Saturday, April 30, 2011

Random Blog...

I wanted to talk about the video that we watched in class the other week about inclusion in schools. I thought this video was extremely eye opening and powerful. Through this video you get an understanding of how families with disabled children work through their difficulties to get the best possible education for their kids. I thought it was a great film that gave a more personal side to disabilities than just what you may see at first glance. I found it ridiculous that they had many students who were physically disabled in a special needs classroom, because their mental capabilities were perfectly fine. Every student with a disability should be catered to and treated the way they deserve to be treated. Before watching this video about schools that had full inclusion, I was sceptical of how well this could work out. Some students who are severely mentally or physically disabled need a lot of care and I felt like they would be more of a distration to other kids than a help in the classroom. But then I realized that its actually not just good for the disabled to students to be included because they get a more normalized and fair schooling environment, but it also is good for the students in the classroom without disablities. The other students can learn more about students with disabilities and when they are all together they won't see these students as outsiders. I really like the idea of inclusion, but I also believe there must be things done to keep a classroom regulated and running as best as it can for all students.

Social Justice Event: Leslie Grinner, SCWAMP and TWILIGHT

For my social justice event I attended Leslie Grinner's talk on SCWAMP in relation to the popular films of the Twilight saga. During her lecture she spoke about what SCWAMP meant. S-straightness C-christianity W- whiteness A-able-bodiedness M-maleness P-property ownership. She gave examples from the movie about how each of these things were relatable to the Twilight films.

Leslie used this picture in her presentation. The caption says "Twilight: a story about a girls choice between Beastiality and Necrophilia" I found this to be humorous, and true.

She pointed out straightness in the way that for every single relationship that is set up in this film, it is always a match of male and female. She explained how even Bella, the main character asks her father why he isnt with another woman, implying that being in a relationship was really the only locigal way of living. Other points of the straightness was the obvious obsession with Bella. Leslie pointed out that every single guy in this movie wanted Bella, she was their object of affection. She was the new girl in school, nothing very special about her, very awkward, sickly pale, strange, and somehow she was the most popular girl in the school, and the biggest attraction that the males could find.

Christianity is valued in this movie through Edwards character. Leslie points out how Edward wants Bella to stay a virgin until the two of them marry because he believes it is the right thing to do. In the christian way of life saving your virginity for marriage is really like saving your soul in a way, and the irnoy that Leslie points out from this is that Edward wants to save Bella's soul through keeping her virginity, but then he will drain out her blood, kill her, and make her into an immortal life and souless vampire? MAKES SENSE.

Whitness is also an issue throughout this movie. They obviously decided to incorporate other ethnicties through Bellas friends. She has a typical asian friend... school news paper photographer, and his asian girlfriend, a random black friend that almost kills her, and then of course Jacob Black and his family who are clearly of a Native American ethnicity, even could be Hispanic. The Native Americans in this movie are all wolves, beasts if you will, who when enraged turn into their wolf forms. At one point in the film we see that one of the girlfriend of a wolf has already been malled by her boyfriend/fiance, but because this is the life she has chosen for herself its okay. This point also relates to the fact that in these movies Bella is stuck between two men, both who are dangerous guys that could kill her without even meaning to, but she doesn't mind.

Able-bodiedness is shown through the great strength that Bella's love interests have. They are both extremely strong, and fit ( shown through the lack of clothing that all the Native America boys have) and this is a quality that attracts Bella. The only person in this film who is disabled is Jacob's father, an older Native American man who is in a wheelchair.

Maleness is a HUGE part of these films. The fact that Bella is so awkward and really unspecial, nothing great about her, is done on purpose because it focuses the attention on the men in this film. Bella is actually surrounded by men, she lives with just her dad, she has two boyfriends and all the guys in school want her. The main part of maleness in these films comes into play with Jacob and Edward, Bella's love interests. Both are handsome, mysterious, dangerous, dark, not the best pick for Bella but she is drawn to them anyways. All of these qualities are very close to what a relationship going through domestic violence is like. Also the marketing of these films are all about which MAN Bella is going to chose to be with.

Property ownership is a huge difference in Edward and Jacob. Jacob is a simple guy, works with his hands on his car, wears no shirt, lives on a reservation, doesn't have to many fancy things. Edward is a guy who has a doctor for a father, drives a new car every movie, lives in an amazing home, and can fly out of his huge bedroom glass doors that overlook the forrest.

Edward ultimately has more appeal in this movie, in the eyes of Bella, and after breaking it down you can see that his straight maleness, christian values, white skin, super strength, and fancy cars could have done the trick to suck Bella in. Even though Jacob, would actually be a better fit for Bella, considering she doesn't have to die to be with him.

Bella's death is the strongest message in these films. She is willing to die, leave her life behind, let her soul go... all to cater to a man. A man that has to give up nothing, while she has to give up everything.


I can relate this social justice events to the following articles...

Peggy McIntosh "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack"
In this article McIntosh basically explains what white privilege is and how white people don't usually see that its there. Leslie Grinner is very much aware of white privilege and spoke out about it throughout this whole lecture. She pointed out white privilege with SCWAMP and she pointed it out with Twilight... which all relate to the real world.

Johnson "Privilege, Power, and Difference"

In this article, Johnson speaks out about the differnces in gender, race, social class, sexual orientation, and ethnicity in our society. In this lecture you can easily see how Leslie related all of these differences to the Twilight films because with SCWAMP you exlpore all of these things and you get the understanding of what is happening in our society. You truly can see who has the power, and who has the privilege in this society, and the film twilight shows us this in a very stereotypical way.

Delpit "Other People's Children"

In Delpit's article she speaks about the "culture of power" and how we as individulas need to know what the culture of power is and how fitting into this culture of power can give us the things we need. I see this with Bella's character because in this film the culture of power are the vampires. They are made out to be the powerful, wealthy, successful people in this film, and in order for Bella to get what she wants (Edward), she must become one of them.

Schooling Children With Down Syndrome


" They didnt't think it was realistic, that she could handle that job. Here they have her educating America's future, but they're scared to let her work at a movie place."

I thought this quote was very strong and fit well into the whole idea of this article. People have such a negative view of others with disabilities, they doubt their capabilities and they doubt their intelligence. Reading this quote made me think of things in my own life. It reminded me of when I was younger. I used to be really over weight when I was young, and in my eyes I saw this as my own type of disability. For me being over weight made me feel unconnected from other kids and it made me feel like I couldn't compete with them or do the things that they could do. It turns out that I was actually pretty athletic. I really gained confidenced in my abilities after a field day competition. It was the shuttle run, a run that basically determined who was the quickest. I got first place in this event, and I was the heaviest girl competing. After this I decided to go out for cheerleading. My sister was always the cheerleader and when I told her that I wanted to do this she basically laughed in my face about it because she didn't believe that I would be able to compete with the other girls because of my size. I ignored her opinions and turns out I made the team, three years in a row, spending two of those years as captain. I feel like when you doubt people it can either do two things. Make them doubt themselves, or make them want to prove you wrong. In my own experiences I have felt both these ways about what I am capable doing, but after trying and actually proving others wrong and myself wrong I made out just fine. I think people need to have a little bit more confidence in others when it comes to capability. People who are disabled are not uncapable, and they are not ignorant. It is the people that doubt what others can do who are truly the ignorant ones. It can sometimes be hard to look past the stereotypes, and push for more; however, if people just made a little more effort then I think everyone would be more accepting and comfortable of people with disabilities. It is true that some people with physical disablities may never be capable of walking or dancing or getting to do things with their bodies that they wish they could, and mentally disabled people may never be able to understand in the ways they wish they could, but there is always a chance that these things can happen. I believe that people shouldnt try to put limits on everything in life, especially not on others.I think there is a fine line between reality and your dreams. I wish I could say that anything is possible, but I know that is not true. But what I can say is that people who have support from others, people who can believe in themselves, and people who have the will to try and push for anything will be the people who come closer and closer to making their dreams come true.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Literacy with an Attitude


     "The status quo is the status quo because people who have the power to make changes are comfortable with the way things are. It takes energy to make changes, and the energy must come from the people who will benefit from the change. But the working class does not get powerful literacy, and powerful literacy is necessary for the struggle. How can the cycle be broken?"

     -- After reading this quote I immediately thought of Johnson. In his piece Privilige, Power, and Difference he speaks out about everyone coming together to make the difference. The people with the privilige and power are the people who can truly make a difference; however, thes people can sometimes forget about the issues that are at hand because they are not directly affected by them. a quote from his piece better explains this...
       "And if people in priviliged groups don't include themseleves in the solution, the default is to leave it to blacks and women and Asians, Latinos, Native Americans. lesbians, gay men, and the lower and working classes to do it on their own, because they don't have the power to changed entrenched systems of privilege by themseleves. If they could do that, there wouldn't be this problem in the first place."

Another connection I made through this piece was by reading this quote...
     "Teachers who see themselves as allies of their working-class students can help their students see that literacy and school knowledge could be a potent weapon in their struggle for a better deal by connecting school knowledge with the reality of working-class students' lives."

  --With this quote I made a connection to Delpit. The rules and codes of power fit in perfectly with this statement. The teachers help the students understand how important literacy is because it will only help them in the future, and it will also help them fit into society. Delpit says that we must learn to rules and codes of power if we want to succeed in this society.

1.Issues of power are enarced in classrooms.
2.There are codes or rules for participating in power; that is, there is a "culture of power"
3.The rules of the culture of power are a reflection of the rules of the culutre of those who have power.
4.If you are not already a participant in the culture of power, being told explicitly the rules of that culture makes aquiring power easier.
5.Those with power are frequently least aware of-or atleast wiling to acknowledge its existence. Those with less power are often more aware of its existence.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Title IX: Extensions from Luke's Blog

In reflection of Luke's Blog:

Today title IX is not being respected in all places. In my personal oppinion I believe that there will always be a double standard among men and women. After reading Luke's blog I felt like I had a better understand about the double standards that we are faced with today. Not only do women suffer from the double standard, but men do as well. Like Luke pointed out about the male volleyball player, to not allow him to join his schools volleyball team without restriction wasn't fair. I feel that if schools want to seperate their sports boys and girls, then they need to have a male and female team for every sport they offer. I don't see anything wrong with girls and guys teams, I believe its beneficial to do things this way for some sports; however, I also can see a point in making all sports co-ed. Its hard to put a limit on what people can and can't do. I think that people should have the option to do what they want, like the female football player at Luke's school. It was her choice to join the football team that was made up of all male teammates. Theres so many other things that go into this besides just descrimination, money being one of them. Many schools probably only provide a single team for some of their sports such as football, golf, volleyball, gymnastics, etc. If they had a girls and boys team for each, I'm sure the expenses they would have to come up with would be very steep, more than what some schools can afford; however, if they cannot affor to have two seperate teams for every single sport than they need to maker each sport co-ed. No girls teams no boys teams, just teams.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Brown v. Board of Education: videos and articles


After watching the two videos about Tim Wise's "Barack and a Hard Place" I've come to question more about racism and how it exists in America today. I have always believed that racism still exists, I've heard and I've seen it personally, I've caught it on TV, and I've read about it in class. After hearing what Tim Wise had to say, I started to think about the reality of it all. He pointed out that Barack Obama is a light skinned African American, this possibly giving a comfort factor to white voters. He is worried that if he was darker, or if future candidates to come are darker that this will make white people uncomfortable with letting themselves give the candidate the deserved vote. For black people to get respected they must be exceptional at their task, Barack Obama being a man of great intelligence and sophistication, he was easily accepted by the public. Someone like George Bush however was our president for 8 years and many people would immediately describe him as being a complete idiot. Wise says...

"The proof of racial equity will be the day that people of color can be as mediocre as white folks and still get hired."

This quote pretty much says it all. It's completely true, black people have to work much harder to get the same respect of their white peers. It's a really sad and wrong reality that we face in America and outside the united states as well. Another quote I liked was said by the interviewer, " In a minority we see pure excellence."

In a recent survey it was said that 6 out of 10 white people acknowledged stereotypes such as...
-black people are precieved as less intelligent
-black people are less patriotic
-black people are less hard working than white people
-75% of white people say that black people want to live on welfare

All of this clearly proves that racism still exists. Not in an in your face kind of way, but it is very much so out there and if you take a closer look it can easily be found.

Next was Bob Herbert's article relating today's issues in school's back to Brown vs. Board of Education back in 1954. In his article he argues that poor students who are stuck in schools absorbed by poverty are going to fall behind the poor students who are put into schools that are affluent. The quote that follows better explains this...

"If you really want to improve the education of poor children, you have to get them away from learning environments that are smothered by poverty. This is being done in some places, with impressive results. An important study conducted by the Century Foundation in Montgomery County, Md., showed that low-income students who happened to be enrolled in affluent elementary schools did much better than similarly low-income students in higher-poverty schools in the county."

The fact that they are looking to intergrate students of different economic backgrounds into schools also means that they will be intergrating students of different ethnic backgrounds as well. This factor is unsettling to some. This relates to Brown vs. Board of Education because the whole point of that was to say that "seperate but equal" schooling was not equal at all. Black schools and white schools meant segregation which meant prejudice and racism as well. In today's world we see the same thing with the students who are stuck in poverty smothered schools. Without the integration the students will only suffer.

Looking into my own experiences with the SL project, I can see that this very topic could be a crucial factor into what is making these children stuggle. Its all about the effort and time put in by not only the students and teachers, but the parents as well. This quote better explains...

"Studies have shown that it is not the race of the students that is significant, but rather the improved all-around environment of schools with better teachers, fewer classroom disruptions, pupils who are more engaged academically, parents who are more involved, and so on. The poorer students benefit from the more affluent environment."

This link will bring you to a webpage that shows how poverty affects a students learning.

Sunday, March 20, 2011



In this article Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer discuss the importance of service learning. They believe that service learning holds a power of understanding, human connection, experience, and learning. The article is extremely informative of the ways people can do service learning, and also the ways that it has been done, and it gives a good understanding of what can be done to get more knowledge out of a service learning porject. It's not just about community service and helping, it's also about understanding the people who need the help. By really understanding, you can then help make a difference. They point out that there is a difference between change and charity. Wanting to participate is the key. Service learning can be the thing that pushes you to want to participate and help make a real difference, a change in the world. With both change and charity, they say that the underlying goals that can impact a service learning project are split into three domains; moral, political, and intellectual. It is also true that through your own rewarding experiences during service learning, you can be an inspiration to others to try and make a difference and become more informed.

The video that I decided to post is directly related to this article because it shows that people are willing to make a difference. The celebrities in the video are pledging to make a difference. They are pledging to find service projects to help people and they are pledging to just do good and right by others. It's a really inspiring video and really makes me want to help change the world for the better. Seeing this video it gives you so many ideas of ways you can help in the community, and learn from what others are doing to help. Just by making small day to day changes, you can make all the difference.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Unlearning the Myths That Blind Us


Author Linda Christiansen argues that starting from childhood, people are manipulated by what is called the "secret education". The "secret education" is found in children's books, movies, television programs etc., and Christiansen is saying that through the media, children begin to form their understanding of how the world works. They are wrapped up in the stereotypes and the portrayals of what a true "fairytale" life is like. She believes that children need to look at all the things they are seeing everyday, and analyze them for what is hidden underneath. She shows her students old cartoons because the stereotypes in them are obvious, and she then has the students look at the roles of the men, women, people of color, and poor people in the cartoons. From here she asks them who plays which parts. It is almost certain you will have the lead as someone who is white and beautiful or maybe, going back to what we talk about it class, they fit in with the culture of power. Christiansen wants us to question the message that is being portrayed in these cartoons, and see how this can affect our futures.  One quote that really stood out to me in this article was from one of her students that said "True death equals a generation living by rules and attitudes they never questioned and producing more children who do the same." Even though this is a quote from a student, I believe it perfectly embodies the argument that Christansen is trying to make.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Shared Differences Examines LGBT Students of Color Experiences in School

I decided to write this week about this article What this article explains is that LGBT students of color are much more likely to feel unsafe in their schools than those LGBT students who were in the racial/ethnic majority. This article was short; however, it provided many statistics about LGBT students of color. I chose to write on this piece because I feel that it’s extremely relevant to what we have been discussing in class about the culture of power.  The statistics show that the biggest reason for students of color to feel unsafe in school is because of their sexual orientation or gender expression. Over half of LGBT students of color have reported harassment during school because of their ethnicity/race. Many of the students of color miss school regularly, and are much more likely to miss school because of safety issues. In so many ways these students are suffering, mentally, physically, emotionally, and academically. Because they are LGBT students, they already experience the sting of bullying, but the issue becomes even worse because now their ethnicity, race, religion, etc. gets thrown into it. This is a quote from the article; it is being said by a LGBT student of color. "You could very well on any day hear someone yelling across the hall, 'fag,' etc," said a 10th grade Latino male student in the report. "I've heard it before. ... It’s hurtful because it's just not something that you say. And it's just generally hurtful. And I know that I'll just be walking in a hallway, and someone will just say under their breath with a group of friends, "fag" ... and hearing things like that in my school - it kind of brings me down almost. It kind of negates any hope that I have for our school to be a better place." After reading all of these statistics and even just looking into the website I started to feel annoyed with what I was seeing. When you get to hear the voice of someone who is a victim of harassment it just makes it that much more relatable.  These kids are being harassed for just being who they are, being gay isn’t a choice, just like color isn’t a choice; however, sexual orientation and race are two things that harassment is linked to. Harassment comes from nothing more than ignorance and prejudice, and this article, and the GLSEN website is really eye opening to the realities of harassment.

Sunday, February 20, 2011



Richard Rodriguez argues that through his own personal experiences of being a bilingual student he struggled with finding his public identity. He talks about the difficulties he faced as a child who grew up speaking Spanish, and had to adapt to the English language, and the American way of life. He felt afraid to speak out in class because he was not yet comfortable with speaking English. As a child he felt that by speaking English he was leaving behind who he was and he in some way felt that if he began to speak the public language (English) he would be displeasing his family. After having trouble in school, his parents began to speak English at home, this way Richard and his siblings would become better students and they could feel more comfortable in the society that they lived in. Soon after, Richard and all of his family members began to take part in their society and they now felt that they belonged in public. Though Richard and his family now had a better sense of belonging in the public, things at home were much different. The closeness they all shared because of their private (Spanish) language had now diminished. They were still family oriented; however, it was much different than before. Richard says “ I would have been happiest about my public success had I not sometimes recalled what it had been like earlier, when my family had conveyed its intimacy through a set of conveniently private sounds.” (38) He says that it is difficult because in some ways you lose your sense of individuality once you become a part of the public; however, he ends his piece by saying that there are two ways a person can by 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.” (39)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace by Jonathan Kozol


In Jonathan Kozol's "Amazing Grace", there are a few quotes that really stuck with me. The first quote that I came across that really left an impression on me was on page 6. "I saw a boy shot in the head right over there," he says a moment later, in a voice that does not sound particularly sad, then looks up at me and asks politely, "would you like a chocolate chip cookie?" Once I read this quote I had the most uncomfortable feeling. Knowing that a child could witness something like this and talk about it as if it is just a way of life is insane. There are obviously stories that I have heard throughout my life of murder and crime and so on, but once I read this quote I was honestly taken back, its honestly just disturbing.

On page 11 I found another quote that made an impression on me. Following up to this quote there is talk of people coming and illegally dumping things they don't want in this New York area, its just another place for people to get rid of their garbage, but its also the home to these suffering people. Cliffie's mother says "I've got quite a few nice things that way. Not long ago, somebody dumped a pile of chairs and tables in the street. Brand-new. I was offended but I was also blessed. I took two chairs." This situation reminds me of that saying desperate times call for desperate measures, because its like you have to take what you can get. Cliffie's mother says that yes she is offended that people would do this;however, she puts that aside because she knows that she has an opportunity here that she might not ever get otherwise.

The last quote that I want to point out is on page 23. David says "I don't think my mother's asking for something she does not deserve. She worked hard all her life. She's a very honest person. she's kind to other people. She's a nicer person than a lot of the rich people that I notice on TV. She gives more of herself to other people. My mother means a great deal to me. I don't know what I'll do after she's gone." This ties into this whole article because it brings up the point that life is a struggle. People experience things that are not fair, and they may not deserve these things but its all apart of life. Times are hard for people no matter what situation they're in financially or emotionally etc. and many times these hardships are experienced by people while they are still children, and this can be especially hard.

About me

Heyy everyone, my name is Danielle Whitaker and currently I am a freshman at RIC studying Elementary Ed. I'm from Coventry, RI, still living at home and just trying to stay busy. I've been working at a bakery for the past three years and when I'm not there I'm with friends doing whatever. I love to go out and have fun and if I'm not out then a good movie will do the trick! I'm excited about this semester and I'm even more excited for summer :)