Monday, April 21, 2008

Privilege, Power, and Difference

Victoria Beausoleil
Privilege, Power, and Difference
Second Edition
By Allan G. Johnson, Ph.D.

Johnson argues that we have to change pattern of privilege and inequality first by thinking about the trouble and the challenge in new and more productive ways. He believes that we must break the silence and invisibility that allow privilege and oppression to continue and accomplish individual active change to create a future filled with positive change for all.
1- “ The greatest barrier to change is that dominant groups, as we’ve discussed, don’t see the trouble as their trouble, which means they don’t feel obligated to do something about it”. Acknowledging ones privilege results in having to do something about it and have an active side which makes seemingly denying something exists an easy way out.
2- You cannot change people to fix the problem, but only altering whole systems will have a large affect toward accomplishing change. We have to learn to let go of the path that contains least resistance in order to open up new paths as opportunities for others to take in the future. With other paths revealed, new and improved ways of going about change are open and welcomed.
3- We need to ignore the myths that things are always the same and can never change and that one person cannot make a difference. “ It’s not unreasonable to want to make a difference, but if we have to see the final result of what we do, then we can’t be part of change that’s too gradual and long term to allow that”. We have to learn to accept change coming after a lifetime of hard work and appreciate its results no matter how many years after they are reveled.
This piece of work did a wonderful job in revealing possible starters and enders to this nightmare of unfair privilege. It reveals solutions for the future by pointing out reasons for lack of change in the past. I felt that it was too lengthily for the topic it was addressing and the issues could have been much more strait to the point. The heading of various sub-topics were helpful in picking out important ideas and revealing what to expect in the words following each.

Monday, April 14, 2008

School Girls

School Girls
Young Women, Self-Esteem, and the Confidence Gap
Peggy Orenstein
Peer pressure

Orenstein argues that educators around the country should work to develop gender-fair curricula in all subjects and reexamine traditional assumptions about how children best learn. We should learn to break down gender and race hierarchies in order to create cooperative learning groups. This should be done in order to create equal confidence and self-esteem along among all students both male and female from the root to prevent future power accusations and traditions. Which is extremely hard to accomplish because of prior drilled male advantage.


The “add women and stir” approach has been added to many curriculum in order to change both boys and girls perspective on the female self. This tool is used to detract from the stereotypical male-based curriculum that creates future value and judgment of females. To make female historians and scientist for example, just as memorable as the makes we have been trained to focus on. This also gives young girls a boost of self-esteem toward their goals for the future.

2- Methods have also been intertwined with basic curriculum in order to build confidence and consequently drive in students by taking the shame out of imperfection. Students are taught to support and be open and true to each other so that the best learning and growing in each students life can be accomplished.

3- “ Boys perceive equality as a loss”. This statement goes back to the idea that you cannot fix a problem unless you can admit it from the start. Just as white privilege is many times unrecognized by those who acquire it, the same goes for males over females. As all scwamp theories relate to, we with privilege tend to be against advancing what we deny is truly there. Not wanting curriculum equality in a classroom connects with not wanting race equality in college applications.

I felt that this read was geared towards creating a classroom curriculum that comes as equal and fair in opportunity and equality for all to learn from. It emphasized the additional focus toward female icons in education apart from the norm males. Encouragement and expression were also Encourage in all curricula in order to create self-esteem and confidence.
The read was basic and strait forward, great in emphasizing the basic facts made easier to stick in the readers mind. The topic heading where a help in hinting of the importance of the read ahead. It greatly relates to the topic of privilege in regards to it being ignored and unrecognized under many circumstances. It also connects to the piece on taking the affirmative action strait from the core of the problem in order to provide equally for future generations.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Racial Preference

Whites Swim in Racial Preference
Tim Wise

· Racial preference
· Exclusion
· Affirmative action
· Segregation
· Inequalities
· Gaps
· America
· History
· Discrimination
· Privilege
· Past
· Future
· Fairness
· Ambition
· Justice
· Equal
· Consideration
· Diversity
· Choice
· Fought

Wise argues that privileged Americans are like fish in water because privilege to us is like water to a fish invisible because we cannot imagine life without it. Whites see racial preference as simply relating to unfair affirmative action issues when in all actuality it originates from a long and white history. We need to grasp this magnitude of obliviousness and say the words in order to solve problems around preferences.

1 In order to create awareness and positive change among racial preference issues we must have “a demarcation of privilege that is the necessary flipside of discrimination”. Two opposite ideas feed off each other while the richer get richer and the poorer get poorer.
Privileged people of white preference need to recognize their advantages of education, business and employment in order to realize the discrimination others face in comparison to themselves.

2 “No one should be punished for things beyond their control”. All issues should be taken into consideration in regards to all races and circumstances. Whether it is points for race, or points those who live in rural atmospheres or come from low-income households. All points should be taken into consideration when choosing one about to stamp” unfair” simply because the rest are a part of white preference which is not seen as unfair in any sense. Discrimination needs to be taken back and the whole picture needs to be looked at.
3 White preference remains hidden because it is subtler, more ingrained and isn’t called white preference when that is truly its effect. Americans need to learn how to day the words in order for change to take place. We need to admit our weaknesses and wrongs to make things right.
I feel that this piece on racial preference really helped to future my concepts of affirmative action and discrimination in general. All narrow-minded idea I possessed of negative feeling against those containing extra help for the same result have faded. I never recognized the variety of affirmative action topics around and I believe it Is because discrimination of color has always been a large issue in American, people still choose to focus on it negatively and promote privilege secretively. I felt the read was strait forward with just enough factual evidence to pursue you to support Wise’s argument. I will be interested to listen to the discussion on class on this topic.

Monday, March 31, 2008

“ One More River to Cross”

“ One More River to Cross”- recognizing the Real Injury in Brown:
A prerequisite to Shaping New Remedies
By Charles Lawrence



Lawrence argues that we must decide , after almost three decades of life under the rule of law set forth in Brown, whether that decision should be tallied in the won or loss column in black America’s struggle for equality. We must keep truths about the issue in our minds at all times.

1- Black children are Injured by the existence of a System of Segregation, not Merely by Particular Acts That Result in the Segregation of Schools.

2- Segregation is Self-Perpetuating: Once established, it will not disappear of its own accord, and its elimination requires Affirmative Action by the State.

3- We must continue to demand that the affirmative disestablishment of the system of segregation be recognized as a Constitutional right.

I found this piece very hard to understand. I fell that the vocabulary and sentence structure made it hard to keep on task throughout. The main points where clear with headings, but apart from those main ideas where unclear. It was lengthy to a point where interest was lost. I clearer strait forward piece of the same information would have been more approachable therefore more understood.

Monday, March 24, 2008


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


· grouping
· Low -ability
· tracking
· levels
· opportunity
· ability
· high-ability
· experiences
· fail
· succeed
· privileged
· education
· curriculum
· change
· teachers
· resources
· time
· evaluation
· record
· alternatives
· gap

Oakes’ argues that unless teachers and administration believe and expect all students to learn well, they will be unlikely to create school and classroom conditions where students believe in their own ability and exert the effort it takes to succeed. We need to minimize or diminish the ability gap in order to create equal opportunity for success in both high and low ability as well as average ability whose best interests seem to get lost along the way.
1 “… oppose tracking because they believe it locks most students into classes where they are stereotyped as “less able,” and where they have fewer opportunities to learn.” There is no use of equal opportunity in this process.

2 “ The reason for this may be that because they’re more likely to fail, they risk more by trying.” The high-ability student have stronger learning experience because they have already made it to the top learning class and are not afraid to fail but only succeed, where lower levels are scared to think outside of the box because classes are taught in a different approach.

3 “ The gap between them and more successful students has grown wider –not only in achievement but in attitudes toward school and toward their own ability to succeed.” Distinction and separation of levels created differences in attitudes and success.

Wrap up:
I thought that Oakes’ piece brought up an interesting topic , one that has made me curious prior to reading this piece. The reading was pleasant in with it’s basic vocabulary and strait forward points. The separation and titling of each major topic throughout was helpful in organizing my thoughts on the piece. Oakes’ opinions and idea attracted me as while opening my eyes to new angles of the subject.

Monday, March 17, 2008

In The Service Of What? The Politics of Service Learning
By Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer
· service learning
· morals
· citizen
· strategies
· input
· helping
· caring
· values
· relationships
· society
· goals
· accomplishment
· direct
· indirect
· reach
· interact
· beliefs
· volunteerism
· compassion

Author’s Argument-

Kahne and Westheimer argue that the whether or not the act of service learning is based moral, intellectual, and or political grounds is a issue grabbing the attention of teachers, policy makers, and academicians who take seriously the idea that learning and service reinforce each other and should come together in American’s schools.
1. “ In addition to helping those they serve, such service learning activities seek to promote students’ self-esteem, to develop higher-order thinking skills, to make use of multiple abilities, and to provide high order thinking skills, to make use of multiple abilities, and to provide authentic learning experience…”
2. “ These categories can help clarify our understanding of the possible relationships between service learning activities, their outcomes, and the goals that motivate their design.”
3. Various goals of service learning- “ ..we create opportunities for changing our understanding of the other and the context within which he or she live” and “ They stress the importance of civic duty and the need for responsive citizens.”

I felt that this piece of literature was somewhat difficult to read and that it’s main points could have been made much clearer with a more organized format. The various topics jumped around while simple idea where expand to make seem more complex resulting in difficult understand. I thought the ideas where interesting in that I would have never though about service learning in such a complex and depth focus. I found the topic random in a sense and shocking in another that this issue was even one discussed formally. I did not enjoy this piece from what I got out of it, so I look forward to the discussion where I hope to take a lot more from it.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Talking Point 4

Linda Christensen’s Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us
Popular Culture

Christensen’s Argument-
Christensen argues that a secret education shaped by cultural stereotypes creates unhealthy and unjust standards for the development of self-image from the pattern they reveal. This education is not only expressed through the media but surrounds society from all angles, and we do have the opportunity to make a difference to abolishing these idealistic ideas being sold.
1 “ When we read children’s books, we aren’t just reading cute little stories, we are discovering the tools with which a young society is manipulated.” Everything from movies to magazine teaches their viewers a secret education, which results in shaping the cultural stereotypes we develop as our own.
2 We have to learn how to “unlearn the myths” in order to change the unhealthy and unjust ideals we are taught. We need to rebel against the ideals that we are taught to be the answer to all aspects and problems of our world. As we rebel we need to start using such powerful media and environments to teach the realistic and just ways in which out lives should be lived and actions we should take.

3 The goals and magic revealed in this secret education are unrealistic and unhealthy to the developing minds of individuals. They create degrading ideals such as beauty equals power, people of color represent insignificance, and magic can transform your life. These images create a picture where only materialism and status can bring you joy and success.

I feel that Christensen’s article provided very informative facts into the already broader topic of media influence I was familiar with. I found the reading itself to be strait forward and self explanatory, with helpful headings to indicate subtopic changes throughout the piece. The detailed examples made it clear as to how a “secret education” is taught through a hidden formula that implies the ingredients for the cultural stereotypes that are base society on today.