Sunday, February 28, 2016

Safe Spaces: Making Schools and Communities Welcoming to LGBT Youth


     "Safe Spaces" by Annemarie Vaccaro, Gerri August, and Meghan S. Kennedy was a text I could really connect to. A really close friend of mine had a very hard time coming out to her family and friends all through high school because they felt as though they could not be accepted. My friend Ciera was born with not only a different name, but a different gender. Her family is extremely religious and after her coming out as transgender, they kicked her out and told her to never come home. Since then she relies on friends and her college to provide her with a place to live, and its extremely difficult for her to get a job because no one wants to hire her while she's in the middle of her transition. She has lost many friends that she has had in the past because they think its weird to watch as she transitions from male to female and they can't quite wrap their minds around it.

     It is really important to me that people who identify as LGBT have a safe place that they are able to feel comfortable, especially in schools. A lot of times, school is the way for them to get away from the things going on at home, especially in my friends case. If they don't find a safe haven at school, they will never be able to feel truly safe. I also think its very important to be able to talk about the LGBT community in schools, because if we had learned about transgender people in school and what exactly happens, all of Ciera's old friends would have been able to understand what was going on and that even though she is becoming a female, she is still the same person that she was before.

     Questions/Comments/Points to Share: One question that I have is about how we can make the kids comfortable who don't even feel comfortable in their own homes? The reason my friend never said anything to her friends about being Transgender is because her family has engrained it into her head that she would never be loved or accepted if she transitioned. We can only help so much in the schools, but in order to help anything, we have to get to the root of the problem.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Christensen - Reflection

     Okay so heres the deal, while I do agree with most of what Christensen says, there is one big disagreement that we share. Do I think princesses are completely gender stereotyped and their appearances exaggerated? Of course! There is no possible way I will be able to get my waist line as small as Cinderella's or my makeup as on point as Belle's. When I undo my updo after a long hard day of building my ice castle, it doesn't fall gracefully onto my shoulder into the perfect messy braid. I do not spend my day slaving after 7 men or chasing after my prince charming, nah, I have better things to do. No, I don't agree that any of the gender stereotypes and perfect bodies are good at all! I completely agree with that! The ONE thing I don't disagree with is the racial stereotypes in Disney movies, PARTICULARLY in regards to the princesses.
     Yes, many of the Disney Princesses are, in fact, white. Which on the surface may look like a problem. But the REASON they are all white is not because Walt Disney wanted them to be, or because he made the conscious choice to not include princesses of color, but because he stayed true to the princesses original fairy tales. Snow White was from a German fairy tale, making her white. Cinderella was French, making her white white. Aurora was also French, ALSO making her white. They made the characters fit the settings of the original stories that they were told in. They didn't change the stories, they probably didn't even think anything of it! They just represented the princesses in the colors and ethnicity that they were written to be portrayed in. But then, not much further down the line comes Jasmine, an Arabic princess rightfully portrayed as Arabic. They didn't make her blonde and white to change her character simply because they didn't want to portray people of color. They simply kept true to the story. Not much later comes Pocahontas, a very strong, very powerful Native American princess, portrayed with tan skin and black hair. And after that, Mulan, a Chinese princess who SAVES FREAKIN CHINA PRACTICALLY SINGLEHANDEDLY. Do we just look over these people?? One of the strongest Disney Princesses was NOT white. She was Chinese!
     And these are just the original Disney princesses, don't even get me started with these new ones.

Sunday, February 7, 2016


White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
by: Peggy McIntosh

White Privilege, what a difficult topic to understand. People don't like to talk about it, hear about it, or think about it...if you're white. Arguments on white privilege become one sided, because white people don't really BELIEVE there is an argument. One of my favorite things in the world is Slam Poetry, because it takes the things we don't like to talk about, the things that would normally make people uncomfortable, and it turns it into an art form. This article reminded me of that, so i figured what better way then to link it to a few of my favorite Slam Poems, and a few that I have found when looking for said poems.

There are a seemingly limitless number of Slam Poems about white privilege, but I have narrowed it down to three.

1.) "Cuz He's Black" by Javon Johnson

In Johnson's poem, he discusses the struggles his nephew will face growing up. He talks about how he is already afraid of the cops at a young age. He knows to keep his hand slow and his intentions clear when reaching for his wallet in his pocket. He understands that he is the lesser and that he is seen as the bad guy, even if he didn't do anything bad. This is exactly what McIntosh tells us that we are avoiding seeing. We don't realize that we have privileges because its our everyday life. We aren't taught to be afraid of the cops, even if we haven't done anything wrong. We don't think twice about reaching for our wallet, because we have nothing to be afraid of.

2.) "The Whitest Thing" by Adam Falkner

Falkner talks about how we try to understand and be a part of cultures that are not ours. We dabble in the positives of other cultures, ignore the racism towards them and instead unknowingly flaunt our superiority by stealing their "blackness" and pretending it is our own. We, however, are able to turn it on and off. We are able to pretend we are black if we want, but just the same we are able to be white. That is our privilege, because we can get the best of both worlds, and someone who is black can not pretend to be white. You can tell that Falkner is very aware of the privilege that he has, and he acknowledges that. He is privileged because he has a choice.

3.) "1-800 White Man Privilege Hotline" by Denice Frohman

In this Poem, Frohman discusses the different ways that white men are privileged over other races. I enjoyed this one, because it was about more than one race, and not just black people, and it hits on gender privileges as well. She talks about how white people are favored in the workplace, while hailing cabs, getting loans, or in situations with police. One of my favorite things about this poem was the end where she says "Please do not ask our white men about their privilege, they have no idea they HAVE it!" This is exactly what McIntosh's article is about. White people ignore the fact that they have privilege, until it is pointed out to them. But when and IF it is pointed out to them, they will deny that they have it.

Questions/Comments/Points to Share:
This article and these poems use the same idea as Delpit's theory that the people with power are often unaware of the power that they have. How are we able to make the change if the people in power aren't aware that they have the power? Even if they were aware, how would we be able to persuade them to give up the power that they were born into? Is it possible to be able to get rid of this power entirely or has it been too engrained into our minds that the white people in America have the privilege?