MOOC Unit-Writing Reflection

Previous post is my contribution to the MOOC. I’ve yet to link anything, but links soon come. They might help trim some of the wordage, though I’m not sure if it’s too wordy. What I gleaned from other MOOCs is that while some parts are streamlined with links and videos, some parts read like short essays with hyperlinks and images interspersed. And because code meshing is a linguistics thing, not something people casually confabulate about in a bar or at dinner, I figured more better. I could be wrong, though. That I have before. Not admitting to a fault, however. I’m an Aries. Can’t wait to see the finished product, though–happy writing, y’all. <3

What Is Codemeshing?

A Definition-ish

The masticated version is code meshing language blending. Mo betta: it language democracy. (It, e.g., wha I’ms doing when I elect to idiosyncratically phono-trip on the sentential tip with the wordage the way I just done did, with the syntax borderline tohubohu and smacking of somethin you might’ve caught on your No. 1 overtly crass track, 808s booming, something. That said–and this a brother talkin just so y’all know–it not just a black thang. It ain even a remedial thing. It’s just a thing, unless you prefer “thang”.)

It refer to the concurrent use of different languages, dialects, and genres, sounds, and even more distinct linguistic features and conventions in a single rhetorical performance. As a one Vershawn Young notes, It’s more than mixing Spanish and English; it not necessarily Spanglish or Chinese English, or “Chinglish”. Break the epidermis and code meshing more than just arbitrarily inserting so-called “nonstandard” wordage, verbiage, language, aqui y alli. It’s chaos in language–and if you know anything bout chaos: it’s fair.

Why Codemeshing, d’o[gh]h?

Because–for reasons. Seriously, though: it not like a gun to our heads to codemesh like that–that is, if we don’t value other folks languages like that. That is, if we not about that language equality life I’m taumbout. That is, if it under the lot of us to adopt another (language, dialect) for the sake of another brother or sister of the humankind variety different than us. That is, if we don’t find it a li’l sus that the way you talk, especially if you non-White (when White folk out here been butchering they heirloom all higgledy-piggledy since forever) could mean the rest of yo colored life.

And should we not, right–for that you got folks out here pushin that code chicanery switching. Code switching: the deliberate use of one language over another at a given time as the rhetorical situation calls for it. Traditionally, this mean speaking one way with, say, yo boyz, and another with your bosses and/or teachers. This mean all that “I mean, like, I’m sayin, yo,” garbage relegated to the “streets” (unless it’s “streetz”) whereas that “Queen English” jus fine bout every place else you go. And some take it further, talkin bout how it BETTER for one to drop all that whatever-the-hell else they be talkin altogether and speak “proper”.

Disabusing oneself of they Primary Discourse is something speakers of nonstandard English, or just another language altogether, been doing for years: First Generation immigrants in this country be giving it to they seeds when it comes to how they speak; they say they gotta learn proper English if they want to be successful, get a job, keep a job, be respected. Black parents pulled that cajoling stuff on their youngsters, too, chuckin they favorite hiphop CDs out moving cars, unless that was me and my boyz’ folks.

Codeswitching as Language Bleaching

Think of it this way: designating one language King of another, let alone everyone, is NO QUESTION discrimination; straight up. Code Switching, to invoke Young, is rooted in segregationist ideology, the notion of “same but not equal.” It effects hierarchal complexes when it come to how people perceive language; it make peeps bias towards language, favoring one way of speech over another. And granted: why it might be funny from time to crack on a person bout how they non-articulate anything ever cuz they speech a hotmess (I’ve done it, had it done to me, peeped others doing, it’s a thing) it not the same as codifying features of other (or Other) people’s speech jus so that you can discriminate against; i.e., not hire them; or, rather, hire them for a job they not gonna be interacting with people on. That type of reduction be making people mad self conscious, yo; be making them wanna not be themselves, not even around blood. They get around blood an can’t even talk to them anymore, they feel like. Because they done went an gone forfeited they heritage, they Home Dialect, Language, Discourse, don another and just so that they can earn a li’l cred in the marketplace. Tell me now (and be real witcha Boy, too) how that not the same as, say, selling ya soul, ballooning ya breasts to sick-ass-hentai-porn proportions, or bleaching yo skin (Think–Sammy Sosa) just to be mo palatable?

“Multiculuralism” a Joke

AKA “multiculti,” it the “Newest, Latest” the suits in they conglomerates selling minorities and Liberal Whites on. It’s the flava of the month–hittin’ y’all a li’l bit of that everythang! Because–POSTRACIAL.

But we’ve been trying to establish here that code meshing gotta also do more with that deep structural stuff that go on past the epidermis of just mixing “standard” and “nonstandard” words together in communication. If you look at it, codemeshing appeal to the myriad of sensibilities if you doing it right. Language is rooted in experience, it’s how certain language speakers relate to the world around them, identify with things.

Standard English (Ideology) only appeal to one sensibility, though. And such linguistic myopia detrimental to those whose language composition not hidebound by the dominant, or even representative of it; e.g. Black English speakers.

The thing about cultural sensibilities, though: don’t everybody share the same. What I deem important to talk about, focus on, is based on my cultural sensibilities which may not necessarily align with those of the dominant culture; so we not going 2 c i 2 i. And we far from having equal representation of folks representing they-selves in this country. So what you got are a bunch of privileged folks doing the job of portraying Other people within a consumer based exploitative media culture whose sensibilities are in contrast to the actual people their representing. That’s like me assuming authority on women when I’m nor have ever been a woman. But I’m going to come out my face and portray a woman while expecting to capture all of the nuances that make being a woman, in whatever context, womanhood. That’s not right.

But it stay happening is what I’m sayin. Representation of The Minority by The Dominant be diaphanous, as in flimsy, un-authentic, fresh off the conveyor belt. Straight bologna. It been long planted ( what people should be focused on, interested in, be getting a kick out of, by the dominant since, like, forever. This why I take issue with today’s issues of comics. Not that I don’t dig how they making historically white guys into women and/or brown people, but is it genuine? Or: how genuine is it? And: should it matter?

Think–Is it plausible for every brown person to speak the way they white and male and straight counterparts speak; or act the way they act? Also who’re we entrusting with these delicacies? And: why should we? Because just because?

Like, we not superheroes, and I get it: getting all in a dither bout how this person representing me and mines in the realm of fiction shouldn’t be all that red hot, maybe. But if we gon suspend reality when it come to defying gravity, clearing edifices in singles bounds, and such, then at least give us that. It not all that irrational, much of an overreaction to take writers, editors, illustrators–ALL OF THE PORTRAYERS THEM–to task when it comes to writing race.

I’m out; 1.

The Countdown: 1 week until #WritingRace mini-MOOC


We are in the final stages of preparation now.   We will take this conversation public with a new #WritingRace course site which highlights 5 special topics to consider and 5 public/online events.

You are all now putting your finishing touches on your group “Homepage”.  Each unit homepage is meant to jump-start a conversation about a particular topic: “Race & Identity”; “Race & Popular Culture”; “Race in the Classroom”;  “Race in the International Context”;  and “The Politics of Language & Race”.

Some tips while working on the final draft of your unit homepage:

1. Compress and edit a concise  statement of what you would like to discuss as a unit.  Clear and simple is good.  What questions are you setting out to explore together?

2. Think from a design standpoint.  Too much dense text is off-putting.  Design a unit home page that is engaging to a visitor.  The content you choose to share can be provided via embedded links.  Share just enough material for the curious participant to get thinking about your topic.

3.  Make your unit home page both visually appealing and easy to read/navigate.

4.  Remember there is a big difference between your class presentation and this unit homepage. The unit homepage is more streamlined and is easily “digested” by someone who surfs their way to our site.


Your “to do” list for class next week:

1.  The FINAL DRAFT of the unit homepage must be completed before class on 3/31.  It should be inserted into the #WritingRace website that colleague Nikki Dreste has sent to each of you.  Each of you has been given administrative access to the site.  I recommend you set up a working editorial schedule for your small group for this week’s completion of your unit homepage.  ****Suggestion: perhaps you can each contribute/edit to your working document up through Saturday, and then on Sunday you can work on final editing together at an appointed time for everyone in the group.  I am thinking of an “online meeting” as you edit together in real time.  Please note:  This work CANNOT be left to the last minute.

2.  Think about our PR plans for this project.  This is an OPEN experiment.  Open means welcoming, being warm and sharing, anyone can join at any point.  It is ok to stop by and check out our site briefly, or to join our community actively through our social media events.  Anyway someone wants to explore this issue with us is perfect.  That is the heart of true openess.

Who would you like to invite to check out our site?  Personal invitations really matter.  Make a list of some people you will share this work with.  Who will you encourage to participate in our public events?  How can we get “groups” to join our community?  Other classes? All of your ideas are welcome.  Let’s cast a wide and diverse net.  We will outline a comprehensive PR plan in class next Tuesday.  Everyone should come to class with a “short list” of potential “invitees”.  Get ready to get your “twitter on” soon.  It is time to grow our network guys ;).  This work will matter more if we connect with others who want to think through these issues further.

I am confident that we will all be proud of what ensues from our efforts henceforth.

See you next Tuesday night,

Dr. Zamora






Blog 4 Conversations about Race

Why do we need to have conversations about race?

We need to have conversations about race because it makes us behave in ways that effect how we function in society. From a biological factor such as skin color, we form these ideologies about people's languages and cultures. Racism becomes a mental illness we all suffer from, in the sense that it is desensitizing. We forget that we are a human race-- instead we are broken down to ethnic categories that allow us to be victims of discrimination, social exclusion, marginalization, genocide, cultural mistrust and colorism. Fear, hate, and schizophrenic ideologies of superiority separate us, when in fact we are all equal. Which means, if my neighbor lay on a operating table on the brink of death, I can give him my blood, or my organs to sustain his/her life. It doesn't matter what race, color or creed I am.
For 37 years, I have struggled with the pain of racism and how it has effected my journey through life. Being a victim can cause so much detriment to your soul and self-worth. Being in this class, having conversations about our experiences has allowed me to move forward with a lot of my issues. Talking about race can do the same for others. Reading about race relations, identifying issues that effect the community allowed me to learn why I have been a victim, as well as other cultures. Culturally, minority groups are underrepresented in ever aspect of American culture from sciences, the arts, media, literature, and popular culture. Our histories are ignored, and stereotype and ignorance are standing in place of our real identities.

To shift the tides we need to confront the stereotypes, microaggressions, and racial biases head on. Black bodies are only respected for entertainment on the basketball courts, and football fields, or as objects of sexuality. All Latinos are being identified as immigrants-- America's problem, yet the solution to economic development in the labor industry. Muslims are viewed as a threat to the security of our nations borders. While Asian American's seem to be synonymous with math and technology. Once we get past these assumptions, we can look to seek some form of justice and social change. 

A speculation, a marathon, a gamechanger

To begin, dig: coming clean. Your Boy ain seen his group all break-week long. That not to say he ain been working. He just been working. But he back off that break now like therapy and game for what’s up, know what I’m sayin. Or he sayin. Never mind.

As for what’s up, secondly: all hunkered down in The Stacks all week before literally pounds of dusty hardcovers ain NO ONE probly even THINKIN bout checkin out no time soonish and I thought I just might confiscate for perpetuity, Your Boy stumbled pawn a revelation.

Celestial orbs all aligned (plus being all mean-like to my vitals, disabusin myself of the necessity to sleep and eat, in pursuit of my best iteration) scribbling the whole thang down was borderline an immaculate birth. (This call to mind a one Hova’s mama’s intro off dat Black Album, when she said, saying, “Weighing at 10lbs, 8oz, he was the last of my four children, the only one who didn’t give me any pain when I gave birth to him, and that’s how I knew that he was a special chile.” And that not to say I’s proprietor of some nextlevel topline stuff–just justifyin my thug, you feel me.)

So. A one Walter Ong, he once said that the audience always a fiction

–Check it: Ong, he say that being that writing basically neé rhetoric, the game been done changed since cats started putting utensils to wood pulp and ceased droppin science via they emceeing.

Because, see, for the writer, information sent in time pods on some cryogenic stuff: it’s static, and stagnant, till it dredge up and get all oxidized. If they wanna appeal to the sensibilities of an audience, or non-audience, whether invoked or addressed, living Now Now or Tomorrow, they then gonna have to make them up, i.e., the audience.

So: writing is makebelieve, yes? Not like fugazi, but it’s imaginative like that.

Writing, the efficacy thereof then be pendent on the efficacy of the imagination a one author done imbued the composition with. Then: The tighter yo imagination of your reader the better you cast your reader into whateva role they meant to play and the better the setup gone be for them to follow yo rhetoric. This, he say, is “ficitonalization,” and it’s a twoway street, for just as author fictionalize so do reader.

The reader embodies the role said author casts them in. Say you an actor, right. You get a script. Script basically directions for you in order to get the point of your role in relation to others’ as they all pertain to the umbriferous storyline across to a live audience, right, if it’s a play. Same thing with writing.

Except wit writing: reader both actor and audience. So: if you can’t imagine yo reader like that, yo writin gone be funky, bcuz it intrinsically hidebound by the identity of yo reader. Which is why it hard (or at least for me) to write a paper on the subject: “What I Want To Be When I Grow Up”. Because who in the hell am I even talking-wriitng to, because no ever asked or asks, or is even really asking me that, really. Consideration thereof never crossed Your Boy’s Third Eye. And even if it did, the audience is who, my teacher, because I would never speak to my teacher bout no C-4 classified material such as how I wanna be a rapper that.

Wha i wanna be when I grow up? I mean, with the presence of mind at the time I was 7, maybe, maybe I could’ve went:

“Hi, Batman. When I grow up, I wanna be just like you. Because you fite badguys and i want to fite badguys, too. I know cops fite badguys but they sometimes mean to people. Cops scare me, too. You not mean, though. You don’t scare me. I’m not a badguy, though. And you not a cop, neither. You Batman!”

And this precisely what Ong gettin at: audience is always reduced to one monolithic person, fictionalized, invoked or addressed, though some may argue “addressed,” especially when you consider “jargon” and “nomenclatures” and the one about ‘talking the talk,’ which implies that an audience already DO exist, the sensibilities thereof always given primacy by the author for the sake of being received. (And, duly noted.)

But that is what I feel like my beef is exactly with the whole writer-reader infrastructure. Because Ong fail to communicate who actually our imaginative audience are–or “is” rather. Think–Demographics.

He say that this fictionalization process done moved downstream, essentially framing all our expressions. We take point from what others have done and has been known to work, or at least get dollars thrown at it, i.e., sell. In which case then: we have to consider the makeups of The Runners: you know, white guys.

And so it safe to assume, I feel like–that everything done and STILL being done is to appeal to the cultural sensibilities of the dominant culture, or so I do speculate. Hence: “a speculation,” the encomium of the eponymy of this expression.

So “multiculturalism” ain no more multicultural as postracial America is postracial; that it not really multiculturalism, at least not beyond the epidermis.

And when you consider the prolific number of scholarship out there on comics as multimodal technology in the teaching of writing and reading literacy–Yo, ain nuffin gonna change then. Because we still maintaining that same tip when it come to that communication, at least in public. And we can’t ignore the deleterious effects of such cerebral cleansing: the idea that one language trumps another, especially if that language (the one being faded) your primary language, or dialect. Cajoling like that not fair–Can I get a witness??

We teach folks to code switch as if this something to be proud of–and while I get that some folks proud thereof, how do we then explain telling minorities to carry themselves a certain way in public so not to be perceived a certain way by the police; meanwhile: everyone else (White) not; so: Why? (And just think of being lefthanded in this righthanded world. I’m left-handed, for one. I STAY having to deal with technology and just things favoring righthanded folk. No amount of switching training or attempts as disabusin me of the use of my lefthand gonna change that–I’s gone be a southpaw till I DIE, a physiological minority dealin with righthandedness the same way racial minorities deal with disparities in how they can or can’t carry themselves in public; and that not fair. And like homegirl Smitherman done noted of a one Nikki Giovanni: “that’s why we always lose, not only cause we don’t know the rules, but it ain’t even our game” (“White English”).)

Blog #6

Introduction to my Unit:

My topic under Race and Pop Culture is humor. Humor is an important part of our course because it shows how we, as a society have evolved. It also discusses what could still be offensive to some, and serve as an educational lesson which would lead to a relaxed discussion on race and ethnicity. Questions I plan to cover are:

  • Why is it funny?
  • What about these comedy pieces do we like or dislike?
  • Is there something we find offensive?
  • If the research mentioned wasn’t known, then how would we feel about it?


Presentation of course Materials:

This list is (currently) an ever changing list. But so far here are some of the materials I hope to use:

  • “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” from Avenue Q
  • Good Hair starring Chris Rock
  • Interviews including Chris Rock
  • Scenes from How I met your Mother (Neil Patrick Harris and Wayne Brady are brothers in the show)

These materials will all show snippets of video most likely via Youtube.

After showing a clip of desired pieces, ask “Why is this funny?” Follow up with the research behind the comedy.

I plan to use a powerpoint type of presentation and provide link and citation for all of my resources. I also plan to link the presentation to my blog. This way my classmates will have access to the resources if they wish to look further.


A List of Public events

As far as this goes, I’m not entirely sure which I would like to use. I know that my group and I discussed have a group Twitter chat using a hashtag we came up with: #poprae. We had not talked about doing separate ones. I would like to bring this idea up to my group.

Building a #WritingRace mini-MOOC!

imagesSo, it is official.

After a bit more discussion & reflection last week, we have decided to take our project “public” by turning our #WritingRace course into an invitation.  We will open up our conversation about why race matters to anyone who would like to join us.   We are turning our course into a mini-MOOC:  all of you are designing the “units”, the course materials, and the ways in which we can connect with others.  This decision grows out of our collective aspiration to make our work matter in the world.

I am quite confident that we will have a meaningful exchange of ideas concerning race & ethnicity with what remains of our course.  That’s a given.  But by inviting others into our conversation, we all aspire to extend this conversation beyond our own classroom walls.  We are now seeking a more networked learning experience.  Imagine the possibilities:  -making new connections, -meeting new colleagues and friends, -discovering new tools and resources, -building new coalition, -discovering new forms of collaboration.         I, for one, am excited.img_collaboration

We determined during our last class that we would take our mini-MOOC course website LIVE on March 31.  We have a couple of weeks left for you to finalize the course content.

With this in mind, here is your homework for next class:

-Write a rough draft of your unit as it would appear on the course website.  Think of this document as a group blog post with multi-modal content for your co-learners or course participants to read/watch/consider.  Please create this rough draft in a shared google doc.  Each of your group mates should have editorial access to the document, and you should be adding content and editing together over the course of the next week (before 3/24).  If you need help opening up a shared google doc for your group, just email me.  (Here is a link to a “unit” from a MOOC called Connected Courses that I facilitated last Fall.  This might serve as a reference point or a template, although I think this is considerably longer or more dense than yours should be.)

-Here is a template of what should go into your group rough draft doc:

1.  Introduction to your unit (an explanation of your theme and why it matters).  What are the key questions you hope to address in this discussion?

2.  Presentation of “course materials” – this can include text, links to readings, videos, interviews, photos, etc.  Think of this document as a “mini-syllabus” for your presentation.  It should be easy to read and engage with, and it should NOT be too long and encumbered.  It can include creative work that you have made, it can include readings that you have discovered that you think are crucial to the topic.  Please be sure to cite everything you are using so readers know where the material came from.

A list of your public events (a schedule) – Will you have a twitter chat?  (what date & time?  will it be at the #WritingRace hashtag on twitter?)  Will you have a google+ chat with specific guests? (what date & time?), etc.  I think there is room here for other creative possibilities.

-Please send me your rough draft google docs by 3/23 so I can make suggestions and offer feedback.  There is no blog assignment for this week.  You work this week is to pin down a solid draft of your group’s course unit.

I am still working on the course “shell” that will house all of your content and materials.  Your drafts will eventually go live in this “shell” site.  I will share with you this “shell” next week and we will consider the course design together during class next Tuesday (3/24).

This is going to be fun everyone!


See you next Tuesday,

Dr. Zamora






Black is…bad?

White is right

A conversation that my group and I stumbled upon and spent time to discuss. We included our cultures experiences of whitening cream and how being lighter skinned is desired across all spectrum of ethnicity. In my own experience, I know for a fact that lighter-skinned filipinos are known as Mestizos (mixed with any other heritage, in most cases Spanish) which are seen as the more "attractive" and desired skin tones. It is so important to the point where people using whitening creams, bleaching their skin, and taking in supplements all in order to whiten their skin.

But how did this universal belief that white is beautiful begin? With a belief like that, minorities are already internalizing that they are placed on a lower level. But a question that we asked ourselves was when does this conditioned belief begin? Does it start when we go to school? Is it something that is learned in history books? I came across a study done on YouTube including a White doll and a Black doll and I think it answered the question to a certain extent, that this starts much earlier than we expected.

I don't expect you to watch the entire thing (I didn't finish it myself) but I thought it was definitely an intriguing thing to watch. This class taught me that there is much more than learning, that there is such a thing called "un-learning" and it is just as important as its counterpart.

Blog Group Project

I have been absent and out of the loop for a while, due to illness. I am still catching up on blogs, and readings from my group. Being absent on Tuesday was a bummer. I am sure there was an effort to come up with a solid plan in my group. But, we still need to hash out some ideas with everyone being present. What I propose to contribute to the group is to get the class thinking about code switching, or code meshing, by giving some examples and excerpts. Code switching and code meshing are two different language ideologies. We learned this from Andre's insightful articles and links. I would like to show the difference in that perception. Showing, how code switching being used to encourage those who write and speak with a vernacular to leave their own dialect to switch to standard English, opposed to code meshing which blends languages and dialects in one discourse. The best way to do this is through some sort of interactive exercise, that draws awareness in a visual way. Since, we all agreed we are visual learners, the goal is to educate the class, by making connections from cultural perspectives. 

Today, there is literature written that serves as a how to guide for educators and students, to help them bring code-switching and subtle ways to get rid of it, so to speak. There are lessons to encourage culturally and linguistically diverse students to use Standard English Grammar in the classroom.
I am curious to see if you all find biases and prejudice in the text and if you think it will serve as a useful tool.

Here is something else that I came across. A teacher using a stylized pedagogy to connect with her students. Although it would not be considered code switching, because she is using Standard English Grammar, she is still employing a cultural performance identity. Can this be considered code-meshing? What do you think?

Blog #5

I've been slacking a little this week on my assignment (midterm week) but i've realized that I find myself a little lost while researching my topic.

I'm part of the Politics of Language group and my plan is to create a compilation of short videos. Included in these videos will be people reading poems by authors who often cover topics of race and language. The difficulty came when I realized that most poems I am finding don't cover language at all and for the most part are about identity (and I know there is a separate group for that already). I just want to avoid delving into a topic that is separate from my own so I don't end up losing my way. I hope that when I dive further into my research it is easier to find poets that can help with my topic.


If anyone knows of any specific poems or even poets that may be able to help me, feel free to send a link through twitter! Much appreciated