Blog #1 – Ideas for project…

          As I think about what I would like to do for a project for this class, I envision myself creating some type of social platform when “real world” people can share their thoughts and experiences about their own race and ethnicity. Perhaps it can become a place where people can share positive comments about race and ethnicity. Although I’m still not sure about what exactly I would like to create for this class, I’ve thought about creating a blog, a twitter hashtag, a webpage, or other social media platform where people can find information regarding race and ethnicity and engage in this topic… maybe focusing more in a specific race and ethnicity or simply keeping it open for all. Maybe this way we can find more similarities among our differences… if that makes sense. I’m also thinking about a project where I could maybe include my own personal experiences regarding my own race and ethnicity. This perhaps social media platform could be a place where my classmates could share their own race and ethnicity backgrounds and experiences, this becoming a collaborative project.  


                I have to say that when I walked into class on Tuesday, I was expecting the kind of experience that Dr. Zamora described as traditional (and somewhat antiquated).  I knew the class would be interesting, but I was not really expecting to have an active role in shaping the course content.  This innovative type of experience, along with the technology component, is something that is also being encouraged at the high school level, and I’ve realized, over the course of the last couple years, that, as a high school teacher, I’m a clinger- I cling to the more traditional class dynamic:  it’s what I was taught, and it’s what I know, it’s in my comfort zone, and I’ve been grasping onto it to within an inch of my life.   However, I’ve been realizing for a while that clinging to the old, comfortable way is not really working anymore.  So when I heard Dr. Zamora explain the dynamics of this course, I was very interested.  I hope that I can take away a number of things from this class: not only the experience of making something that can affect the way race is dealt with in our world, but also a greater insight into incorporating technology, collaboration, and active student participation so my students can accomplish great things too.
                When we were brainstorming in small groups on Tuesday about what exactly that “something” would be, we focused mainly on creating some kind of portfolio or collection in which we all document our own personal experiences with how we communicate, based on our own ethnic, cultural, and familial backgrounds.  One of us said she wanted to maybe develop a family tree or some kind of document about her heritage, kind of along the same lines as the TV shows Dr. Zamora mentioned (“Who Do You Think You Are?” etc.).  This idea really appealed to me.  A couple years ago, my sister started her Master’s and decided to concentrate in Irish history based on my family’s heritage.  She actually had the opportunity to go to Ireland and did extensive research on the development (and eventual forced abandonment) of the Irish language.  I became really interested in how much language is a part of identity as an ethnic, cultural group or race.  The idea that how we communicate, whether it be through writing, or simple everyday conversation, is a result of our own life experiences and, surprisingly, those of our ancestors going back generations and generations, is fascinating.  To develop a vehicle through which we can document the impact of this and showcase the variety of life experiences- and therefore, the variations of communication as a whole, would be really awesome.
                Another idea that personally appealed to me was the idea of creating some kind of educational toolbox or bank for teachers.  I know from personal experience that kids tend to be like me (haha, they cling to what they know and what they’re comfortable with) and so very often, particularly in the district where I teach, the word “diversity” means very little.  Oh, it’s something that is acknowledged and there is “Diversity Day,” but on a day-to-day basis, there is little consideration of what goes on outside the town “bubble,” so to speak.  I think that having some kind of consistent integration of studying various racial and ethnic experiences, across content areas- not just when we read To Kill a Mockingbird (although it iswonderful J)or Night in Language Arts, would be really valuable.

Who Do You Think I Am?

          After having our introductory class, I began to think more and more about what I want to get out of this class. When I ask myself the question of what I want to make in this course, the same answer keeps popping up in my head. Race, ethnicity, and background remind me of identities and stereotypes. As a result, I think it would be really interesting to conduct a type of experiment or study. 

          I am very curious to see how much you can tell about a person just based on the way they look. This experiment would require participants to go against the old saying "Don't judge a book by its cover". When people look at me, I think they see a white girl, blonde hair, pretty face, and small figure. But that is just the surface impression. Beyond that, I think people will assume that they know things about myself based solely on my physical appearance. I would like to know what they think and how accurate they are compared to the facts.

Some possible questions that could be asked include:
        ~Do you think you can tell a lot about a person just by looking at them?
        ~What are your impressions of the girl in the picture? 
        ~Do you think this girl excelled in school, or struggled? 
        ~Do you think this girl is financially stable or poverty-stricken? 
        ~What ethnicity do you think this girl is?
        ~Do you think this girl would rather go to the gym or the mall? 
        ~Do you think this girl has a nuclear family, single-parent family, or a blended family?
        ~Do you think this girl is confident or insecure? 
        ~Do you think this girl is mean or nice?
        ~Do you think this girl went to college? 
        ~What career path do you think this girl has chosen?

Obviously, I would not be able to conduct the survey myself if the questions were about me because then the results would be biased and inaccurate. This project would require a friend or family member to show participants pictures of myself and have surveyors fill out their answers. Once enough information is collected, I would analyze the data to show whether majority of participants answered based on stereotypes or did not. 

My goal for this project is not to change how everyone views each other, I think that is unrealistic. My goal is to reveal that stereotypes DO EXIST. This study could educate people on how unreliable their judgments are... "There is more than meets the eye".