Saturday, March 26, 2016

Social Justice Event: The Vagina Monologues

The Vagina Monologues
Thursday, February 11, 2016

To say the least, this event was awkward. I took my friend who went to it last year for her social justice event and she filled me in on everything. I went on a Thursday night and it was held in the Student Union Ballroom at RIC. All proceeds went to the Sojourner House, which is a domestic violence agency. There were 19 monologues, plus an introduction. All of these monologues definitely touched a nerve...some you were able to laugh at, some actually included you yelling out and being a part of it, some were just so awkward that everyone laughed, and others were like 
oh my god
I can't believe those things happen
wow yeah I agree, that is true.
This was an eye-opening experience because you got to see these students from RIC perform with such emotion and also hear a few of their stories at the end. In the pamphlet, there were short biographies of each individual who participated at the RIC event. I read through them before the show and again after the show and was able to put faces to the name and description and was like
WOW I would have never guessed that happened to this person!
It shows you don't know what happens behind closed doors and you need to be able to talk about these things and open up and voice your opinion and that will help others do just that. I would recommend that everyone go see this at least once in their lifetime. If not, then just google "The Vagina Monologues" and watch a few videos. Here are a few links to monologues:

Connection to articles read in class:

1. This event relates to our class discussion of SCWAAMP (Straight, Christian, White, American, Able-bodied, Male, Property Owner). Male-ness was definitely not a factor because this was an event about women and to help end domestic violence. There were no men on stage but there were some transgender people. This shows Straight-ness because definitely not everyone was straight. White-ness was also shown because not everyone was white and that domestic violence can happen to anyone, no matter the color of their skin and also because every female has a vagina, also no matter to the color of their skin.

2. Gerri August's article, Safe Spaces, relates to The Vagina Monologues because it shows how people of the LGBT community should feel safe no matter where they go and that people should be educated about it and not fear it or bully the people. A few of the actors were transgender in this event but you could tell by the way they performed that they were comfortable in their own skin. They wanted to share their story to help others out. That takes a lot of confidence because you never know how people will respond to that. I am glad that they were able to share their own personal stories with us and trust us because there is no reason anyone should be afraid to "come out".

3. The last article that The Vagina Monologues relates to is Allan Johnson's Privilege, Power, and Difference. People in the LGBT community should not be bullied. People should stand up and say the words, like Johnson says. People need to know they are safe no matter their orientation. Not standing up for someone is pretending that there is no elephant in the room. The more you talk about the issue, the more comfortable people will feel and the less the LGBT community will feel like an outcast. Being LGBT is a change in this world because people are being more open about it. The more it is talked about and understood, the less problems people will have and will be more accepting.

Literacy with an Attitude by: Patrick Finn

Literacy with an Attitude
By: Patrick Finn


I loved the way this article was set up. Patrick Finn writes about how children from different classes receive and use their education. He says that if the working-class "get empowering education you get literacy with a attitude....The fear was that literacy would make the rabble aware of the injustice they suffered, and they would attempt to overthrow the ruling class violently and take its place" (xi). The working-class deserve the same education as everyone else. They are working hard to make a living and pay their bills. It is not entirely their fault that their children got stuck in a school where teachers just have them copy their notes and not really teach them anything. They cannot afford to move to another town where the teachers come from the middle-class and actually teach and give the students possibilities and learn the way they want to.

There are definitely some exceptions in schools where the teachers are actually teaching and want the best from their students, such as how Finn taught at the Carol Jason Banks Upper Grade Center in Chicago. Finn knew he had to keep his students engaged and it showed how well he did that. The assistant principal would purposely slow down near Finn's classroom to show visitors how well he could control his class and help the students get the education they deserved.

This was really eye-opening because I did not expect the differences to be that dramatic between working-class, middle-class, affluent professional, and executive elite schools. It is all based on what your parents or family makes. It is all based on careers and income. I do not think that is right. Your family's past should not determine what type of school category you have to go to. I believe that there should not be a working-class school category because all students should be receiving the same education from teachers willing to teach it no matter what the circumstances. Schooling should be the same for everyone.

Points to share:

My high school was in the middle-class school category...but I would say it is headed towards the affluent professional school category. It has bits and pieces from each category. Students should be willing to learn what they can before getting a job because it will help them in life. Each student should want to succeed and do and be the best they can.

There were definitely a lot of connections to previous readings we had, such as Kozol (who Finn mentioned in his first chapter), Kristof (Finn mentions "land of opportunity" at the end of chapter 2), Delpit (rules and codes of power), and McIntosh (white privilege).

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Brown v. Board of Education

Brown v. Board of Education
Website, listening, NY Times


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. “It’s a much more effective way of closing the achievement gap,” said Mr. Kahlenberg.
-"Separate and Unequal" by Bob Herbert

Herbert is saying that it is the resources and environment in the classroom/school that helps the children learn. It has nothing to do with the color of their skin. I believe that anyone can benefit from a "more affluent environment", not just poor students...It can help anyone in any school.

The achievements of the modern black freedom struggle, which followed the victory in the Brown decision, have reverberated throughout society and provide a model for social change. They have given inspiration and encouragement to other Americans fighting for equal rights and access to opportunities regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, or disabilities.
-"Equality for All" from website

The Brown v. Board of Education decision has basically lit a match under all of the other issues we face in America. Equality for all is a huge thing that everyone wants, no matter their gender, race, religion, age, sexual orientation, etc. It would make for a much peaceful place to live. Over 50 years later, and to this day we are still dealing with these issues that should not have become issues in the first place.

And I would go to schools. And they would just always be trying these new things that actually sounded like they might work. They would do things like, we'll put a great magnet program here. Or we are going to really focus on literacy. We're going to start an early college high school, in which kids would earn college credit in high school. We're going to improve teacher quality. We're going to replace the principal, or do more testing. They're always talking, really, about the same things. I mean, you could take these conversations, and go from district to district to district, and you will always hear the same things.

Schools are always creating new things each and every year for students to improve. I know my school kept on changing the graduation requirements and adding new EEP classes which are college credits. All schools are changing and updating to accommodate their students and to "be the best" district.

You mean fixing segregated schools versus integrating schools.

Versus integrating schools. Because integrating schools, the very conceit of integrating schools is that you have to pay attention to race. And you have to acknowledge that you have a problem with racism. And it's more comfortable to say that it's not an issue about racism. It's just an issue about high poverty schools that need help and need more money and need more resources.

It's just resources, not race. 


Integrating schools is because of race, because everyone deserves an equal education. People do not want to admit that integrating is because of race, they want to say that it is to help the school get more resources and help for funding to make it a better school.


I still cannot believe...but yet I can...that these problems are still ongoing. People and school districts are using bandaids instead of actually doing something for a change. There needs to be equality everywhere for everyone.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

In the Service of What? by Kahne and Westheimer

In the Service of What? The Politics of Service Learning
By: Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer


I think that the beginning of this reading describes what we should be doing/getting out of our service learning at the elementary schools. Our service learning can help
"improve the community and invigorate the classroom, providing rich educational experiences for students at all levels of schooling...[we] aim to respond to the needs of the community while furthering the academic goals of students."
By doing this service learning, we are able to
"promote students' self-esteem,...develop higher-order thinking skills,...make use of multiple abilities, and...provide authentic learning experiences."
Most service learning is for the students to help their community and to give back. They are able to learn more about themselves, their community, and other social concerns. Service learning is a great opportunity for students...well basically for everyone, not just students.
"Unfortunately, in many service activities, students view those they serve as clients rather than as a resource"
Service learning should be done in order to help and give back to the students' community or school. Students should use this as a learning experience to better understand what is going on around them.

There are many different definitions and requirements for service learning, it all depends on your state and school district. Personally, I had to do at least 30 hours of community service in order to graduate. 30 hours over a span of 4 years, which is about 7.5 hours a year. Students in my school went crazy saying that is too much time...I don't have time to do that...I work and have homework and other responsibilities...etc. You have 4 years to complete 30 hours. We were told at orientation in 8th grade that by the time we graduated, we would need 30 hours. It is not a big deal at all. You are giving back and helping out...30 hours is the least you can do. I would love to see them placed in an Atlanta school or Maryland school district where they have to do 75 hours in order to graduate.

Service learning benefits everyone. There are no cons or negatives that come out of it. The time helps you better understand what goes on around you. You get to see what other people go through and help them and your community.

There is absolutely no need to complain about giving some of your time to help others.


I am curious as to who needed community service/service learning in order to graduate from high school...and how much of it. I always thought it was mandatory for everyone to do hours. I personally had to complete 30 hours and have the supervisor or person in charge sign...there was no reflection or essay or questions, just a signature. What did everyone else have to do???