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.