Sunday, April 20, 2008

Last Talking Points!

Allan Johnson "Privlege,Power, and Difference"

  • privilege
  • saying the words
  • voacbulary
  • oppression
  • racism
  • sexism
  • hatred
  • acceptance
  • positive attitude
  • proactive decsisions
  • solutions

Argument : Johnson argues that the more society pays attention to problems of privilege and oppression the more aware and proactive we will be toward breaking the cycle that causes privilege and oppression.


  1. "Dare to make people feel uncomfortable, beginning with yourself." (Pg. 145) This supports Johnson's argument of recognizing the problem because he asks people to recognize the problem themselves and then make other people aware of it. He wants people address uncomfortable issues such as race so that other people will think about the issue and reevaluate how they view and think about the issue.
  2. "You don't have to mount an expedition to find opportunities, they're all over the place, beginning with you." (pg. 142) Johnson does not expect us to go out into the streets, market places, and malls and scream that racism and sexism is wrong, he just wants us to start with something small within ourselves and help change. He wants their personal outlooks to change and reevalute issues before helping other people reevaluate theirs. There are many opportunities to help others change their ways of thinking, you do not need to look to hard.
  3. "As powerful as systems of privilege are, they cannot stand the strain of lots of people doing something about it, beginning with the simpliest act of naming the system out loud." (pg. 153) Johnson is trying to say that if lots of people start to realize that our society has problems then society will be forced to change. Society is made up of a lot of different people and because of the diversity it will allow us to change the problems. All we need is the support from the people.


I really liked this Johnson piece because he wasn't asking us to change the world, just change ourselves first then help others. One thing I didn't understand was when he used the words "tin cup approach" and "Buisness case argument" , what did he mean by that? It was really easy to read this article and after reading it , it made me rethink how I look at society and how many problems are really in society. If people focus on changing themselves first then they can focus on changing society after.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Talking points #9 Our Guys

Bernard Lefkowitz "Our Guys"

  • privilege
  • legal system
  • mental disabilities
  • Glen Ridge
  • Jocks
  • Social Status
  • High School
  • Hatred
  • blind eye
  • inequality
  • high school


Lefkowtiz argues that because residents in Glen Ridge gave privilege to a specific social group within the community it felt the need to consider memebers of the group victims of a criminal offense instead of being considered the perpatradors. A community with odd values only instills those odd values in their children.


  1. "I began to frame Glen Ridge as a story of power and powerlessness." Lefkowitz began interviewing different people in the town and it seemed that those who had power and were privileged viewed the boys as victims. But those that did not have too much power and were not privileged viewed the boys as disgusting beings. Lefkowitz saw the inequalities between the different social groups in the town and based his book off of it. Because Leslie was mentally retarded and not privileged they boys took advantage of her, just like a hunter would take advantage of prey. The strong were the hunters to the weak in Glen Ridge and if you were not strong then you were not considered important.
  2. "The list, more often than not, omitted the young woman in the basement and her family." The town's sense of the crime was completely warped. They believed that the boys that were being accused of sexually assaulting Leslie were the victims. Not the mentally retarded girl who was desperate for friends, so desperate that it took her a while to tell anyone. The privileged saw the other privileged boys as victims when they were the ones who caused the problem in the first place. The town's values were messed up and that made the boys think it was okay to commit such a horrible crime.
  3. "Maybe the silence of Glen Ridge students was a symptom of grief and shame, colored by self-interest."The jocks told other jocks about the crime they committed and yet no one said anything. Until one boy finally had a conscious and told the principal. The people in the school that were aware of the crime were too shameful to talk about it with anyone and too wrapped up in the jocks. The jocks controlled everyone, they wanted people to like them and they knew they could have complete control over people. They believed no matter how many people they told that it would not become public. Not until someone had a conscious and knew that what they did was wrong.


Reading this article was definately a shock for me. I was in awe at how Glen Ridge held the boys up to be some type of god. They were good at sports, SO WHAT?Being good at sports does not give you the privilege to walk around and do whatever you want, but it does in Glen Ridge. This crime was only committed because of a long history in Glen Ridge of privilege to the Jocks. If someone was brave enough to stop the jocks from being so high up on the social ladder then this never would have happened. Not only is it the boys who committed the crime fault but it is also the towns fault for not taking action to put them in jail. Granted it was a delicate crime, that does not matter a girl who did not know any better was degraded and sexually assaulted. Yet all Glen Ridge could see was someone accusing "Their guys" of being bad. It was a very good article that showed how bad privilege can be and how corrupting it can be to students.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Talking Points on Tim Wise

Tim Wise " White Swim In Racial Preference"

  • racial preference
  • history
  • segregation
  • privelege
  • invisibility
  • ignorance
  • hard work vs. privelege
  • college
  • statistics


Wise argues that white privelge is still present in society and school systems and because the white race is not willing to acknowledge their privelege over blacks then nothing will change.


  1. "In other words, it is hardly an exaggeration to say that white America is the biggest collective recipient of racial preference in the history of the cosmos. It has skewed our laws, shaped our public policy and helped create the glaring inequalities with which we still live." Wise is saying that because white privlege is very prominent in society it has helped shaped the ways we live our lives and the rules we live by. Because white are given more priveleges then blacks, it the white men and women who had a say in how our government fuctions and what rules it is acceptable to live by. White people shaped what people believe is acceptable and unacceptable because they have more power then black people.
  2. "Privilege,to us, is like water to the fish: invisible precisely because we cannt imagine life without it." White people are so used to being privileged that we simply do not even recognize it anymore. An example of this is everyone takes walking for granted but once someone is in an accident and is confined to a wheel chair that is when they recognize that walking was so good. White people rarely ever are put in bad situations that make them recognize and appreciate their race but black people can see the white privilege and they are forced to deal with more inequalities then whites.
  3. "White preference remains hidden because it is more subtle." Since the time that African Americans were brought to the colonies in America they were always forced to be considered lower then whites. The african americans were enslaved simply because the Europeans ran out of their own servants and needed some people to complete cheap labor.Now the white people who have privilege do not see that they have privilege but the second a black person is given a better privelge then a white person it becomes a HUGE deal. White people can control black privilege but black people can not control white privilege because it is too powerful.


I really liked this article because it is very relavent in my life. When Wise began talking about how white people make fun of blacks because it is easier for them to get to college I never really looked at the other side of the picture. Black people have a life that is completely different then whites and getting into college is just one thing out of a billion that is made easier for them. Shamefully, I admit that I used to say rude comments like that about college and admissions but now I completely look at the situation differently. Just because I am white I recieved privileged all my life, black people do not recieve the same privilege and are faced with inequalities every day.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Talking Points #7

Charles Lawrence " One More River to Cross"

  • race
  • inequality
  • lies
  • ignorance
  • truth
  • realization
  • North vs. South
  • differences
  • hate
  • misunderstanding
  • change


Lawrence argues that segregation is still present in school systems and in order to fully understand how to end segregation the courts and school districts must understanding the harm it causes to the black children who are being segregated.


  1. "The significane of segregation was best understood by looking at what it meant to the people who imposed it and to those who were subjected to it." (pg.282) Lawrence raises the point that in order to even talk about racism and segregation then we must gain a better knowledge of it. He is saying that just simply saying " segregation is bad and needs to stop" is not enough because then nothing is solved. In order to really understand the harm in segregation then we must understand why it started in the first place and what caused it to get so bad.
  2. "Once the state has effectively instituionalized racial segregation as a labeling device, only minimal matenince is required." (pg. 286) Lawrence makes the point that after the state recognizes that segregation is actually a problem then only a few things need to be done after that. The hardest part is the state actually taking the time to know that they had made a mistake by segregating schools. Then shortly after the correct steps can be made to fix the problem not just surpressing it but unsegregating schools.
  3. "The oppressor's understanding of his oppression is limited by self-interest, and ultimately we must find ways to make our oppression operate against the self-interest of those in power." (pg. 293) Lawrence is making the point that the state only understands and fixes as much as it wants. And those that are segregated must find another way to get the states attention so that they will fix the segregation.


This article was extremely hard for me to understand. I read almost every paragraph over and still had trouble with most of them. I think I got what Lawrence was trying to say but Im not sure. Segregation is not prominent in any of the schools that I have attended but when it was present it was not handled correctly. The courts simply ruled in the Brown case to just end segregation in schools, not fix it nation wide. They simply satisfied the accuser, they did not work towards understanding and ending the problem of segregation.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Talking Points #6

Jeannie Oakes "Tracking: Why Schools Need to Take Another Route"


  • education
  • curriculm
  • speed
  • privelege
  • class
  • speed
  • tracking
  • labelling
  • ability
  • strategies
  • scoring


Oakes argues that students are labelled early on in their learning career and because of said labelling some students are given better opportunities then others. She believes that schools curriculm's must be altered to give all students equal opportunity and learning, not just higher learning students.


  1. "Students who are placed in high-ability groups have access to far richer schooling experiences than other students." (pg.178) Students that are put in higher learning classrooms are given better instructions and teaching but those that are put in lower learning are not given the same type of instructions and teaching. Consequently the students in the higher classrooms will get into better colleges and are given more opportunities to succeed in life. The students that are in the lower classrooms will not have as many opportunities to get into the good colleges.
  2. "Heterogeneous groups of students will probably do best in classrooms where the curriculm content is challenging, complex, related to real life and- most of all- rich with meaning." (pg. 180) Students put in high ability classrooms are able to be taught in a different environment with different teachers. But those put in lower ability classrooms are not given the same amount of teaching because of the other distractions in the room. If students are the same age and divided into different groups of learning then they will not recieve the same education because they are taught in different environments with different teaching strategies.
  3. "Obviously, the kinds of changes likely to promote high quality learning for all students in heterogenous classrooms go far beyond mere fine tuning of current practice. These changes also require fundamental changes in the structure of schooling and teachers work." (pg.180) Oakes is saying that schools cannot just simply change the way they operate. Teachers must change the way they teach students of different learning abilities, spliting them up is not the solution.


I really liked this article because it showed a important point that needs to be taken into consideration. Students are not given the same education if they are divided. Students should be in the same classroom as their peers, but at the same time given a designated time to attend to certain childrens needs. In my service learning classroom this situation takes place. Jose is a slower learner then most of the second graders in the class, he goes to a certain classroom one hour a day to work with a different teacher. This works! He gets to feel like he is part of a classroom while going to another classroom to attend his needs. Schools need to stop leaving kids with slower learning abilties behind, they are excluding them by putting them in a different classroom , not helping them.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Talking Points #5

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

  • difference
  • approaches
  • learning and understanding
  • effort
  • charity vs. change
  • accomplishments
  • disadvantaged
  • helpful/ helpless
  • priorities
  • interaction

Argument: Kahne and Westheimer argue that learning and service support each other and should be integrated into schools curriculm's not as a charity but as a changing experiance for the student.


  1. "In contrast, much of the current discussion regarding service learning emphasizes charity, not change." Kahne is trying to say that students need to feel a change or try to make a change rather then just being of service to the community. Although, their service is very valued, it may not be the right kind in order to evoke a change in the students.
  2. A student in Mr. Johnson's class desribed her experiance with volunteering at a elderly home during Thanksgiving. Her experiance put emphasis more on charity then change. This helps the argument because although the student did do a act of community service she did not get to develop a caring relationship. She gave her time to the community instead of genuinely caring about the community and trying to change it. She did not get to interact with those she was helping and therefore did not get a good understanding of how to change the wrong things in the community.
  3. "For them, it is the combination of service and critical analysis, not either by itself, that seems most likely to promote interest in and insight into these complex social issues." This quote helps explain why the service learning should not just be charity work. Charity work does not enable the person to connect with whom they are serving, it is simply an act of kindness. The correct kind of service learning is one that allows the person to connect and share with who they are serving and therefore gaining a better understanding of their lives and struggles and what needs to change in the world.


I enjoyed reading this article, even though it was a little bit boring. The article in itself had good points but there were too many outside voices thrown into it. I agree with the authors that there are different types of service. People can service learn and not ever connect or come in contact with who they are serving or they can be put one on one with the group. I think they prove a good point in saying that charity work does not promote change. If people are not able to interact then they will never realize the problems.I feel I am doing more then charity in my service learning, I am able to see what can be improved in school systems and what is working.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Transgender Connection

So I was flipping throught the channels Sunday afternoon and on the WE channel there was this documentary called "The Cruel and Unusual Treatment of Transgender women in Prison". And it was basically about people that were born men and were transgender ( making them feel women like) and how they were treated unfair while in prison. The show was completely shocking. Some of the prisoners did self mutilation because they could not get anyone to listen to them to help them get hormones or fix their problem. It was very sad what some women did to themselves just to get attention from the prisons. Other prisoners were disgusting towards them , they would rape them, force things upon them, do basically anything and everything to degrate them. And there was one specific woman that was one there that when he was a man he was very skilled in oil work and when he changed over to a woman he had the hardest time finding a job, he still had all the same skills and credentials, but he went under the name Linda. So because he had no way of making money he was forced to steal. It was a never ending cycle for him. I just thought the documentary completey connected to the struggles and hardship that transgender peopel are forced to deal with everyday that most people dont even know exist.