Saturday, February 26, 2011

GLSEN: Victimization of Students


I read an article on the GLSEN website entitled

Shared Differences Examines LGBT Students of Color Experiences in School

by Elizabeth M. Diaz
Joseph G. Kosciw, Ph.D.

This article really raised the issue of the victimization of students "who identify as people of color and LGBT" (personally I do not like the way that is explained a person of color, are they blue?) I feel that this is so important because bullying in these cases doesn't have to be just about sexual orientation, but could also be about race now too. 

This author raises the issue of just simple bullying because of race: 

  • More than half of African American/Black, Latino/a, Asian/Pacific Islander, and multiracial students also reported verbal harassment in school based on their race or ethnicity. Native American students (43%) were less likely than other students to report experiencing racially motivated verbal harassment.

  • Then bullying because of sexual orientation:

  • Across all groups, sexual orientation and gender expression were the most common reasons LGBT students of color reported feeling unsafe in school. More than four out of five students, within each racial/ethnic group, reported verbal harassment in school because of sexual orientation and about two-thirds because of gender expression. At least a third of each group reported physical violence in school because of sexual orientation.

  • That strikes me in that statement is the PHYSICAL VIOLENCE. In this article, students reflect the death a student who was shot in 2008 for expressing himself by wearing woman's makeup and accessories. This article was posted a few days ago yet some people had no idea about this student being killed in 2008. It amazes me the violence that could come from one person onto someone with a different sexual orientation FOR NO REASON. He didn't do anything to the boy that shot him, yet was bullied for his sexual orientation. How can any student feel safe in the school with something happening like that? This article is about raising awareness through the death of this student and making people aware of the crimes committed against NORMAL people...and they are different than you and I. This article relates to the GLSEN article because the author of GLSEN says how violence occurs in most bullying. The violence can clearly lead to death.

    I came across this video on youtube and realized, the bullying doesn't have to just be coming from students, but the school faculty can also discriminate against those of different sexual orientation. In the video above, this young girl Charlene was revoked from going to a special Honor's retreat because a teacher had said she shouldn't go because she was a lesbian. Bullying is defined as a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people. This teacher intimidated her into thinking she had no power. She couldn't go, but she stood up for herself and fought because clearly this wasn't right.  This video relates to the GLSEN article because she is a different race and treated so unfairly for her sexual orientation. She loved her girlfriend, so she thought it was alright to be affectionate the way that any other person would be. She was picked on in the same way that the stats of GLSEN had stated. The author would have used her in the study that was taken.

    I'd like to talk in class about the different ways people can be bullied, not just by students but by faculty members and teachers. I'd like to talk about ways to avoid these problems and how to handle situations when you witness bullying.

    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    Los Gringos

    The article that inspired this blog was called Aria by Richard Rodriguez

    A little background for those who are not in our FNED class and read this blog posting, a young man with Spanish roots talks about how challenging it was being in a Catholic school where his language wasn't accepted or "public". He explains how him (and the rest of his family including his parents) were asked by the nun-teachers to speak English in the home.


    1.) "Those gringo sounds they uttered startled me. Pushed me away. In that moment of trivial misunderstanding and profound insight, I felt my throat twisted by unsounded grief"

    Richard is hearing his parents speak English when he states this quote. It shows how he is being pushed away from everything he has grown up with, everything that he has learned and everything that he has come to know. Speaking his native language gives him comfort and piece of mind. Richard didn't ever want to speak the gringo language because it wasn't comfortable for him. Going home was his sanctuary, he looked forward to being home where his language was spoken. The nun's couldn't even call him by his REAL name of Ricardo--it had to be RICHARD. Who would ever enjoy going to school and being called someone else? I'd want to go home as quick as possible to hear my name properly. Now he comes home hearing the same language that he has to deal with everyday at school. I don't believe that Richard explains this in a negative way but he says this to show the changes in his life that were made to become more "public" in this society.

    2.) "One day in school I raised my hand to volunteer an answer. I spoke out in a loud voice. And I did not think it remarkable when the entire class understood. That day, I moved very far from the disadvantaged child I had been only days earlier. The belief, the calming assurance that I belonged in public, had at last taken hold."

    Richard had said this in the article to show the transition from being the secluded one to apart of the "public" culture dominant in his classroom. I like seeing that this was a calming assurance to him that he belonged in public. It took time for him to adjust and not be angry, and it was easier for him to adjust in a predominately white classroom but when he was supposed to go home it was much harder. Richard expresses his sadness with this quote:

    "My mother! My father! After English became my primary language, I no longer knew what words to use in addressing my parents. The old Spanish words (those tender accents of sound) I had used earlier-mama and papa--l couldn't use anymore. They would have been too painful reminders of how much had changed in my life."

    When he states this, I just felt so depressed thinking about how he basically has to change his heritage in order to commit to the Culture of Power in his classroom and in society. Delpit is correct in what she states about the culture of power being a code and can only be cracked if someone tells you about it. Richard didn't know how to succeed in his classroom or in this life because he didn't know English. Just that simple change of learning English, making that his primary language, he is starting to learn the code.

    3.) "But the bilingualists simplistically scorn the value and necessity of assimilation. They do not seem
    to realize that there are two ways a person is individualized. So they do not realize that while one suffers a diminished sense of private individuality by becoming assimilated into public society, such assimilation makes possible the achievement of public individuality.

    Richard specifically puts this at the end of the article because I think he isn't upset with the fact that he had to learn a new language. He is sad that his heritage wasn't accepted but he also knows that without assimilation or conforming, he wouldn't have achieved his individuality. He says that other bilingualists might not agree with him and might indeed hate having to conform and learn the ways of the white people that are teaching them, but Richard says that it was important for him to make an individual change.

    I like to Google image words to see what picture will pop up. This picture below was the first one for ASSIMILATION which according to Webster means: to bring into conformity with the customs, attitudes, etc., of a group, nation, or the like; adapt or adjust:
    (Granted this is German Assimilation but It gives a basic idea of assimilation in America)

    In class, I'd like to talk about people opinions about how the nun's handled talking to the parents. Did you think it was too much for them to ask the parents to speak English all the time in their own home? I believe it was a little extreme to do so. They can keep their heritage and help their kids learn English all in one. You're not bilingual if you only speak one language. I just think that he was more Americanized than he and his family needed to be.

    Saturday, February 12, 2011

    Amazing Grace, How Sweet The Sound

    This weeks readings were "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" by Peggy McIntosh and "Amazing Grace" by Jonathan Kozol.


    I read Amazing Grace first and the first thing I thought about was my trip to the Dominican Republic. The first time I went was in 2006 and then again in 2010. I go with a church group on a mission trip and we split into multiple teams: Two Building teams, Medical team, Teaching Team, Food Team, Evangelism Team, and Water Filtration Building team. This article reminds me so much of this trip. In the article by Kozol, their sanctuary is at this church St. Ann's Church. All around there is violence, drugs, prostitution, and hardships, but at this church there is relief, freedom and redemption.

    At the D.R., my team was a building team and we worked at Elsa's church in a very poor community. The church was fenced in and once we were in we weren't allowed to leave because we were told it was very unsafe outside of the church area. People would come and once inside the gates found safety. It seemed as though a way to escape from the reality of their life around them.

    I believe St. Ann's church also serves the people in a way that nothing else can. It gives them hope. Living in such hard conditions, they have nothing else to rely on but their faith.
    (St. Ann's Church)

    It's also funny that in the book Amazing Grace, this little boy names Cliffie gives her a tour and wants to show him EVERYTHING that is around. Cliffie is so positive even during the most negative areas. In the Dominican, I had a little boy name Bertico that became my best friend and wanted to show me everything that there was where he lived. He was living in a little house probably as big as a decently size bathroom on the property of the church. He had to stay in the house all day while his mother went to work. Someone would unlock the house and let him out and he would then take me all around the property telling me stories and take pictures with me.

    The patch that's on his head is because kids threw a rock at his head. It's amazing to see the conditions that they live in yet they have so much hope and happiness as children. I think that's exactly how Cliffie felt. He saw things that might disturb others (like Cliffie saying he saw someone get shot in the head) yet it didn't affect him at all. That really struck me.

    With the second article, by Peggy McIntosh, I did a lot of thinking. I am very privileged as a white person, yet I don't usually realize it. I tried to find an image that properly explained how "whites" are perceived as being "better" and this is what I found:

    This to me seems accurate in that we might not always assume the worst of a White Person because they are viewed as the upper class, yet this white man is going to get away with being the "gunman" cause he's white! This article made me really think about how I'm really not concerned about not being able to get an education, find a job, live in a nice neighborhood because it's always just happened to me. Is it because I'm white, privileged, or blessed? This article wasn't as interesting as the Amazing Grace one was for me, I could relate to things that I have seen more but this article certainly made me think of how easy life may have been made more me all because of my skin color and where I was born and raised.

    In class, I'd like to discuss what can be done about Mott Haven. The things that are happening I feel like can be changed so easily. Who are we to blame? How can this be fixed? It's also amazing that there is such a place in America. If there is such a place there has go be more in America. How can this cycle of poverty and drug addiction be broken.