Sunday, September 29, 2013

"Aria" by Richard Rodriguez REFLECTION

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from all of the articles we have read so far it’s that white privilege is at the base of a lot of things.  As I read Aria by Richard Rodriguez I saw firsthand the effects of “white privilege.” As Richard described the nuns’ visit to his home I felt sad for his family as they were being asked to speak English in their home.  As I continued reading I saw the effects that this request had on his family. His close-knit family turned into a silent dinner table or awkward conversations.
I can sympathize with Richard’s parents. I grew up in an English-speaking home. However, when I visited my dad’s family, especially my grandmother, the conversations were in Portuguese. It was so uncomfortable sitting at my grandmother’s table as her and my dad spoke Portuguese while my mom and I would just sit there wondering what they were saying. I tried to learn the language but for some reason I could never really “catch on.” I can imagine how frustrated Richard’s father must have been when he could not understand what his children and wife were saying or when he couldn’t get the pronunciation of a word correct.

Spanish was the familiar language of Richard and his family, just like Portuguese was for my father and grandmother. It is what Richard calls, their “personal language.” There should be no shame or embarrassment in speaking the language of their (your) family. However, the nuns, in Richard’s article, thought otherwise. I sat their dumbfounded while I read this section, and re-read it for that matter. How on earth could someone go into another person’s home and tell them to stop speaking their language? It’s a sad thing to think about.
I would like to share an experience I had in a store today that proves this way of thinking still exists.  I was grocery shopping with my mother and we were going down an aisle to get eggs and milk. A few shelves down from us was a family and that was speaking Spanish to each other. They walked away and I overhead an employee talking to a customer about them. He told the customer that the family was in America and they should be speaking English. He continued on by saying he was sick and tired of it and that “those type of people” make his job harder-they leave the store a mess and make messes in every aisle. He called them “disgusting” and said he was fed up. As he walked away I didn’t know what to do. The words that were coming out of the employee’s mouth stunned me. This experience put all of the articles that we have read, thus far, into perspective.


        Point(s) to share in class:

We should not judge people by the language we speak. America is a melting pot of cultures, ethnicities, and languages. We should not be the ones to “limit” a person’s language or further more tell them what language to speak.


Friday, September 27, 2013

"You're Going Where???"

I tell people that I’m volunteering at a school. They are supportive and encouraging until I tell them where I’m going. Then their faces suddenly look like this:

So of course I can’t help but wonder “What am I getting myself into?”

As I am driving to the school today, I’m going through the “filing cabinets” in my brain-pulling out key points from Johnson, Delpit and Kozol. But in the back of my mind little comments from friends and family keep pushing their way to the front of my mind: “Be careful!” “That neighborhood is to rough for you!” and so on. So now my brain is turning into a whirlwind and I’m more nervous then I was when I left the house. I’m at a red light and tring to calm my nerves I turn on the radio. The song that came on was exactly what I needed. The Black Eyed Peas song “Where is the Love?” I pulled over and just sat there listening to the lyrics:

But if you only have love for your own race
Then you only leave space to discriminate
And to discriminate only generates hate
And when you hate then you're bound to get irate, yeah…

…Wrong information always shown by the media
Negative images is the main criteria
Infecting the young minds faster than bacteria
Kids wanna act like what they see in the cinema

Yo', whatever happened to the values of humanity
Whatever happened to the fairness and equality
Instead of spreading love we're spreading animosity
Lack of understanding, leading us away from unity

After the song was over I took a deep breath and said “Okay, Dorothy, you decide how you think, feel and act-stop listening to the negative and focus on the positive-you are going there to make a difference!”

I walked into the school and met with the Reading Coach. I received training and direction on what I would be doing, as well as a tour of the school. As I saw a group of 2nd grade girls giggling to each other in the hallway and a little boy staring suspiciously at us as we walked by I realized that I was HAPPY I was there and that this will be a great learning opportunity. At that moment I threw all those negative comments and concerned faces into my “recycle bin.”

The saying goes you can’t judge a book by its cover and boy is that the truth! I walked into the school and experienced what many of you described in class yesterday: I walked into a colorful land of Dr. Seuss, smiling faces, construction paper handprint, and rainbow drawings.

Service Learning Starts Today!

Good Morning Everyone, 
I start my Service Learning today and am a little (ok, a lot) nervous! Trying to remember some of the advice that Dr. Bogad gave to us and this one thing just stuck in my mind: when we walk into that school we can be whoever we want. So I have decided to be a more outgoing person today! :) 

Hope everyone has a nice weekend!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sunday, September 22, 2013

"Amazing Grace" by Jonathan Kozol (Hyperlinks)

Jonathan Kozol, in his book Amazing Grace paints for us a tragic picture of the Mott Haven section of the Bronx in the 1990s. Poverty, drug use, homicides, muggings, homelessness, disease and prostitution defines what you would find when you entered the Mott Haven.  

The neighborhood was also a dumping ground for things anything and everything New York did not want. Kozol sees this as he takes a walk with young Cliffie around the Mott Haven neighborhood. They pass a waste incinerator, whose home was supposed to be the East side of Manhattan but ended up in Mott Haven. When Kozol asks Cliffie's mother about it her response perfectly defines the neighborhood: "The point is that they put a lot of things into our neighborhood that no one wants...The was incinerator is just one more lovely way of showing their affection...Then we get illegal dumpers. People who don't live here come and dump things they don't want: broken televisions, boxes of bottles, old refrigerators, beat-up cars, old pieces of metal, other lovely things."

Has the neighborhood changed since then? That was the one question that kept going through my mind as I was reading this. I looked up news article pertaining to Mott Haven and found the following: On August 24, 2013, a 73-year old woman was sexually assaulted inside her apartment. On March 15, 2013 a woman was stabbed 28 times inside the stairwell of one of the Mott Haven Houses. It was a miracle that she survived. Back in June and July of 2013 there was a string of bus driver attacks .

At first glance it would appear that crime is still high in Mott Haven. However, data shows another conclusion: According to a Crime Report for the 40th Precinct- Crime rates have dropped since the 1990s. This is a weekly report and covers September 2nd, 2013- September 8th, 2013. In that week's time 45 crimes were committed. The bottom of the report shows yearly crime rates for 1990, 1993, 1998, 2001,  and 2012. In the year 1990 there were 7,232 crimes reported to the 40th Precinct (Mott Haven). The current total for crimes reported  from January 1st to September 8th is 1,276. As you can see crime has significantly dropped in Mott Haven since the 1990s; but unfortunately it is still not the safest neighborhood in New York. DNA Info labels Mott Haven as the 59th safest for all crimes, 66th safest for violent crimes and 44th safest for property crimes.

Points To Share: 1. What about the living conditions? According to a 2011 article published in the New York Times, Mott Haven has advanced from parks full of drug dealers and prostitutes to community gardens.

2. Families, who once feared living in Mott Haven, are now purchasing homes in the area. The average price for a one-family home costs $275,000.

3. Yes, Mott Haven still has its troubles. These articles do prove, though, that the government has finally stopped turning a blind eye on the neighborhood and its residents. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Little About Myself

Hi Everyone!

I am new to Rhode Island College. I transferred from Johnson & Wales where I was studying Event Management. I realized that event planning just wasn't my thing. I always loved kids and thought of always becoming a teacher. So here I am! :) I'm looking forward to seeing what FNED 346 has in store for me this semester. So far, I have enjoyed it a lot and have already learned so much!

Here's a little about myself: I love music, plays, and books! I've been playing the piano for 16 years-it's my own little escape away from reality. When I'm not in class or working, you'll probably find me at Trinity Rep or the Providence Performing Arts Center enjoying a play or musical. And if I'm not there I'll probably be at the library enjoying a good book.

My summer was pretty quiet. I took some classes at CCRI, worked, spent time with my family and pretty much just relaxed.  I did go see Maroon 5 & Kelly Clarkson at the Comcast Center. It was an AMAZING show!!! I'm a huge Adam Levine fan! :)