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Thursday, February 26, 2015

I'm Gay / Safe Spaces Edit

I wanted to rework my safe spaces blog post. Obviously as everyone learned in class I am gay. I didn't right about it or speak about it in class because I was waiting to see if the class was in fact a safe space. Once we got talking about LGBT issues in class I knew that I would have to make the decision so share my secret. (Quick clarification I am technically "out of the closet" but I don't go around shouting it from the roof tops)The anonymous writing assignment was the best opportunity I had to test the waters, so I wrote the basics of me being gay on the notecard. Seeing that there was nobody wanting to chop my head off I decided that I would come out but I wanted to do it in my own way. I figured that being casual was my best bet so I made a little comment about how "Im gay and I don't understand all of the terminology." Clever right? I thought so. Anyway, after that everything was all good and accepting so I found that it is a safe space. 

I feel like it would be good for me to share my story here because a lot of people in the class seemed to not have experience with the gay community. I was very fortunate in the sense that I went to a very accepting high school that did not give me any problems. 

It sort of just happened, like it came out of nowhere... but at the same time I have always known. I official said the words "I'm gay" on October 6th 2011, but my whole life I have known something was different. I just suppressed my feelings, who would willingly enter a world of discrimination and danger? But the time came and I couldn't hold it in anymore. After telling that first person it became easier and easier. I finally felt like I could be myself, and not have the weight of this secret, the weight of the world barring down on me. I built my circle of support among friends first, telling about 5 or 6 people I was really close with. Not one had a problem and they all cared for me just the same (So far so good!). Then after about a week of panicking and dread I decided to tell my parents. Well I told my mother one Saturday morning. It took everything I had to mutter the words, just two simple words. And when I did her response was even better, it was one word. "Okay"

Obviously from there we went on to talk about it blah blah blah being safe and entering a world of discrimination blah blah blah. You get the picture. They love me all the same and were more concerned for my safety in life then the fact I was actually gay, yet again another huge weight off my shoulders. 

From there it was pretty much smooth sailing. I started dating a man a month after I came out, which means essentially my whole school found out from that. But not once did I have to deal with hate, or mistreatment in anyway. There were a few awkward moments though, I knew the people who weren't okay with it but they kept it to themselves and remained respectful. 

So as you can tell I am able to relate to Safe Spaces on a level that others might not be able to. My parents actually were hesitant about me coming to school in Providence because a year before I came here a gay man was murdered in a hate crime. So because of things like that, I keep my sexuality to my self. When I am in a class I play the roll of the role of the norm in society. I won't go out of my way to act "Straight" but I won't let my more colorful side show either. People assume I am straight all of the time, and why wouldn't they? I don't flaunt it. I do ballroom dance and people assume I am dating one of the girls all the time at the social dances. They are mainly part of the older generation so I just roll with it. Easier to let them think what they want then risk them ending up hating me. I appreciate Delpits rules and codes of power. So to fit in with them I remain like everyone else when meeting people I don't know. 

Watch this video. It is LGBTQ people saying they want to know what its like to live in a world without fear. It is very powerful. 

So all in all, I evaluate a situation before deciding to show my true self or not. To show acceptance in the classroom you have to do the little things to show support. The last thing I would want to see is my teacher come roaring in wearing a rainbow suit saying gay is ok. Just speak up when you hear students say, "That's so gay." You could support the use of gender-neutral bathrooms, or even just let your students know your classroom is a safe space for them to come to. 

This became way longer than I thought it would... even though I could keep talking about this. Well thanks for listening anyway and I hope hearing about my experience and thought processes it will help you in the future. 

Talking point: Assumed straight till proven otherwise. After all how many of

you thought I was straight? 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Safe Spaces ~ August

For my blog post this week I decided to do the reflection.

Okay, so right from the get go I knew this was going to be a challenging article for me to read. In the beginning it started with kids who had committed suicide in 2010... The focus on heterosexism in this article is very important in my opinion. Heterosexism is when people are assumed to be straight because that is the "social norm". In this article though, the focus is more on the use of it in the classroom. Heterosexism and heteronormativity is everywhere around us. We are taught in class that a family is made up of a mother and father, in books we read it is straight couples, and in tv shows (until recently) they are made up of heterosexual couples. A good way that the article counteracts this is when the teacher, Zeke, comes into classrooms. He brings books about family that don't meet the social norms. For example a book about two male penguins that raise an egg together. This connects to the Johnson article in the sense that we should openly talk about issues and not tip toe around them.
I have a very close friend back at home who is a lesbian. We have known each other basically our whole lives and she came out to me about 3 and half years ago.  Nothing changed between us, we are still as close as can be, but it just opened my eyes to the LGBT world. I didn't have much experience with it, but as soon as my best friend came out I learned our school had a G.S.A. and joined immediately. I learned so much about the LGBT world that I didn't know was even a thing. This was a very powerful article that I am excited to talk about in class. 
The Human Rights Campaign  is an excellent source for allies and members of the LGBTQ community for resources and facts. Also The Trevor Project is a source for LGBT youth who may not feel safe in the environment they live in, and is also a suicide prevention foundation. 

Topic of discussion: In your high school experience and life how has the LGBT community ben shown? Were there any acts of non-supporters (didn't want to say homophobia... but I guess I just did) in your high school or life in general? 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

"Aria" by Rodriguez

This weeks article by Richard Rodriguez was very powerful. This time it strayed away from what we have been reading by Kozal or Johnson. This time the focus was more on not only race but a language barrier as well, and the hardships that comes with.

"Without question it would have pleased me to hear my teachers address me in Spanish when I entered the classroom. It would have felt much less afraid, I would have trusted and responded with ease."

I believe that this quote truly brings home the importance of teachers being able to connect with students on whatever level is necessary. If you have a student that would feel more comfortable speaking their first language then it would be best to learn how to communicate even on a basic level in that language. Our jobs as educators are to help our students in any way possible, and if that means going the extra mile to make them feel comfortable then that is what we need to do.

"I no longer knew what words to use in addressing my parents. ... Whenever I'd speak to my parents, I would try to get their attention with eye contact alone."

How powerful, and how awful. The fact that a child went through life to one day have the inability t talk openly with their parents is ridiculous. Becoming so distant from your family that you lose the ability to communicate, and it was because of them being forced to speak english... I can't even begin to explain how I feel about this. Definitely one of the most powerful quotes in the article.

“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.”

I believe that though this quote Rodriguez is stating that even though he had to completely alter his life style, it gave him a better chance in todays society. I believe that the whole point of this article is that he doesn't regret losing his language because it made him fit into society better. It was like what Delpit said. He learned the rules and codes of power to fit in with society.

Talking point: How far would you go as an educator to help benefit your students whose first language was not english.

A article about a principle who banned Spanish in the classrooms (You should read this, pretty interesting)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Amazing Grace by Jonathan Kozol

This exert from Kozol's book was very powerful. This was about a white, middle class man, that moved to the South Bronx to experience the culture. He was in for quite a shock as he moved to one of the poorest neighborhoods in the United States, a place of poverty, crime, and terminal diseases. South Bronx is mainly hispanic or people of color that live in the lower class. 

I have chosen to do the Extended Comments style blog post. I am basing my extended comments off of Christys Blog

Hi Christy! I wanted to start off by saying I really enjoyed the entirety of your blog post! (Including the very funny picture at the end)

Your first quote was one that I also found to be very powerful. It truly shows the strength of youth and how strong they can be. Being in a tough situation that they are, they can still find a way to be full of joy and make the most out of a tough situation. I agree with your response to the quote of how it is fascinating that children can do this, no matter the case. They way you said "The more a person has, the less happy they seem" was a fantastic way to phrase a major aspect of this reading. 

The fact that an area where this happens in the world is shocking. Your second quote describes the event where people can come and get clean needles for their addictions, and also receive condoms. The worst part is that they bring their children with them. I do however only slightly disagree with one this you said. You seemed to think that the whole area where this happens is unnecessary and should not be a thing especially with the volunteers. I agree in the sense that I wish this was not a necessary thing, but I do believe that because this scenario exists in the world it is beneficial to have the volunteers hand out these goods. If if was not for this then the spread of blood born pathogens and unprotected sex would happen even more than it already does. That could cause the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, or cause unwanted pregnancies.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog and I hope we can discuss it more at another time :) 

Sharing Point
~One point I would like to talk about in class is whether or not people think that the volunteers handing out needles and such are a positive resource to use, or should not a available. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Delpit, "The Silence Dialogue" From "Other People's Children


1) "I try to give them my experiences, to explain. They just look and nod. The more I try to explain, they just look and nod, just keep looking and nodding. They don't really hear me." (Delpit 22)

Although this quote may not seem like one of the main points in the text I believe it is integral in the overall meaning behind the article. If students are not willing to learn about a sensitive subject, such as teaching people of a different race, or finding a way to make sure students do the work and come to school, then they will not listen, or care for the matter. It becomes the responsibility of the instructor to find a way to provide students with the knowledge and drive to make a difference in teaching students of any variety.

2) "My Kids know how to be black - you all teach them how to be successful in a white man's world" (Delpit 29)

First of all, wow, so much power in one sentence. This quote was so powerful upon reading it that it really brought on the need to understand how to teach every form of student and that white privilege, economic class, and geographical setting can really effect a child and how to teach them. Although it may not be a drastic as it seems a a student shouldn't be treated differently based on these factors.

3) "Those with power are frequently least aware of - or least willing to acknowledge - its existence. Those with less power are often most aware of its existence." (Delpit 24)

When the article started talking about power and the difference between races and classes it made me thing about how white privilege and socioeconomic benefits were talked about in the Johnson article. This is very important to this article because it forces the acknowledgement of power and some have it and some do not. It is the culture of power.

For my talking point I would like to visit the culture of power and the 5 aspects of power. I believe they are integral to the article and I believe can be interpreted in different ways.

Lisa Delpit on Power and Pedagogy