer, and I decided that I would, as I like working with kids anyways, and I also needed community service hours for school. By the end of the experience, however, I had forgotten about the school hours. To me, the trip was about making bonds with kids who needed me most. I learned so much from these kids and their families about perseverance especially, but also just about simple things like happiness and love. Being able to help these kids was a privilege to me, and it made me a better person. It is so important to view those you serve as a resource, someone you can learn from. (If anyone wants to volunteer at Camp Sunshine, I really recommend it! I might be going again this summer. If you're interested, definitely talk to me!)

"In addition to helping those they serve, such service learning activities seek to promote students' self esteem, to develop higher-order thinking skills, to make use of multiple abilities, and to provide authentic learning experiences - all goals of current curriculum reform efforts" (2). 

This quote explains the importance of service learning in the eyes of the one doing the service. There are so many benefits to helping others in a service project. Community service is about helping others, but it is also about learning from these people and becoming a better person because of it. There are so many benefits to the service learning program, and I am continuously seeing this as I continue my work at Mt. Pleasant High School.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Unlearning the Myths that Bind Us by Linda Christiansen


Like most people of my generation, I grew up watching lots of cartoons and Disney movies especially. As I have gotten older and I have re-watched them, however, I have started to see that they all have some pretty big faults. Cinderella and Aladdin were my two favorite Disney movies when I was a kid, and I used to watch them over and over again. Both of those movies may have influenced the way I am today.

One of my friends is reading the original story of Aladdin for her literature class. When she was telling me about it, I was very surprised to find out that the original story of Aladdin did not take place in the Middle East at all. The original story of Aladdin actually took place in China. To make sure this information was accurate, I looked it up, and indeed, the original story of Aladdin was Chinese. Why Disney decided to change the story to take place in the Middle East is beyond me. 

After looking up the origins of the Aladdin story, I was also very curious about the origins of Cinderella. I know that the Disney version was based off of the tale by the Grimm Brothers, but the original story was actually written in China as well, and takes place there. However, there have been more than five hundred versions of the story found in many different countries and cultures, so the fact that anyone would complain about a black Cinderella is ridiculous. Disney could of chosen to make Cinderella a person of color if they’d wanted to, but they did not.

For more race-bent princesses click here

The multicultural issue is obviously not the only thing wrong with Disney, as the reading explains. There are huge gender issues as well, both in heroes and in villains. The men are always made to be handsome, strong and smart, and the women are always dainty and beautiful. The villains are surprisingly mostly women, and I liked how the reading explained them as “…mean because they are losing their looks” (130). Too much of Disney’s concepts seem to be about looks, and they portray beauty the same way each time. I have never seen a plus size Disney princess, for instance. Disney is a huge follower of SCWAAMP, as they idealize straightness, whiteness, and maleness.

To end my post, I am going to say that Disney’s newer movies are making improvements. Brave features a girl who doesn’t want to find a prince, Frozen focuses on two sisters (I still haven’t seen it but am just going off of what I’ve heard!), and The Princess and the Frog features an African American prince and princess. However, there is still a lot of progress that could be made.