Category Archives: Student Blogs

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

Blog #5

To be completely honest, the thought of developing a MOOC is a little frightening only because I have no background experience with it and never knew of MOOC before last weeks class. Though it is comforting to know that Dr. Zamora as well as a few classmates are very familiar with this type of project. I'm sure that I am not the only one who is unfamiliar with MOOC (well, I hope that I am not). That would truly make me feel like the undergrad that I am!

In all seriousness, I think this is great idea because it seems very powerful. Powerful in the sense that we will reach people beyond our classroom in an active learning environment about why race matters. I whole-heartedly believe that this idea of a MOOC will leave room for more conversation and make this topic not so "silent" or "sensitive" any longer.

As for our projects, I have been waiting to get the ball rolling with the video that Kathy and I are working on by putting together experiences from classmates, strangers, family, and professors with microaggression. Hopefully today will be the day that our consent form will be approved so that we can finally get started! We are also composing a visual of negative comments towards microaggression that shows the OTHER side of this topic. The people who think microaggression isn't racist at all and that we are simply being too "sensitive" and need to get over it.. we will explore this with the class by pulling comments that stand out to us and see which ones stand out to YOU and why you think some people feel that this is unimportant as well as the people that feel this is indeed important.

Blog #5

Blog about individual and group progress, goals and research…

As far as our group process goes, we have been collecting research and depositing it into our Facebook group. There, everyone is able to see and comment on our information and findings. Our goal, as a group, would be to have a more solid idea for our introduction and conclusion. Those are the two pieces we will be working on together.

My individual research is going well. I am really enjoying a lot of the interviews I find on Youtube. One, for example, is a great group of interview of Chris Rock. At first I didn’t realize what they would lead me to: a movie. Chris Rock came out with a movie in 2009 called Bad Hair. After watching the interviews, I want to view the movie and possibly use segments of this in my documentary.

I also am looking into the musical Avenue Q. There is a number from this production called “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist.” In my opinion, I think this piece is genius. It is a perfect example of using stereotypes and satire to educate people. I am currently trying to find interviews on the directors or writers to get a sense of their research and inspiration.

This is where I stand currently…

Blog #5 Creating a MOOC?

I have heard of MOOCs before,. A couple of previous classes that I participated in included them as resources for the classes i.e. students were given links to the MOOCs to look up as assignments while preparing for the next class. it would never have crossed my mind to create one.

However, I would not mind knowing how a MOOC is created so long as the colleagues who know what to do are willing to teach people like me who have no idea what to do. Remember my on going battle with "" and blogging? I just finished stressing over logging onto my blogging account!! Andre, hope you are reading this.

I am willing to go along with a MOOC, I just need coaching. Sure it sounds like a challenge but it will be nice to share what we are learning with other people beyond our class.

I do not consider myself an authority on race and ethnic identity issues but I have learned some things along the way particularly an educator of English Language Learners. I am willing to share what I have learned and learn from other people as well. If conversations about race and ethnicity are difficult one can only imagine just how much more challenging the situation is when the person experiencing the difficulty also has a language barrier. If our efforts sensitizes only one person then we have made some progress but I am sure more than one person will benefit.

Notes on my Research

Ancient Historical Background:

Xiongnu, a nomadic ethnic group from the steppes of central Asia disappeared in modern society. A part of it was assimilated and absorbed into Chinese ethnic groups and Han Chinese. From this aspect, I will refer to Chinese history and Han Chinese deal with nomadic groups. Primarily I will look at Chinese History in Modern Chinese By Simian Lv. Also, I will see if I can get the book The Perilous Frontier: Nomadic Empires and China By Tomas J. Barfield from Kean Library.

Pre mordern Origin:

Although Chinese official rhetoric claimed that China is a “United populated country comprised of multiple nationalities (zhongzu, kind lineage),” the distinction between ethnicity (minzu, people lineage) and race (renzhong, human linage) was never clear. It is always perplexing to average Chinese that for the most of time people use these words interchangeably to indicate each other. The loosen usage of these words are partially the result of that the modern definition of race and ethnicity in Chinese were transported from Japanese as well as western missionaries. In ancient Chinese, zhongzu, means merely kind and minzu means indicate the same kind of person in the community (the same occupation of else). So even though it’s been taught at K- 12 education “our country is untied multi-ethnic (minzu) country, it is still confusing for most people what exactly this ethnic implies.

On the other hand, pre-modern Chinese scholars had intense debate over the question: what are we (what race do we belong to?) who are we (what are the ethnic groups that should be included in Chinese)? Based on western “scientific” racial and ethnic researches. Chinese scholars intentionally interpreted these concepts differently in order to achieve their political interests and justify their revolutionary attempts. I will do further reading mainly from The Discourse of Race in Modern China by Frank Dikötter and other Chinese racial researches to try to explain the conceptual difficulty for the African communities in china to be accepted.



Modern racial problems with Chinese African community:

From Campus Racism to Cyber Racism: Discourse of Race and Chinese Nationalism By Yinghong Cheng is the article that originally engendered by interests. This research Article gave a narrative history about African communities in modern China. Also, insightful analysis was provided about this issue. For my class presentation, I will first introduce this issue and then try to crack the situation from Chinese history. These are questions that will be answered throughout my discussion in the class. How it comes into being? Is this a completely different new issue? What will it be in the future?

Blog #5 – MOOC idea & my job in my group…

I think that creating a mini MOOC is a great idea. While it seems like a big project, I think we can somehow pull it together. I think it would be a good way to put our class out there. If the thought of a MOOC is too crazy for some of us, maybe we can try to do the mini course site first and start from there. I am not tech savvy at all but I have been taken out of my comfort zone before and in the end I feel great about what I have accomplished. Although, I have no idea how to actually create a MOOC (i.e. would it involve coding…?), I think that we have a lot of people in the class and together and can try to make it happen. With that same thought about having a lot of people in the class, I think that many of us have many different ideas and I’m not sure how that can be beneficial or if that might be counterproductive in the end. When we first spoke about our “digital omnibus” in class, I envisioned a course website where we would all link our work, using for instance, Wix; which is the only platform I’m comfortably familiar with that is capable of doing such thing. Overall, I am open to the idea of a MOOC but being that I think it might be a lot of work and we may struggle with how to manage it, perhaps we can settle for a mini course wed site which might be less daunting.

Now, talking about my particular job in my group project, I have to say that our group sort of has mini groups of two within the group. We decided to break our presentation into basically three parts so we have two members working on each part. As part of our presentation, we’ll be showing a video and asking related questions to generate class discussion. My specific job for my group project is to write out possible questions that we will be asking as part of this. While doing this, I’ll be thinking about when we can fit the question within the video we will be showing. I’ll also pay close attention on how to word the question so that it ties up with what we are trying to say and so that it also matches with a specific time in the video. Hopefully these questions allow us to connect with the stories shared in the video at a closer level. 

BLOG #5 Part 2

I totally agree with Larissa...  In order for this to become a authoritative resource for the entire world, I would need to feel more confident and be more of an authority in my experience and knowledge with writing and how race and ethnicity affects it. Right now it's all I can do to get my kids to write a paragraph about anything.

Blog #5

A MOOK... I like the idea of reaching out beyond the classroom, but I am daunted by the amount of work this would entail. I have just been doing research on a fairly narrow aspect of writing race (aimed at teachers - how do writing teachers reach students with different ethnic backgrounds? is it important to share a cultural background with the majority of your students? how much should writing teachers focus on race/ethnicity?) and I really feel I would need a more thorough grounding on the theoretical and practical reality of race and writing. I am definitely still in the learning phase of this project, and I don't know if I am even finding any of the resources that everyone already knows about. I, at least, would feel extremely self-conscious pretending I was capable of creating a MOOK on this topic (or maybe any topic?)

Regarding my research for teachers, I have stumbled across some good resources. I have been re-reading a book called Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire and it has a lot of parallels to the movie Freedom Writers. While it is encouraging to find these positive examples of reaching at-risk students, (sometimes of the same ethnic group as the teacher and sometimes not), it is also discouraging to me because these examples show teachers who have sacrificed almost every other part of their lives to reach their students. Above all, the lesson is that it is not easy for anyone to reach at-risk students and teachers are often left to fight the powers-that-be (administrators, standardized test producers, big business, government bureaucrats)--the very forces that should be helping teachers help students. This fact is discussed in "This is Not a Test" when a math teacher in Washington Heights provides a narrative on how schools can serve the needs of all children. but how it is teachers working against the system to make it happen.

I am still reading an old, but interesting to me, article called "The (In) Visibility of the Persona(al) in Academe." This article discusses the need to provide relevant, multi-cultural resources to all students. But she also narrates her struggle with finding literature for a composition class after dealing with an episode of anti-Semitism in one of her classes. The author is Jewish and she said she had no trouble selecting reading assignments that reflected a wide range of cultures, but she struggled with finding literature to describe the Jewish experience. She said that she "became hypersensitive to references to Jews in literary works by writers who are not Jewish" and she further struggled with any negative depictions of Jews in literature. Later, she said that she learned to read literature as literature, instead of a representation of an entire race of people. Furthermore, she said that sometimes it takes someone with more distance from an experience to show it in another light. I thought it was a different take on multicultural discussions--the author was stressing that literature is a work of art and it requires an open-minded reader to see it from all different perspectives. Maybe this is just a rationalization for more inclusion and less exclusion?

You Ain’t Heard? I Gotchu.

Here go Obama yesterday on “Bloody Sunday”

Here go John McWhorter on txtg

Here go Gunther Kress on multimodality (because)

…And have a nice day–no Mankind.

…And the more I steady think about the MOOC–I also gotta give props to Larissa and Eloy because we’d just been talkin bout MOOCs when I brought it up. And it just made the most kind of sense, know what I’m saying? (Considering I’m currently basically paying for one.) Because it shouldn’t be the way it is: chumping folks outta mad dollars: interdisciplinary training, i.e., sensitivity to differences, runnin you beaucoup bucks like it not a given. Because the truth thereof is: folks not gettin the exposure the way others be getting it. My black experience has made me privy to injustices the way others’ not for them; not saying, either, that we all not susceptible to a level of fuckedupness in life, respectively. Severity, IMO, just different. Like, it doesn’t necessarily switch up everybody trajectory of life the way it do others, I feel like. I mean, do y’all remember CrimingWhileWhite? Hilarious. Like, duh. White boys and girls I remember growing up wit always gloatin bout how they parents schooled them on how not to get dogged by cops, the crazy shit they got away with; whereas me and mines was trained to be as docile as lambs, to take it: “That’s just the world we live in.” No. An aside, too: I get pullt over. White passenger woman in the car wit me get axed: “Is everything OK?” Meanwhile I’m getting TSA’d the hell out of, out of view of the dash cam, being told: “I pulled you over for your headlight.” No. (It don’t help none either that I’m a broadchested brother. But don’t let the literature and autodidact-ness fool you, though.) Just no and more no, and “nein,” and why not over a PA system, for hyperbole sake?

…And this; peace.