Blog #3. Contribution to Group Presentation

I had some time to ruminate about our last session in class. I always enjoy listening to the perspectives of my colleagues about race and ethnicity. Everybody brings a different experience and perspective to the table. Please continue to share your experience and/or questions.

I am part of Race and Ethnicity in the Classroom. We spent last class brainstorming about how to go about our theme. It is wonderful to listen to the contributions from everyone in the group. We are going to use reading from books, journal articles and clips from relevant movies etcetera to introduce and buttress our class presentation.

My own contribution to the group presentation is examining the issue of race in the classroom as it affects immigrant parents and their children (students who may be immigrants or first generation Americans). I will be doing face to face interviews with these immigrant parents/guardians about their experiences - positive or otherwise while interacting with teachers and administrators in the educational system. I do not want to limit myself to just one ethnicity when interviewing immigrants so I am presently looking for other ethnic groups other than Africans and Latinos just to enrich the interview experience and be able to compare the experience of these interviewees.

The tools Intend to use include a voice recorder. when the interviews are all done. I will download them as mp3 files onto my computer. The mp3 files would then be uploaded to SoundCloud where they can be accessed by members of our class. I would also use SoundCloud image uploads to show the picture of the interviewee or the setting of the interview. Since I am going to upload to SoundCloud, this will allow me to embed the interviews on the class digital omnibus when the project is completed.

I have opted to use a voice recorder mainly because I foresee a reticence in my interviewees about video interviews (I intend to video recordings as much as possible). One of the parents I was talking to about the project was enthusiastic until the issue of when to do the video recording came up and his "enthusiasm" evaporated. I then offered the voice recording alternative and that was acceptable to him. I have to remind myself that a number of immigrant communities are quite reticent about their personal lives and do not just open up to anybody.In some ways I am also like that. I do not mind talking to people face to face but I have been finding it challenging to "bare my soul" as it were on the internet. Who exactly am I talking to out there? I can't see nor hear you so I cannot assess your reception of what I am talking about unless you write a response.

I am still working on the questions I want to ask the parents/guardians as well as the students. I want the questions to encourage them to speak frankly but at the same time I do not want to "put words in their mouths" as we say in my corner of the globe.

Blog #3

What will your part be in your group presentation?

In the Race and Pop Culture group, we decided to be a “unified separation.” That’s the only way I can think of describing it. We will each look into a different avenue involving race and pop culture. Mine, specifically, is Comedy. Together, each of us will present our findings, discoveries, presentations, activities, etc. as separate sections under the chapter of the Race and Pop Culture Umbrella. The information we will work on together is the introduction and conclusion. This is to make sure that we are all on the same page… well, maybe separate pages, but in the same chapter. We will reference our Facebook group specifically created for this project. This will serve as our information bank, and will also contain references, links, etc. to our finals projects and presentations.

What will you make as contribution to your final project?

Specifically, my goal is to enter the realm of race and pop culture in regards to comedy. My original idea was to survey various videos of episodes, shorts, skits, podcasts, shows, etc. I will then research the artist’s process, and figure out what he/she did behind the scenes to create his/her work.

I will choose the videos that have different backgrounds as to how they were created. For example, some of these artists may have actually done their research whether it be through history, sociology, psychology, etc. Others may have just looked at a stereotype and decided to run with it.

With this information, I intend to interview people of different backgrounds to show them my discoveries and get their before and after reactions. The point of this documentary is to show people that some of these comedians go further than just a shallow stereotype. That it “takes one to know one.” That we need to understand. Appreciate. Go further than what the shallowness of the world tells us.

Blog #3 race & identity

I love that I am a part of the race and identity group and I think we are going to present something awesome- once we figure out what that something is of course :)

My group members and I have been talking a lot about micro-aggression and even found some amazing links and videos on YouTube of other college students who have already beat us to the punch on this particular topic. I love the idea of holding up signs for a video and the signs would state an act of micro-aggression that we have personally experienced. 

We could go around the class and have others participate in our video or we can step outside the classroom and get participants from the general college campus... Or both. 

I think a great example that I have that I can put towards this project is that whenever I smile I've been asked by complete strangers, "Are you part Asian?" And I reply somewhere along the lines of "Maybe, why do you ask?" And they proceed to tell me that when I smile or laugh my eyes get real squinty. So I guess that makes me Asian? What? I have had this conversation with a handful of people...

Also, when my mom and I stand next to each other in the summer, people never believe I am her child or the fact that she is Italian. My mom stays very fair skinned in the summer while I get tanned. So a lot of people find themselves asking my mom, "If you are Italian then why are you so WHITE?" I find it absurd that people could question ones race and then follow it with oh well you are just too white to be Italian. Have you ever heard of anything so absurd? I'm sure you have all experienced this at some point.

As for what I can bring to the table (besides experiences) is I have a camera to video if we decide to do a micro-aggression themed video. I can also edit the video and piece it together with some help of my brother who loves doing that kind of stuff and is currently teaching me. I think it would make for a great interactive visual on our website!

Identity and me 2015-02-24 14:19:00

Another day....

It sucked missing class. I was  told what I missed, and I am very excited for the class vision we have created. As I stated in my other blog I want to interview a variety of people and get their impressions about living as a minority in a majority world. A few of the people I will interview have expressed mixed issues with their identities. The blogs of group mates seem to indicate that they also dealt with similar issues that some of the people I plan to interview dealt with. I was very moved reading their blogs, and I can personally relate to those issues. Being denied our identity is something that, I believe, is traumatizing to the core of a human being. We all crave for a sense of feeling wanted and a place where we belong. While these struggle, in theory I see my project as extending that conversation and allowing us to reflect at what others experienced and perhaps find some common trends that can help us learn why these feelings persist in minority communities and more importantly what we can do to fix it. I have already reached out to a few people I am interested in interviewing and have received positive responses thus far.  I am very interested in seeing how their dialect affected their acceptance in their community. Are you acting white? Are you a coconut? Etc....After I am done with this portion I will push myself create monologues that bring these themes to the masses.

Blog 3: Enlightened

I am excited to be in my group working on The Politics of Language--Discourses of Race and Ethnicity. Doing this sort of research surrounding race is very enlightening and cathartic. For my "Why You Actin White" piece, my inner-voice that works when I am trying to sleep (which is a healthy one, it's my process) is strongly urging me to do a monologue or a narrative about my experience with literacy and my need to maintain "performance identities". Initially, I was angry with my community for denying my membership, and I still am. However,  I am learning to connect my experiences with deeper meanings than being just a victim, I did not realize my experiences were also the product of "cultural mistrust". According to Terril (1981), cultural mistrust theory is the inclination among African Americans to mistrust whites with the most evident areas of education and training, business and work, interpersonal and social relations, and politics and law. 

By doing just a little bit more reading on race and identity this past week, I uncovered why race relations are so dynamic in how it shapes the beliefs of our the victim and the oppressor. The perceived image of  me "acting white" because of the way that I enunciated my words, how I wore my clothes, as well as my economic status were false to me. The fact that I was bused to a gifted and talented school all through elementary school, and then later my attending catholic high school, as a member of an all black urban community--theoretically, I was "white privilege". 

When I started jotting things down, I remembered peers in my neighborhood having prejudice against those of us who lived in single /two family homes, opposed to the projects or subsidized row houses they lived in. Again, my neighborhood was a mix of middle class to working poor. I lived in an area that on one street it looked semi-suburban. Then you turned the corner and the next street was plagued with drug dealers, dilapidated houses, and poverty. The elementary school they attended mimicked this same social injustice. So that"mistrust" for the dominant culture was extended to me, since I was afforded similar opportunities and privileges of the dominant group. 

In turn, it is the same "cultural mistrust" that I employ when I have negotiations with my 17 year old son, on navigating public spaces as a young black man. An AHA moment is in order.... This project is really showing me the perversity of racism. On the other hand I was enlightening to discover that my son has a different perspective on prejudice in his generation that differ from the attitudes of mine. I engaged in an impromptu conversation with him about race, which I sadly did not record because, I wanted to keep the integrity of his answers, without shoving a recording device in his face. I realized then that the conversations we had in the past were really from my standpoint on race, which made it that much more important. 

For his generation (Gen Y), he says that prejudice for them is an outward display of one's own ignorance that has no inward bearing on the person being stereotyped. Everyone in his environment has an "urban attitude". They all dress like urban kids. He said you will find white kids who wear their pants "saggin". You will also find Black and Latino kids who only wear Abercrombie and Fitch. Nothing is exclusive to one culture. This is due mainly to the premise that kids identify more with figures they see in music and television. So parents are working hard to afford their kids the luxuries of clothing and technology, no matter their socioeconomic status. "Poor kids can look rich, and kids with money may look poor, because they just don't buy into the mainstream high-end fashion. They may choose to dress like a skate boarder, with ripped jeans and worn out sneakers.White girls wear hair extensions and weaves. It is about individual choices."

To him, kids are more individualistic rather than identifying with race. They have more prejudices being identified as Emo, Cutters or suicidal; things that are psychological in nature. His peers are actually looking for ways to form their own identities against cultures of any kind. " Sometimes the Haitian kids say don't call me black. The Cuban kids, don't want to be mistaken for Puerto Rican. Every one is proud of their own heritage apart from the broader cultures".  

I asked him to describe a time when he felt discrimination. He said, there are times the police will roll up on a bunch of black kids walking home from school, but they don't mind it. He feels that is the nature of being black, these things are just inherent. "We learned to expect and accept it. We live in a equally diverse community, so I don't feel threatened." But, at the same token he understands my perspective on "performance identity" because if he ventures into a predominately white area, things may be different. However, in his immediate environment "performance identities" just means you are afraid to be yourself, so it's a negative. This clearly signifies that the discourse regarding race is situational in this discourse community. I also want to investigate if this is the beliefs of his peers or just the way that I have taught him to view things from both sides of the coin. He has always been wise beyond his years. 

These issues need to be brought to the forefront and my hopes are to convey that in my monologue or spoken word essay. My only disclaimer with my monologue is that my sleep-state self is much smarter than my awake self. I am a little bit nervous about performing for my project, and really the execution. I have never done this before. Writing this piece has to have so much meaning, but the inner self says do it.


Blog #3

What will my part be in my groups presentation?
The part in which I will be taking within my groups presentation is to interview two of my teachers within my building, another teacher within our school district and a principle who has studied in China concerning education.  I have also listened to a couple of videos by Principal Kafele on how we as teachers need to "Close the Attitude Gap. What is the Attitude Gap? The relationship between teachers and students. One of the key elements is having a relationship between the student and the teacher. The teacher has to ask themselves, Do I Know My Student/Students?
  • How do I learn as a student?
  • How do they process information towards learning?
  • Compassion- Do I care about them?
  • Do I have a re-pore with my students?
  • Do I know what their needs and aspirations are?
  • What do I know about them?
  • What keeps them motivated to excel?
  • What keeps them inspired to want to learn?
  • What do you know about their experiences and reality?
  • What do you know about their goals and aspirations?
  • What are his/her challenges and obstacles?
  • Do I believe in my student/students?
There are more questions to be asked . But you are able to get the feel as to which direction we need to go as teachers.
The gap between the student who has the will to learn and the student who does not have the will, the drive to learn. Why is that and what can I (teacher) do to help that student to have that zeal?
I want to show this video as well as ask these questions to our students in our class. I want us to think about the question is education a race and ethnicity problem or is it a problem in which we have not connected to the students who have not a drive to learn?
As a teacher , we need to change our mind set on how do I get this kid to be hungry for success,desire for success and to want success.I NEED TO CONNECT WITH THAT STUDENT!!!!
I hoping to inform our class on ways in which we as educators can "Close the ATTITUDE Gap and the achievement gap will follow.

Blog # 3 – Race, Ethnicity, & Identity

After our conversation/workshop on Tuesday, our group made great progress. We left class feeling like we had a sense of what we wanted to do. We had direction as to what we wanted to focus on for our project. It was suggested by Dr. Zamora to use the show Finding Your Roots as one of our main sources, so we discussed the different ways we could show that to the class. We talked about maybe showing an entire episode or somehow editing parts that we feel have to do more with what we want to say.
Our project will be mostly collaborative, so we didn’t really go over who is doing what in a specific way yet. We discussed that our project will focus on how we perceive/identify ourselves as individuals and then seeing how others perceive us.
We also talked about microaggression and we talked about incorporating that into our project. We briefly brainstormed about some of us sharing personal experiences with microaggression and the possibility of sharing that to the class somehow, but this is an idea that I felt still need to be developed.
Our group homework was to watch a few episodes of Finding Your Roots and throughout the week we have emailed each other and share articles, different texts and ideas that we might use as part of our project. Some of what was shared over the week had to do with microagression, identity and voice. On Tuesday, we’ll talked about how can we link everything and where else do we want to go with this project.