Sunday, February 27, 2011

GLSEN: Anti-Bullying Laws

Anti-bullying laws and policies should be put into action nationwide. Bullying is defined as a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people. It can implant a fear, which keeps the victim from attending school and riding the bus. GLSEN’s studies show that 9 out of 10 LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders) experienced bullying because of their sexual orientation in 2009. Nearly every state has their own anti-bullying, yet in states with enumerated anti-bullying laws, LGBT students experience less discrimination against their sexual orientation than those in states with common laws.
Bullying is something that happens everyday. Nobody benefits from it but it happens. Arne Duncan, who is in charge of the Department of Education, purposed policies in order to cure bullying and harassment. The policies are very detailed and gives example for each provision. Duncan listed key components of existing anti-bullying laws from 29 states. The laws were divided into 11 sections, which ranged from listing examples of bullying behavior to events in bullying incidents. The Department of Education has extended anti-bullying law beyond the classroom and playground and into and around school buses. Duncan says schools can have an enormous impact on preventing bullying but the question is can we eliminate bullying.

Arne Duncan on bullying:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Richard Rodriguez's Aria

In the article, Aria, written by Richard Rodriguez, he notes through his own experience that integrating into a new culture is difficult. That is very true. Incorporating a new language is probably the most difficult obstacle for immigrants to overcome. In “Aria, he discusses being a bilingual student and describes his awkward attempts to come to term with his Spanish identity and public identity which is English. English is the public language. He emphasizes the need for a public language in order to fit.
Rodriguez, as a child, felt that by speaking English, he would leave behind his Spanish identity. He also felt that speaking English would offend his family. It wasn’t until then that his family was beginning to speak English at home. Speaking English meant they were able to have more confidence and Rodriguez began to notice them participating in society. For Rodriguez, this public language becomes his key to unlocking the door to opportunities. Yet the Spanish identity at home disappeared. The bond that his family once shared was different. He believes that people loses identity to fit in to the public’s identity.
Sometimes I ask myself, “Why is English so universal?” Lets take it from another country perspective besides the U.S. What bothers me is that people generally have to know a foreign language, especially English, to land a good job in their own country. Everyone seems to casually accept this as a fact of life. But something’s definitely not right here. Normally, if you go to a foreign country, you’re at a disadvantage if you don’t speak their language. But in countries in Asia, for example Cambodia, when a foreigner comes to your country, you’re the one who is at a disadvantage for not being to communicate with them in their language. Foreigners can come to live and work here without knowing a word of Khmer, and often making more money than all of the Cambodian employees combined.  How would you feel?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Do You Feel Privileged?

In the dictionary, privileges means a special advantage, immunity, permission, right, or benefit granted to or enjoyed by an individual, class, or caste. Either people have privileges or they do not. In the article, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” written by Peggy McIntosh, made me feel very enlightened. I feel that the arguments she brought up were compelling and unbiased. She discusses white privilege and its effects upon her life. I feel that this article can be prove to be helpful to people of all races/backgrounds because it puts us all on common grounds.
McIntosh starts off with the idea of white privilege by linking it to men’s privileges. She believes “whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege”(1).  She is a white person and she realizes she had been taught to believe that racism is something which puts others at a disadvantage. She had been taught not to see white privilege as an advantage. If you may have notice, just being white can guarantee that you won’t be categorized because of the color of your skin.
It could be as little as being followed in a store, or being denied a seat at a restaurants, clubs, etc…  The white culture will always be categorized as feeling comfortable and confident. When you look at other races, they are categorized to feel uncomfortable and inferior. McIntosh claims that “If these things are true, this is not such a free country; ones' life is not what one makes it; many doors open for certain people through no virtues of their own”(4). This conflicts the idea of democracy because a person’s skin color categorizes his or her status in society.
“A "white" skin in the United States opens many doors for whites whether or not we approve of the way dominance has been conferred on us”(6). McIntosh discussed many cases where she felt that white privilege has played a role in her development in society. She is aware of it too. The only way to change things is by being persistent and getting heard. When talking about change, having a black president in office is not enough. Only with a mutual efforts can these issues be solved, and these ideas must be brought out into the open. We need to set aside all feelings of blame and guilt to focus on a change in society. Through her writing, McIntosh is reaching out to others.

Stereotypes and White Privilege: