Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Post-Reading Questions Week 14

I think there are a lot of issues in the criminal justice system. There are so many cracks in the system that so many people are able to slip through. I think it is not going to work really well until we figure out how to change things for the better. We talked about the PIC in class and I was able to learn more about it. I think that since most people in jail are there because of the people who make money off of them. It's a selfish way for people to become rich easily. They can throw people in jail and take advantage of the lack of obeying labor laws in prisons. It is crazy to me because we are told prisons are used to correct wrongs that a person has done when really all they do is separate us from the problem so we no longer see it. That does not keep the problem from existing though. It is like putting a band-aid on a cut. It temporarily protects it, but it does not actually do any healing. What we need to do is solve the problems that cause people to be put in jail instead of just building more prisons and filling them up and then moving on to building the next prison. I think in the article about abolishing the PIC was most interesting to me. I liked the idea of creating more rehabs for people and providing more resources for them to get help. Drug addicts do not get the help they need in jail and it does not solve the problem of why they were in there in the first place. It just puts the problem away for a certain amount of time and then when they can no longer hold it, they let it back out into the world to only end up back in the same place later on. It is like people do not want to see people change for the better. I feel like it is just a way for people to be able to keep a "bad" part of society existing so that they feel more superior about themselves. I also think that we should decriminalize low income schools. People assume that they are going to cause problems because of stereotypes and prejudice towards typically people of color when really most of the time all we leave for them to do is follow their stereotypes. We do not leave room for people to be able to change and become more than what we say they are. If someone grows up being told that they are a criminal then almost every time they are going to believe it. I think the best thing for us to do is start by breaking many vicious cycles that exist in our culture today that keep putting more and more people in prison and allowing business and government to get rich off of them.
Word Count: 492

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pre-Reading Week 13

It has been a big eye opener for me so far from what we have learned in class about the Prison-Industrial Complex. I never thought much about what prisons do besides the fact that they are supposed to punish and correct those who committed a crime. I never realized how much it is a vicious cycle though and how it is used as a money maker. In my opinion race has a big connection to crime. We often see certain races such as blacks as being the ones to blame for crime in humanity, but we never often think of why it is mainly them who commit the crimes. Minorities often get the short end of the stick when it comes to crime because we tend to overlook the crime going on in white committees. It is not only minorities who are the majority of who commits crime it is just the result of a vicious cycle that was created way back in the days after slavery was abolished. After slavery was no longer allowed, whites had lost their control and domination over people of color so they would create new ways to undermine the system and still hold their social hierarchy status. They would stereotype people of color, particularly blacks, negatively so that people who still view them as inferior to whites. Since they are viewed negatively by so many people it makes it harder for them to succeed and they end up resorting to crime as a solution in order to make it in the world. Prisons in the United States serve as a place to hold people who have committed crimes in order to punish them and correct their crime  I find prisons useful in some ways and in some ways I don’t. While it does keep criminals off the streets and endangering society, it doesn't really offer a solution to change the person for the better. To me, prisons most of the time just build the anger in the person who was put in prison in the first place. Often when one is released from prison they are scrutinized against for the rest of their lives which doesn't give them a chance to change and make a difference for themselves for the better. In order to stay off the streets and keep from committing a crime a person needs to see a positive change in them selves first before they can leave their criminal past behind, but we often don’t even  give them the chance to. If we see them as criminals and only criminals for the rest of their lives then how are they supposed to see themselves as anything else other than that?

Word Count: 449

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Pre-Reading Blog Week 11: Hip Hop

When I think of hip hop, I think of all the annoying songs that play on the radio now-a-days. All the lyrics seem to be about sex, drugs, and partying. It has come down to where only once in a while I will hear a hip hop song that is about something that I really care about and makes me feel something. I think the purpose of hip hop is to entertain, but also to connect to the audience that it pertains. The stereotype of hip hop is that a lot of guys who wear baggy pants and bling listen to the music, but in reality almost any type of person whether they dress in all black or whether they are young or old can and do listen to it as well. In the old days hip hop use to tell stories whether it was about the artist childhood or about a current event going on in the world today. One of my personal favorite songs is Juicy by Notorious B.I.G. This song is about his struggles growing up and how he didn't let anyone tell him that he couldn't go after his dream. I think this song is beautiful because it has an overall message that a lot of people can relate to. A lot (not all) of the hip hop songs on the radio today seem to be more about men dominating women and getting tons of money or the usual smoking and getting drunk. Music is all about self expression and if that's what the artist feels they need to express then so be it. I just feel that music should always have some kind of feeling to it. I think my ideas of hip hop definitely can relate to the Chris Rock video. I think what he means by it being harder to defend hip hop today is because of the fact that most of it is degrading to women and don't really have an important meaning to it. This connects to what I was explaining above about how hip hop use to tell stories with a meaning behind them.  Even though hip hop music has changed, I don't think it's trash. Work has been put into the music  regardless whether or not the lyrics are deep or if they are simple and that should be acknowledged. Hip hop can have very well put together beats which makes it enjoyable to dance to. I think some of the problems that persist in hip hop such as it being degrading to women are ignored because people don't think that it can pertain to them when really it does. It pertains to all women, maybe not intentionally, but it does. Since most women do tend to shrug the lyrics off their shoulders, it allows men to believe that these kinds of lyrics are acceptable. Some may even apply these lyrics to real life and will feel it's okay to treat women exactly how they are portrayed in hip hop music. It is a big dilemma,  but I wouldn't know a solution to ending these degrading lyrics when after all, music is art and art is a way of self expression.
Word Count: 523

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Post-Reading: Race, Education, and Disability Week 8

I think diagnosing students, especially younger children, with a disability is really tricky. There can be a lot of misdiagnosing disabilities because it doesn't depend on a single factor. While we are young, we are growing everyday and are constantly changing. When we diagnose things such as learning disabilities we usually do it at an early stage in their lives. A teacher notices that one of their students isn't processing information as fast or even at all like the other students in her class so he/she assumes that it is because of a learning disability. It is possible that the child just learns better when taught in a different way or environment. Teachers should think more about how they can help the child adjust better than passing the student on to someone else right away. It is unfair to the child to be penalized for something that could have been addressed in a way where both the teacher and student were satisfied. Another way we can misdiagnose disabilities such as a language disability does not know enough about the student. I think background information is key for situations like these. I think this ties back to "whiteness" being normal. People always just assume that if you are in America then you automatically speak English with no problem when really language in America is very diverse because their are so many people here from different backgrounds. A child may have been born in America, but that doesn't mean their parents taught them English from the start. The parents could have decided to teach them the language from their culture first before teaching them English. There is also the possibility that the parents do not know English leaving the child to have to learn on their own. In most situations, they will learn by listening to English speaking people and don't really learn how to write it. This can affect the child's ability to write. Most of the time teachers will not look at the child's background to understand why they have trouble writing in class and will often just classify it as a learning disability. Gender can also play a role in diagnosing learning disabilities. Most of the time we stereotype males as being the ones who cause trouble and aren't able to sit still when really females can be just as rowdy as males. This means that it is common that teachers will often overlook girls who actually have learning disabilities and most of the time pin a learning disability on a boy. 
Word Count: 423

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Post-Reading Week2

I would define race and ethnicity as ideas that the human race created in order to be able to belong to somewhere and also be able to seperate people into different groups based on looks and cultural aspects. The fact that they are social constructs makes it easy for people to become confused and use each word in the wrong context. I used to think that they meant the same thing until I took this class. I always asked someone what race they were and never really used the word ethnicity. Confusing between these words can easily happen especially when they are so closely related. Race is more defined in a way that it basically means a person is a certain race based on what we assume from their physical appearance. Ethnicity is defined by looking at the persons beliefs and whether or not they fit into certain groups. I definitely believe that everyone should be able to define their own race and ethnicity because it should be defined by who they FEEL they are not by what society THINKS they are. It can mean the world to some people to be able to define their own race and not have to live by what people say they are just because they look a certain way. People always connect biology with race because of the assumptions that the meaning of race is basically how a person looks. It's crazy to think that just because a person looks a certain way then that is what they are. It is even more crazy to me to think that just because a person looks a certain way then that means they can do certain things too. Stereotypes have gotten to the point where people are thinking they are true for everyone. Most people don't even bother to ask what race or ethnicity I am. They always just assume I am mexican just because I have tan skin. I have had people just start talking spanish to me assuming I would understand it. Although I am mexican, I do not speak spanish. I have also had people just assume that I can play soccer and that I am really good at it just because of the fact that I am mexican. Stereotypes like this make me frustrated sometimes because people may surprise you. Just because a person looks a certain way does not mean that that is who they are. 

Word Count: 406

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Post-Reading Week 1

    Horne's argument against teaching Ethnic Studies in Tucson Unified School District seems a little bit contradicting to me. He argues that teaching Ethnic Studies classes such as raza studies separates students and teaches them ethnic chauvinism. He say's that we try to teach kids that it's not about what race he/she came from that it's about his/her character and what he/she can and can't do. This point in his argument right here seems to really make me think because he mentions individualism and how they teach us to treat others as a individual, but yet taking a class that focuses on your own race is unacceptable? Isn't learning about your own ethnicity and where you came from a part of being individual? The social studies classes that I have been in throughout my years of middle school and high school have seemed to focus more on white history and barley touch on other ethnicity histories. I think having classes that focus on certain ethnicity's provide students with the opportunity to learn about where they came from and learn a little bit about who they are. There is more than one race in this world and the thought of not allowing students to learn about their own race seems absurd to me. If the classes were only meant for the people of that race to take them then that’s a different story, but these classes are open to whoever wants to take them and aren’t restricted to one race only. If an African American student learned about Chicano studies, they can learn about other cultures and find that they have similarities. I think the classes are good because it teaches you to step out of your comfort zone and also opens your mind to different cultures around the world.  Horne also kept mentioning the same thing over and over about how we shouldn’t be teaching kid’s about the downsides of history because it causes them to only focus on those things such as being oppressed. When asked a question his go-to answer was that it would cause students to start thinking about oppression. Michael, on the other hand, felt that in order to celebrate our country for all its glory, we have to also learn about the down sides too. The classes being taught in school now do not teach a well rounded curriculum where we are able to learn about the full truths of history.  I think Michael had a better developed argument on why we should allow ethnic studies classes because he had a lot of valid reasons that contradicted Horne’s argument. Horne definitely did not seem open minded to other opinions and kept on assisting that ethnic studies classes would divide students up and cause them to be in favor of their own race. 

Word Count: 466

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Pre-Thinking Blog Week of Sept 3rd

     When I think of Ethnic Studies I would think it is a class about learning about ethnicities. For example, learning about what defines your ethnicity and who you are. I am not exactly sure what Ethnic Studies is. So far I have learned that it is not just about defining ethnicity it also focus on issues that deal with problems of ethnicity and race. You learn about the difference between what ethnicity and race means. The class can also focus on problems different ethnicities have or are facing throughout the existence of this world. The possibilities are really endless. I think everyone can benefit from taking an Ethnic Studies class because it can be eye opening to issues around the world that have not yet been dealt with. It is also just good for everyone to learn a little bit about different cultures and ethnicities to have an open mind about people around the world. I think people who do not know a lot about their ethnicity or heritage can definitely benefit from this class as well. The class might be able to help answer some unanswered questions for that person and helped them get in touch with the place and heritage that is a part of them and always will be. For instance, I do not know a lot about my heritage and feel that it is important to learn as much as I can because it is who I am. If people do not learn where about where they came from and their ethnicity I feel that at some point later on in the future everyone will start to lose touch with who they really are. Then what is to become of our diversity on this Earth? or just in America alone? I also feel that this class can be helpful to everyone because it is good to know the difference between the meaning of race and ethnicity. Some people who aren't knowledgeable about these words can use them in the wrong text and possibly offend someone. With this class, people can be more knowledgeable about the things that they say. People can become more cautious about being offensive to other ethnicity's and treating everyone with respect. I hope at the end of this semester I will be able to elaborate more on what exactly and Ethnic Studies class is. I also hope that I will take something valuable away from this class that I can use to help me move forward in my future. 

Word Count: 415